Publications by authors named "Graham J Mann"

167 Publications

Impact of personal genomic risk information on melanoma prevention behaviors and psychological outcomes: a randomized controlled trial.

Genet Med 2021 Aug 12. Epub 2021 Aug 12.

The Daffodil Centre, The University of Sydney, a joint venture with Cancer Council NSW, NSW, Sydney, Australia.

Purpose: We evaluated the impact of personal melanoma genomic risk information on sun-related behaviors and psychological outcomes.

Methods: In this parallel group, open, randomized controlled trial, 1,025 Australians of European ancestry without melanoma and aged 18-69 years were recruited via the Medicare database (3% consent). Participants were randomized to the intervention (n = 513; saliva sample for genetic testing, personalized melanoma risk booklet based on a 40-variant polygenic risk score, telephone-based genetic counseling, educational booklet) or control (n = 512; educational booklet). Wrist-worn ultraviolet (UV) radiation dosimeters (10-day wear) and questionnaires were administered at baseline, 1 month postintervention, and 12 months postbaseline.

Results: At 12 months, 948 (92%) participants completed dosimetry and 973 (95%) the questionnaire. For the primary outcome, there was no effect of the genomic risk intervention on objectively measured UV exposure at 12 months, irrespective of traditional risk factors. For secondary outcomes at 12 months, the intervention reduced sunburns (risk ratio: 0.72, 95% confidence interval: 0.54-0.96), and increased skin examinations among women. Melanoma-related worry was reduced. There was no overall impact on general psychological distress.

Conclusion: Personalized genomic risk information did not influence sun exposure patterns but did improve some skin cancer prevention and early detection behaviors, suggesting it may be useful for precision prevention. There was no evidence of psychological harm.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41436-021-01292-wDOI Listing
August 2021

Identifying the 'Active Ingredients' of an Effective Psychological Intervention to Reduce Fear of Cancer Recurrence: A Process Evaluation.

Front Psychol 2021 7;12:661190. Epub 2021 Jun 7.

Cincinnati Children's Center for Heart Disease and Mental Health, Heart Institute and the Division of Behavioral Medicine & Clinical Psychology, Cincinnati Children's Hospital, Cincinnati, OH, United States.

Psychological interventions targeting fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) are effective in reducing fear and distress. Process evaluations are an important, yet scarce adjunct to published intervention trials, despite their utility in guiding the interpretation of study outcomes and optimizing intervention design for broader implementation. Accordingly, this paper reports the findings of a process evaluation conducted alongside a randomized controlled trial of a psychological intervention for melanoma patients. Men and women with a history of Stage 0-II melanoma at high-risk of developing new primary disease were recruited High Risk Melanoma Clinics across Sydney, Australia and randomly allocated to receive the psychological intervention ( = 80) or usual care ( = 84). Intervention participants received a tailored psycho-educational resource and three individual psychotherapeutic sessions delivered telehealth. Qualitative and quantitative data on intervention context, processes, and delivery (reach, dose, and fidelity), and mechanisms of impact (participant responses, moderators of outcome) were collected from a range of sources, including participant surveys, psychotherapeutic session audio-recordings, and clinical records. Almost all participants reported using the psycho-educational resource (97%), received all intended psychotherapy sessions (96%), and reported high satisfaction with both intervention components. Over 80% of participants would recommend the intervention to others, and a small proportion (4%) found discussion of melanoma-related experiences confronting. Perceived benefits included enhanced doctor-patient communication, talking more openly with family members about melanoma, and improved coping. Of potential moderators, only higher FCR severity at baseline (pre-intervention) was associated with greater reductions in FCR severity (primary outcome) at 6-month follow-up (primary endpoint). Findings support the acceptability and feasibility of a psychological intervention to reduce FCR amongst individuals at high risk of developing another melanoma. Implementation into routine melanoma care is an imperative next step, with FCR screening recommended to identify those most likely to derive the greatest psychological benefit.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.661190DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8215538PMC
June 2021

Birth cohort-specific trends of sun-related behaviors among individuals from an international consortium of melanoma-prone families.

