A unique collection of individual-matched pairs of primary and melanoma metastases were studied immunohistochemically with a panel of 6 monoclonal antibodies directed to gp-100, pigmentation-associated antigen, tyrosinase-related protein, human leukocyte antigen DR, MAA-1, and MAA-2 (high molecular weight melanoma-associated antigens). The antigenic profile of immunoreactive pigment cells was compared with the stage of tumor progression. Our data show consistent antigenic profiles of primary melanomas and their metastases within the same patient. Expression of tyrosinase-related protein and pigmentation-associated antigen was observed in the radial growth phase of primary melanomas but showed diminished or complete loss of expression in the vertical growth phase and in metastatic melanomas. HLA-DR was negative in the most primary lesions, but melanoma cells and a larger proportion of immunoreactive cells were observed at the metastatic site. The melanoma-associated antigens MAA-1 and MAA-2 were expressed throughout tumor progression. Although no clear distinction could be made between primary and secondary melanoma lesions for both melanoma-associated antigens, there was a profound variability in the topographical antigen distribution when compared with HLA-DR. The loss of expression of pigmentation-associated antigen and tyrosinase-related protein in the vertical growth phase of the primary lesions and metastatic melanomas did not reach statistical significance but still may be related to tumor progression. This indicates that primary melanomas can be distinguished from their metastases by evaluation of the antigenic profile and in this respect facilitate the recognition of tumor progression stages.
- Antigenic profile
- Melanoma metastases pairs
- Primary melanoma
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine