Simultaneous endocrine expression and loss of melanoma markers in malignant melanoma metastases, a retrospective analysis


Malignant melanoma metastases are chameleons of histopathology. In 4 primary malignant melanomas and 20 melanoma metastases expression of S-100, HMB-45 and melan-A as melanoma markers and CD56, synaptophysin and chromogranin-A as neuroendocrine markers was retrospectively analyzed. While all primary tumors expressed all 3 melanoma markers 7/20 of melanoma metastases had lost at least one melanoma marker, one had lost all three markers. Conversely about half of the samples stained for CD56, only 6/20 metastases were negative for all 3 neuroendocrine markers. None expressed chromogranin-A. Partial loss of melanoma markers and expression of neuroendocrine markers seems not to be infrequent. In patients with a history of malignant melanoma and suspected metastases, losing melanoma markers while expressing neuroendocrine markers is a potential diagnostic pitfall. Therefore all 3 melanoma markers should be performed as well as chromogranin-A staining. In doubt, metastases of the melanoma should be assumed.

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Correspondence to Claus Steppert.

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J. Krugmann, C. Sterlacci and W. Steppert had equal contributions to the design, the analysis and interpretation of the data as well as the manuscript was drafted and revised and approved. All above mentioned authors are responsible for all aspects of the work.

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Steppert, C., Krugmann, J. & Sterlacci, W. Simultaneous endocrine expression and loss of melanoma markers in malignant melanoma metastases, a retrospective analysis. Pathol. Oncol. Res. 26, 1777–1779 (2020).

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  • Neuroendocrine expression
  • Melanoma metastases
  • Loss of melanoma markers