BMC Public Health 2021 04 23;21(1):692. Epub 2021 Apr 23.

Department of Dermatology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands.

Background: Individuals from melanoma-prone families have similar or reduced sun-protective behaviors compared to the general population. Studies on trends in sun-related behaviors have been temporally and geographically limited.

Methods: Individuals from an international consortium of melanoma-prone families (GenoMEL) were retrospectively asked about sunscreen use, sun exposure (time spent outside), sunburns, and sunbed use at several timepoints over their lifetime. Generalized linear mixed models were used to examine the association between these outcomes and birth cohort defined by decade spans, after adjusting for covariates.

Results: A total of 2407 participants from 547 families across 17 centers were analyzed. Sunscreen use increased across subsequent birth cohorts, and although the likelihood of sunburns increased until the 1950s birth cohort, it decreased thereafter. Average sun exposure did not change across the birth cohorts, and the likelihood of sunbed use increased in more recent birth cohorts. We generally did not find any differences in sun-related behavior when comparing melanoma cases to non-cases. Melanoma cases had increased sunscreen use, decreased sun exposure, and decreased odds of sunburn and sunbed use after melanoma diagnosis compared to before diagnosis.

Conclusions: Although sunscreen use has increased and the likelihood of sunburns has decreased in more recent birth cohorts, individuals in melanoma-prone families have not reduced their overall sun exposure and had an increased likelihood of sunbed use in more recent birth cohorts. These observations demonstrate partial improvements in melanoma prevention and suggest that additional intervention strategies may be needed to achieve optimal sun-protective behavior in melanoma-prone families.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s12889-021-10424-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8063451PMC
April 2021

Efficiency of Detecting New Primary Melanoma Among Individuals Treated in a High-risk Clinic for Skin Surveillance.

JAMA Dermatol 2021 05;157(5):521-530

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

Importance: A previous single-center study observed fewer excisions, lower health care costs, thinner melanomas, and better quality of life when surveillance of high-risk patients was conducted in a melanoma dermatology clinic with a structured surveillance protocol involving full-body examinations every 6 months aided by total-body photography (TBP) and sequential digital dermoscopy imaging (SDDI).

Objective: To examine longer-term sustainability and expansion of the surveillance program to numerous practices, including a primary care skin cancer clinic setting.

Design, Setting, And Participants: This prospective cohort study recruited 593 participants assessed from 2012 to 2018 as having very high risk of melanoma, with a median of 2.9 years of follow-up (interquartile range, 1.9-3.3 years), from 4 melanoma high-risk clinics (3 dermatology clinics and 1 primary care skin cancer clinic) in New South Wales, Australia. Data analyses were conducted from February to September 2020.

Exposures: Six-month full-body examination with the aid of TBP and SDDI. For equivocal lesions, the clinician performed SDDI at 3 or 6 months.

Main Outcomes And Measures: All suspect monitored or excised lesions were recorded, and pathology reports obtained. Outcomes included the incidence and characteristics of new lesions and the association of diagnostic aids with rates of new melanoma detection.

Results: Among 593 participants, 340 (57.3%) were men, and the median age at baseline was 58 years (interquartile range, 47-66 years). There were 1513 lesions excised during follow-up, including 171 primary melanomas. The overall benign to malignant excision ratio, including keratinocyte carcinomas, was 0.8:1.0; the benign melanocytic to melanoma excision ratio was 2.4:1.0; and the melanoma in situ to invasive melanoma ratio was 2.2:1.0. The excision ratios were similar across the 4 centers. The risk of developing a new melanoma was 9.0% annually in the first 2 years and increased with time, particularly for those with multiple primary melanomas. The thicker melanomas (>1-mm Breslow thickness; 7 of 171 melanomas [4.1%]) were mostly desmoplastic or nodular (4 of 7), self-detected (2 of 7), or clinician detected without the aid of TBP (3 of 7). Overall, new melanomas were most likely to be detected by a clinician with the aid of TBP (54 of 171 [31.6%]) followed by digital dermoscopy monitoring (50 of 171 [29.2%]).

