PAX3d mRNA over 2.76 copies/μL in the bloodstream predicts cutaneous malignant melanoma relapse

Chiara Autilio, Carmela Paolillo, Maria Michela Lavieri, Krizia Pocino, Elisa De Paolis, Enrico Di Stasio, Paolo Marchetti, Giancarlo Cappellini Antonini, Ettore Capoluongo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate if our molecular algorithm, based on tumor circulating transcripts, may predict relapse risk in cutaneous malignant melanoma (CMM). Results: The multi-marker panel was able to differentiate patients with CMM from HC with high diagnostic sensitivity and specificity, especially for MITF-m and TGFB2 (91-100%) whose levels decreased during follow-up of recurrence-free patients, and remained stable in the case of relapse. PAX3d higher than 2.76 copies/μL emerged as a promising biomarker [specificity = 75-93% and negative predictive value = 75-98%] to stratify subjects at high risk of CMM recurrence independently of age, gender and AJCC staging [OD = 9.5(3.2-28.0), p < 0.001]. The survival analysis confirmed PAX3d performance in relapse prediction with significant differences in recurrence risk 12 months after the basal time-point (p = 0.008). Materials and Methods: Peripheral blood was collected from 111 CMM patients and from 87 healthy controls (HC) randomly selected. Each specimen was examined by qRT-PCR analysis for the expression of 3 tumor-related transcripts (PAX3d, MITF-m and TGFB2) at diagnosis, and at the following 6 and 12 months during clinical monitoring. Conclusions: We demonstrated the usefulness of our molecular algorithm to indirectly detect circulating melanoma cells in blood, along with PAX3d capability to assess patients' progression and relapse prediction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85479-85491
Number of pages13
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - Oct 17 2017


  • Circulating tumor cells
  • Melanoma molecular biomarker
  • Melanoma relapse
  • PAX3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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