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High MCM3 expression is an independent biomarker of poor prognosis and correlates with reduced RBM3 expression in a prospective cohort of malignant melanoma

Björn Nodin1, Marie Fridberg1, Liv Jonsson1, Julia Bergman2, Mathias Uhlén34 and Karin Jirström1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Clinical Sciences, Division of Pathology, Lund University, Skåne University Hospital, 221 85, Lund, Sweden

2 Department of Immunology, Genetics and Pathology, Uppsala University, 751 85, Uppsala, Sweden

3 Science for Life Laboratory, AlbaNova University Center, Royal Institute of Technology, 106 91, Stockholm, Sweden

4 School of Biotechnology, AlbaNova University Center, Royal Institute of Technology, 106 91, Stockholm, Sweden

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Diagnostic Pathology 2012, 7:82  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-7-82

Published: 17 July 2012

Abstract

Background

Malignant melanoma is the most lethal form of skin cancer with a variable clinical course even in patients with thin melanomas and localized disease. Despite increasing insights into melanoma biology, no prognostic biomarkers have yet been incorporated into clinical protocols. Reduced expression of the RNA binding motif protein 3 (RBM3) has been shown to correlate with tumour progression and poor prognosis in melanoma and several other cancer forms. In ovarian cancer, an inverse association was found between expression of RBM3 and the minichromosome maintenance 3 (MCM3) gene and protein. In melanoma, gene expression analysis and immunohistochemical validation has uncovered MCM3 as a putative prognostic biomarker. The aim of the present study was to examine the associations of MCM3 expression with clinical outcome and RBM3 expression in a prospective, population-based cohort of melanoma.

Methods

Immunohistochemical MCM3 expression was examined in 224 incident cases of primary melanoma from the Malmö Diet and Cancer Study, previously analysed for RBM3 expression. Spearman´s Rho and Chi-Square tests were used to explore correlations between MCM3 expression, clinicopathological factors, and expression of RBM3 and Ki67. Kaplan Meier analysis, the log rank test, and univariable and multivariable Cox proportional hazards modelling were used to assess the impact of MCM3 expression on disease-free survival (DFS) and melanoma-specific survival (MSS).

Results

High MCM3 expression was significantly associated with unfavourable clinicopathological features and high Ki67 expression. A significant inverse correlation was seen between expression of MCM3 and RBM3 (p = 0.025). High MCM3 expression was associated with a reduced DFS (HR = 5.62) and MSS (HR = 6.03), and these associations remained significant in multivariable analysis, adjusted for all other factors (HR = 5.01 for DFS and HR = 4.96 for MSS). RBM3 expression remained an independent prognostic factor for MSS but not DFS in the multivariable model.

Conclusions

These findings provide validation of the utility of MCM3 expression as an independent biomarker for prognostication of patients with primary melanoma. Moreover, the inverse association and prognostic impact of MCM3 and RBM3 expression indicate a possible interaction of these proteins in melanoma progression, the functional basis for which merits further study.

Virtual Slides

The virtual slide(s) for this article can be found here: http://www.diagnosticpathology.diagnomx.eu/vs/1814908129755401 webcite