Conclusions And Relevance: The structured surveillance program for high-risk patients may be implemented at a larger scale given the present cohort study findings suggesting the sustainability and replication of results in numerous settings, including a primary care skin cancer clinic.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamadermatol.2020.5651DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7970391PMC
May 2021

Evolution of late-stage metastatic melanoma is dominated by aneuploidy and whole genome doubling.

Nat Commun 2021 03 4;12(1):1434. Epub 2021 Mar 4.

Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, Melbourne, VIC, Australia.

Although melanoma is initiated by acquisition of point mutations and limited focal copy number alterations in melanocytes-of-origin, the nature of genetic changes that characterise lethal metastatic disease is poorly understood. Here, we analyze the evolution of human melanoma progressing from early to late disease in 13 patients by sampling their tumours at multiple sites and times. Whole exome and genome sequencing data from 88 tumour samples reveals only limited gain of point mutations generally, with net mutational loss in some metastases. In contrast, melanoma evolution is dominated by whole genome doubling and large-scale aneuploidy, in which widespread loss of heterozygosity sculpts the burden of point mutations, neoantigens and structural variants even in treatment-naïve and primary cutaneous melanomas in some patients. These results imply that dysregulation of genomic integrity is a key driver of selective clonal advantage during melanoma progression.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-21576-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7933255PMC
March 2021

Implementation of patient-reported outcome measures and patient-reported experience measures in melanoma clinical quality registries: a systematic review.

BMJ Open 2021 02 11;11(2):e040751. Epub 2021 Feb 11.

NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Objectives: To identify patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) and patient-reported experience measures (PREMs) in clinical quality registries, for people with cutaneous melanoma, to inform a new Australian Melanoma Clinical Outcomes Registry; and describe opportunities and challenges of routine PROM/PREM collection, especially in primary care.

Design: Systematic review.

Primary And Secondary Outcome Measures: Which PROMs and PREMs are used in clinical quality registries for people with cutaneous melanoma, how they are collected, frequency of collection, participant recruitment methods and funding models for each registry.

Results: 1134 studies were identified from MEDLINE, PreMEDLINE, Embase, PsychInfo, Cochrane Database of Abstracts of Reviews of Effects databases and TUFTS Cost-Effectiveness Analysis Registry, alongside grey literature, from database inception to 5th February 2020. Following screening, 14 studies were included, identifying four relevant registries: Dutch Melanoma Registry, Adelphi Real-World Disease-Specific Programme (Melanoma), Patient-Reported Outcomes Following Initial treatment and Long-term Evaluation of Survivorship Registry, and Cancer Experience Registry. These used seven PROMs: EuroQol-5 Dimensions, Functional Assessment of Cancer-General (FACT-G) and FACT-Melanoma (FACT-M), European Organisation for Research and Treatment of Cancer Quality of Life Questionnaire-Cancer 30 (EORTC QLQ-C30), Fatigue Assessment Scale Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, Patient-Reported Outcome Measures Information System-29 and one PREM; EORTC QLQ-Information Module 26. PROMs/PREMs in registries were reported to improve transparency of care; facilitate clinical auditing for quality assessment; enable cost-effectiveness analyses and create large-scale research platforms. Challenges included resource burden for data entry and potential collection bias toward younger, more affluent respondents. Feedback from patients with melanoma highlighted the relevance of PROMs/PREMs in assessing patient outcomes and patient experiences.

Conclusions: Clinical registries indicate PROMs/PREMs for melanoma care can be incorporated and address important gaps, however cost and collection bias may limit generalisability.

Prospero Registration Number: CRD42018086737.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2020-040751DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7880114PMC
February 2021

Prevalence of asymptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection in elective surgical patients in Australia: a prospective surveillance study.

ANZ J Surg 2021 Jan 9;91(1-2):27-32. Epub 2021 Jan 9.

College of Health and Medicine, Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory, Australia.

Background: The study aimed to estimate the prevalence of active or previous SARS-CoV-2 infection in asymptomatic adults admitted for elective surgery in Australian hospitals. This surveillance activity was established as part of the National Pandemic Health Intelligence Plan.

