Telomerase reverse transcriptase promoter mutations and solar elastosis in cutaneous melanoma

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The aims of this study were to assess the prognostic potential of solar elastosis grading and telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) promoter mutations (TERTp) in melanoma and to evaluate whether an association between solar elastosis and TERTp exists. Solar elastosis in the dermis was evaluated in hematoxylin and eosin-stained whole slides from 486 malignant melanomas. Pyrosequencing was used to detect TERTp in 189 samples. There was no association between solar elastosis and TERTp (P=0.3). Severe elastosis was associated with older age (P<0.0001), ulceration (P=0.03), and location in the head/neck region (P<0.0001). The absence of elastosis was associated with younger age (P<0.0001), benign nevus remnants (P=0.001), and a positive BRAF V600E expression (P<0.0001). Severe elastosis predicted a worse relapse-free survival (hazard ratio: 2.18; 95% confidence interval: 1.30-3.64; P=0.003). However, it was not independent of age. TERTp was not associated with any adverse prognostic or clinicopathological outcome, nor any mitogen-activated protein kinase-related protein expressions. However, at a cutoff corresponding to the sensitivity of Sanger sequencing, TERTp predicted melanoma-specific death independently of age, and was associated with Breslow thickness, ulceration, tumor stage at diagnosis, BRAF V600E oncoprotein, and absence of p16 expression. In conclusion, TERTp were not related to severe elastosis and may thus be triggered by both chronic and acute intermittent sun exposure, the latter not visible on ordinary hematoxylin and eosin-stained slides. Neither TERTp nor severe elastosis predicted an adverse outcome in melanoma. An absence of elastosis was seen in younger melanoma patients and may be used to select those melanomas originating in a nevus, which often harbors a BRAF mutation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMelanoma Research
Pages (from-to)398-409
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2018

    Research areas

  • BRAF, elastosis, melanoma, mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway, mutation, p16, prognosis, pyrosequencing, telomerase reverse transcriptase

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