Melanoma-Derived BRAF(V600E) Mutation in Peritumoral Stromal Cells: Implications for in Vivo Cell Fusion

Kurgyis, Zsuzsanna and Kemény, Lajos Vince and Buknicz, Tünde and Groma, Gergely and Oláh, Judit Magdolna and Jakab, Ádám and Polyánka, Hilda and Kemény, Lajos and Németh, István Balázs (2016) Melanoma-Derived BRAF(V600E) Mutation in Peritumoral Stromal Cells: Implications for in Vivo Cell Fusion. INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR SCIENCES, 17 (6). p. 980. ISSN 1661-6596


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Melanoma often recurs in patients after the removal of the primary tumor, suggesting the presence of recurrent tumor-initiating cells that are undetectable using standard diagnostic methods. As cell fusion has been implicated to facilitate the alteration of a cell's phenotype, we hypothesized that cells in the peritumoral stroma having a stromal phenotype that initiate recurrent tumors might originate from the fusion of tumor and stromal cells. Here, we show that in patients with BRAF(V600E) melanoma, melanoma antigen recognized by T-cells (MART1)-negative peritumoral stromal cells express BRAF(V600E) protein. To confirm the presence of the oncogene at the genetic level, peritumoral stromal cells were microdissected and screened for the presence of BRAF(V600E) with a mutation-specific polymerase chain reaction. Interestingly, cells carrying the BRAF(V600E) mutation were not only found among cells surrounding the primary tumor but were also present in the stroma of melanoma metastases as well as in a histologically tumor-free re-excision sample from a patient who subsequently developed a local recurrence. We did not detect any BRAF(V600E) mutation or protein in the peritumoral stroma of BRAF(WT) melanoma. Therefore, our results suggest that peritumoral stromal cells contain melanoma-derived oncogenic information, potentially as a result of cell fusion. These hybrid cells display the phenotype of stromal cells and are therefore undetectable using routine histological assessments. Our results highlight the importance of genetic analyses and the application of mutation-specific antibodies in the identification of potentially recurrent-tumor-initiating cells, which may help better predict patient survival and disease outcome.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: R Medicine / orvostudomány > RL Dermatology / bőrgyógyászat
Depositing User: MTMT SWORD
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2017 07:08
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2017 07:08

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