Methods: Participants (n = 3037) were recruited from 11 public and private hospitals in four states (NSW, Vic, SA and WA) between 2 June and 17 July 2020, with an overall 66% participation rate. Presence of SARS-CoV-2 viral RNA was assessed by Reverse Transcriptase - Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) analysis of nasopharyngeal swabs taken after induction of anaesthesia. Presence of anti-SARS-CoV-2 antibodies was assessed by analysis of serum collected at the same time using a novel dual-antigen ELISA assay.

Results: No patient (0/3010) returned a positive RT-PCR result. The Bayesian estimated prevalence of active infection of 0.02% (95% probability interval 0.00-0.11%), with the upper endpoint being 1 in 918. Positive serology (IgG) was observed in 15 of 2991 patients, with a strong positive in five of those individuals (Bayesian estimated seroprevalence 0.16%; 95% probability interval 0.00-0.47%).

Conclusion: These results confirm that during periods of low community prevalence of SARS-CoV-2 elective surgery patients without fever or respiratory symptoms had a very low prevalence of active SARS-CoV-2 infection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ans.16564DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8013320PMC
January 2021

Germline variants are associated with increased primary melanoma tumor thickness at diagnosis.

Hum Mol Genet 2021 01;29(21):3578-3587

Statistical Genetics, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, Queensland, 4006, Australia.

Germline genetic variants have been identified, which predispose individuals and families to develop melanoma. Tumor thickness is the strongest predictor of outcome for clinically localized primary melanoma patients. We sought to determine whether there is a heritable genetic contribution to variation in tumor thickness. If confirmed, this will justify the search for specific genetic variants influencing tumor thickness. To address this, we estimated the proportion of variation in tumor thickness attributable to genome-wide genetic variation (variant-based heritability) using unrelated patients with measured primary cutaneous melanoma thickness. As a secondary analysis, we conducted a genome-wide association study (GWAS) of tumor thickness. The analyses utilized 10 604 individuals with primary cutaneous melanoma drawn from nine GWAS datasets from eight cohorts recruited from the general population, primary care and melanoma treatment centers. Following quality control and filtering to unrelated individuals with study phenotypes, 8125 patients were used in the primary analysis to test whether tumor thickness is heritable. An expanded set of 8505 individuals (47.6% female) were analyzed for the secondary GWAS meta-analysis. Analyses were adjusted for participant age, sex, cohort and ancestry. We found that 26.6% (SE 11.9%, P = 0.0128) of variation in tumor thickness is attributable to genome-wide genetic variation. While requiring replication, a chromosome 11 locus was associated (P < 5 × 10-8) with tumor thickness. Our work indicates that sufficiently large datasets will enable the discovery of genetic variants associated with greater tumor thickness, and this will lead to the identification of host biological processes influencing melanoma growth and invasion.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddaa222DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7788289PMC
January 2021

Whole-genome sequencing of acral melanoma reveals genomic complexity and diversity.

Nat Commun 2020 10 16;11(1):5259. Epub 2020 Oct 16.

Center for Rare Melanomas, University of Colorado Cancer Center, Aurora, Colorado, USA.

To increase understanding of the genomic landscape of acral melanoma, a rare form of melanoma occurring on palms, soles or nail beds, whole genome sequencing of 87 tumors with matching transcriptome sequencing for 63 tumors was performed. Here we report that mutational signature analysis reveals a subset of tumors, mostly subungual, with an ultraviolet radiation signature. Significantly mutated genes are BRAF, NRAS, NF1, NOTCH2, PTEN and TYRP1. Mutations and amplification of KIT are also common. Structural rearrangement and copy number signatures show that whole genome duplication, aneuploidy and complex rearrangements are common. Complex rearrangements occur recurrently and are associated with amplification of TERT, CDK4, MDM2, CCND1, PAK1 and GAB2, indicating potential therapeutic options.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-18988-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7567804PMC
October 2020

A Dual-Antigen Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay Allows the Assessment of Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 Antibody Seroprevalence in a Low-Transmission Setting.

