Background: Melanoma is the most lethal form of skin cancer. Diagnosis of amelanotic melanoma and detection of micrometastases in sentinel lymph nodes pose diagnostic and therapeutic dilemmas for the dermatopathologist and clinician. Objective: The purpose of this article is to determine the utility of immunohistochemistry using antibodies specific for microphthalmia in the identification of melanocytic lesions in the skin, eye, central nervous system, and sentinel lymph nodes. Methods: Paraffin-embedded, formalin-fixed specimens of cutaneous melanoma, including amelanotic melanoma and lentigo maligna melanoma, were stained with antibodies specific for microphthalmia. In addition, paraffin sections of extracutaneous lesions, including sentinel lymph nodes, uveal melanoma, and central nervous system melanocytomas, were stained with the specific microphthalmia antibody. Results: All cutaneous melanomas stained positively with microphthalmia, as did uveal melanomas and central nervous system melanocytomas. These findings confirm the melanocytic origin of melanocytomas and uveal melanomas and demonstrate that microphthalmia staining can be used to establish melanocytic origin of neoplasms. In addition, micrometastases were easily detected in sentinel lymph nodes. Conclusion: Microphthalmia transcription factor immunohistochemistry is a valuable tool in the identification of melanocytic lesions in numerous sites. Use of this stain may facilitate detection of micrometastases in sentinel lymph nodes.
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