J Infect Dis 2021 01;223(1):10-14

Department of Immunology and Infectious Disease, John Curtin School of Medical Research, The Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.

Estimates of seroprevalence of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) antibodies have been hampered by inadequate assay sensitivity and specificity. Using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay-based approach that combines data about immunoglobulin G responses to both the nucleocapsid and spike receptor binding domain antigens, we show that excellent sensitivity and specificity can be achieved. We used this assay to assess the frequency of virus-specific antibodies in a cohort of elective surgery patients in Australia and estimated seroprevalence in Australia to be 0.28% (95% Confidence Interval, 0-1.15%). These data confirm the low level of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 in Australia before July 2020 and validate the specificity of our assay.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/infdis/jiaa623DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7665523PMC
January 2021

FRAMe: Familial Risk Assessment of Melanoma-a risk prediction tool to guide CDKN2A germline mutation testing in Australian familial melanoma.

Fam Cancer 2021 07 29;20(3):231-239. Epub 2020 Sep 29.

Centre for Cancer Research, Westmead Institute for Medical Research, University of Sydney, Westmead, NSW, 2145, Australia.

Germline mutations in CDKN2A greatly increase risk of developing cutaneous melanoma. We have constructed a risk prediction model, Familial Risk Assessment of Melanoma (FRAMe), for estimating the likelihood of carrying a heritable CDKN2A mutation among Australian families, where the prevalence of these mutations is low. Using logistic regression, we analysed characteristics of 299 Australian families recruited through the Sydney site of GenoMEL (international melanoma genetics consortium) with at least three cases of cutaneous melanoma (in situ and invasive) among first-degree blood relatives, for predictors of the presence of a pathogenic CDKN2A mutation. The final multivariable prediction model was externally validated in an independent cohort of 61 melanoma kindreds recruited through GenoMEL Queensland. Family variables independently associated with the presence of a CDKN2A mutation in a multivariable model were number of individuals diagnosed with melanoma under 40 years of age, number of individuals diagnosed with more than one primary melanoma, and number of individuals blood related to a melanoma case in the first degree diagnosed with any cancer excluding melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer. The number of individuals diagnosed with pancreatic cancer was not independently associated with mutation status. The risk prediction model had an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) of 0.851 (95% CI 0.793, 0.909) in the training dataset, and 0.745 (95%CI 0.612, 0.877) in the validation dataset. This model is the first to be developed and validated using only Australian data, which is important given the higher rate of melanoma in the population. This model will help to effectively identify families suitable for genetic counselling and testing in areas of high ambient ultraviolet radiation. A user-friendly electronic nomogram is available at www.melanomarisk.org.au .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10689-020-00209-xDOI Listing
July 2021

Tumor Mutation Burden and Structural Chromosomal Aberrations Are Not Associated with T-cell Density or Patient Survival in Acral, Mucosal, and Cutaneous Melanomas.

Cancer Immunol Res 2020 11 11;8(11):1346-1353. Epub 2020 Sep 11.

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Tumor mutation burden (TMB) has been proposed as a key determinant of immunogenicity in several cancers, including melanoma. The evidence presented thus far, however, is often contradictory and based mostly on RNA-sequencing data for the quantification of immune cell phenotypes. Few studies have investigated TMB across acral, mucosal, and cutaneous melanoma subtypes, which are known to have different TMB. It is also unknown whether chromosomal structural mutations [structural variant (SV) mutations] contribute to the immunogenicity in acral and mucosal melanomas where such aberrations are common. We stained 151 cutaneous and 35 acral and mucosal melanoma patient samples using quantitative IHC and correlated immune infiltrate phenotypes with TMB and other genomic profiles. TMB and SVs did not correlate with the densities of CD8 lymphocytes, CD103 tumor-resident T cells (Trm), CD45RO cells, and other innate and adaptive immune cell subsets in cutaneous and acral/mucosal melanoma tumors, respectively, including in analyses restricted to the site of disease and in a validation cohort. In 43 patients with stage III treatment-naïve cutaneous melanoma, we found that the density of immune cells, particularly Trm, was significantly associated with patient survival, but not with TMB. Overall, TMB and chromosomal structural aberrations are not associated with protective antitumor immunity in treatment-naïve melanoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2326-6066.CIR-19-0835DOI Listing
November 2020

Equitable Expanded Carrier Screening Needs Indigenous Clinical and Population Genomic Data.

Am J Hum Genet 2020 08;107(2):175-182

National Centre for Indigenous Genomics, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia; John Curtin School of Medical Research, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia.

Expanded carrier screening (ECS) for recessive monogenic diseases requires prior knowledge of genomic variation, including DNA variants that cause disease. The composition of pathogenic variants differs greatly among human populations, but historically, research about monogenic diseases has focused mainly on people with European ancestry. By comparison, less is known about pathogenic DNA variants in people from other parts of the world. Consequently, inclusion of currently underrepresented Indigenous and other minority population groups in genomic research is essential to enable equitable outcomes in ECS and other areas of genomic medicine. Here, we discuss this issue in relation to the implementation of ECS in Australia, which is currently being evaluated as part of the national Government's Genomics Health Futures Mission. We argue that significant effort is required to build an evidence base and genomic reference data so that ECS can bring significant clinical benefit for many Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Australians. These efforts are essential steps to achieving the Australian Government's objectives and its commitment "to leveraging the benefits of genomics in the health system for all Australians." They require culturally safe, community-led research and community involvement embedded within national health and medical genomics programs to ensure that new knowledge is integrated into medicine and health services in ways that address the specific and articulated cultural and health needs of Indigenous people. Until this occurs, people who do not have European ancestry are at risk of being, in relative terms, further disadvantaged.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ajhg.2020.06.005DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7413856PMC
August 2020

Multiplex melanoma families are enriched for polygenic risk.

Hum Mol Genet 2020 10;29(17):2976-2985

Statistical Genetics, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD 4006, Australia.

Cancers, including cutaneous melanoma, can cluster in families. In addition to environmental etiological factors such as ultraviolet radiation, cutaneous melanoma has a strong genetic component. Genetic risks for cutaneous melanoma range from rare, high-penetrance mutations to common, low-penetrance variants. Known high-penetrance mutations account for only about half of all densely affected cutaneous melanoma families, and the causes of familial clustering in the remainder are unknown. We hypothesize that some clustering is due to the cumulative effect of a large number of variants of individually small effect. Common, low-penetrance genetic risk variants can be combined into polygenic risk scores. We used a polygenic risk score for cutaneous melanoma to compare families without known high-penetrance mutations with unrelated melanoma cases and melanoma-free controls. Family members had significantly higher mean polygenic load for cutaneous melanoma than unrelated cases or melanoma-free healthy controls (Bonferroni-corrected t-test P = 1.5 × 10-5 and 6.3 × 10-45, respectively). Whole genome sequencing of germline DNA from 51 members of 21 families with low polygenic risk for melanoma identified a CDKN2A p.G101W mutation in a single family but no other candidate high-penetrance melanoma susceptibility genes. This work provides further evidence that melanoma, like many other common complex disorders, can arise from the joint action of multiple predisposing factors, including rare high-penetrance mutations, as well as via a combination of large numbers of alleles of small effect.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/ddaa156DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7566496PMC
October 2020

Improved Risk Prediction Calculator for Sentinel Node Positivity in Patients With Melanoma: The Melanoma Institute Australia Nomogram.

J Clin Oncol 2020 08 12;38(24):2719-2727. Epub 2020 Jun 12.

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Purpose: For patients with primary cutaneous melanoma, the risk of sentinel node (SN) metastasis varies according to several clinicopathologic parameters. Patient selection for SN biopsy can be assisted by National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) and ASCO/Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) guidelines and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) online nomogram. We sought to develop an improved online risk calculator using alternative clinicopathologic parameters to more accurately predict SN positivity.

Patients And Methods: Data from 3,477 patients with melanoma who underwent SN biopsy at Melanoma Institute Australia (MIA) were analyzed. A new nomogram was developed by replacing body site and Clark level from the MSKCC model with mitotic rate, melanoma subtype, and lymphovascular invasion. The predictive performance of the new nomogram was externally validated using data from The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center (n = 3,496).

Results: The MSKCC model receiver operating characteristic curve had a predictive accuracy of 67.7% (95% CI, 65.3% to 70.0%). The MIA model had a predictive accuracy of 73.9% (95% CI, 71.9% to 75.9%), a 9.2% increase in accuracy over the MSKCC model ( < .001). Among the 2,748 SN-negative patients, SN biopsy would not have been offered to 22.1%, 13.4%, and 12.4% based on the MIA model, the MSKCC model, and NCCN or ASCO/SSO criteria, respectively. External validation generated a C-statistic of 75.0% (95% CI, 73.2% to 76.7%).

Conclusion: A robust nomogram was developed that more accurately estimates the risk of SN positivity in patients with melanoma than currently available methods. The model only requires the input of 6 widely available clinicopathologic parameters. Importantly, the number of patients undergoing unnecessary SN biopsy would be significantly reduced compared with use of the MSKCC nomogram or the NCCN or ASCO/SSO guidelines, without losing sensitivity. An online calculator is available at www.melanomarisk.org.au.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1200/JCO.19.02362DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7430218PMC
August 2020

Australian general practitioners' attitudes and knowledge of sentinel lymph node biopsy in melanoma management.

Aust J Gen Pract 2020 06;49(6):355-362

MPH (Hons), PhD, Head of Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Research Group, Sydney School of Public Health and Melanoma Institute Australia, University of Sydney, NSW; Professor of Cancer Epidemiology, Sydney Medical School, University of Sydney, NSW.

Background And Objectives: In Australia, the uptake of the sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) appears low despite clinical practice guideline recommendations. The aim of this study was to describe the knowledge and attitudes of general practitioners (GPs) to SLNB.

Method: GPs were recruited at an annual conference and a skin cancer skills workshop, and using GP professional communications. A mixed methods approach comprised a cross-sectional questionnaire and, for a subset of participants, semi-structured interviews.

Results: Overall, 231 GPs completed the questionnaire, of whom 23 were interviewed. One-third (32%) described themselves as quite or very familiar with the guidelines, and two-thirds (68%) thought that SLNB had an important role in the management of patients with melanoma. Of GPs who would discuss SLNB with eligible patients, <40% correctly identified that SLNB is recommended for patients with an invasive melanoma >1 mm thick.

Discussion: GPs were generally supportive of SLNB. Familiarity with the guidelines was low, particularly regarding which patients should be considered for SLNB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.31128/AJGP-10-19-5138DOI Listing
June 2020

Whole genome landscapes of uveal melanoma show an ultraviolet radiation signature in iris tumours.

Nat Commun 2020 05 15;11(1):2408. Epub 2020 May 15.

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common intraocular tumour in adults and despite surgical or radiation treatment of primary tumours, ~50% of patients progress to metastatic disease. Therapeutic options for metastatic UM are limited, with clinical trials having little impact. Here we perform whole-genome sequencing (WGS) of 103 UM from all sites of the uveal tract (choroid, ciliary body, iris). While most UM have low tumour mutation burden (TMB), two subsets with high TMB are seen; one driven by germline MBD4 mutation, and another by ultraviolet radiation (UVR) exposure, which is restricted to iris UM. All but one tumour have a known UM driver gene mutation (GNAQ, GNA11, BAP1, PLCB4, CYSLTR2, SF3B1, EIF1AX). We identify three other significantly mutated genes (TP53, RPL5 and CENPE).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-16276-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7229209PMC
May 2020

Genome-wide association meta-analyses combining multiple risk phenotypes provide insights into the genetic architecture of cutaneous melanoma susceptibility.

Nat Genet 2020 05 27;52(5):494-504. Epub 2020 Apr 27.

Department of Dermatology, Instituto Valenciano de Oncología, Valencia, Spain.

Most genetic susceptibility to cutaneous melanoma remains to be discovered. Meta-analysis genome-wide association study (GWAS) of 36,760 cases of melanoma (67% newly genotyped) and 375,188 controls identified 54 significant (P < 5 × 10) loci with 68 independent single nucleotide polymorphisms. Analysis of risk estimates across geographical regions and host factors suggests the acral melanoma subtype is uniquely unrelated to pigmentation. Combining this meta-analysis with GWAS of nevus count and hair color, and transcriptome association approaches, uncovered 31 potential secondary loci for a total of 85 cutaneous melanoma susceptibility loci. These findings provide insights into cutaneous melanoma genetic architecture, reinforcing the importance of nevogenesis, pigmentation and telomere maintenance, together with identifying potential new pathways for cutaneous melanoma pathogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41588-020-0611-8DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7255059PMC
May 2020

Proteomics: An emerging approach for the diagnosis and classification of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma and its precursors.

J Dermatol Sci 2020 Jul 7;99(1):9-16. Epub 2020 Apr 7.

Centre for Translational Skin Research, The University of Sydney, Westmead, Australia; Department of Dermatology, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, Australia. Electronic address:

Cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) and its precursors, actinic keratosis (AK) and Bowen's disease (BD), are the most common types of keratinocytic skin lesions (KSL) which account for the majority of non-melanoma skin cancer lethality. Currently, clinical and histopathological criteria are used for the diagnosis, classification and therapeutic intervention of KSLs, however discrepancies exist between the clinical presentations and histologic analyses of these lesions, making the diagnosis difficult. The identification of biomarkers as companion diagnostics for accurately stratifying KSL types is required to support the paradigm shift in current cancer care to personalised, precision medicine and ameliorate the negative impact of misdiagnoses or delayed diagnoses on patient outcome. Also, it is essential to elaborate on the poorly defined molecular modifications required for the initiation, development and progression of KSL from normal keratinocytes. By harnessing recent technological advances in molecular profiling techniques, it is anticipated that greater insight into the various combinations of proteomic events or alternative pathways underlying carcinogenesis will be gained. This review will explore recent genomic studies in KSL followed by assessing the feasibility and significance of mass spectrometry-based proteomics profiling as a promising approach to a better understanding of the oncogenic pathways underpinning the formation and progression of KSL lesions and in aiding the identification of novel biomarkers and new therapeutic targets. The development of non-invasive tools such as tape-stripping coupled with proteomic analysis alone or in conjunction with imaging and genomic technologies will complement existing clinical and histopathological parameters, leading to an improvement in patient outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jdermsci.2020.03.008DOI Listing
July 2020

Identifying challenges to implementation of clinical practice guidelines for sentinel lymph node biopsy in patients with melanoma in Australia: protocol paper for a mixed methods study.

BMJ Open 2020 02 27;10(2):e032636. Epub 2020 Feb 27.

Australian Institute of Health Innovation, Macquarie University, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Introduction: Sentinel lymph node biopsy (SLNB) is a diagnostic procedure developed in the 1990s. It is currently used to stage patients with primary cutaneous melanoma, provide prognostic information and guide management. The Australian Clinical Practice Guidelines state that SLNB should be considered for patients with cutaneous melanoma >1 mm in thickness (or >0.8 mm with high-risk pathology features). Until recently, sentinel lymph node (SLN) status was used to identify patients who might benefit from a completion lymph node dissection, a procedure that is no longer routinely recommended. SLN status is now also being used to identify patients who might benefit from systemic adjuvant therapies such as anti-programmed cell death 1 (PD1) checkpoint inhibitor immunotherapy or BRAF-directed molecular targeted therapy, treatments that have significantly improved relapse-free survival for patients with resected stage III melanoma and improved overall survival of patients with unresectable stage III and stage IV melanoma. Australian and international data indicate that approximately half of eligible patients receive an SLNB.

Methods And Analysis: This mixed-methods study seeks to understand the structural, contextual and cultural factors affecting implementation of the SLNB guidelines. Data collection will include: (1) cross-sectional questionnaires and semistructured interviews with general practitioners and dermatologists; (2) semistructured interviews with other healthcare professionals involved in the diagnosis and early definitive care of melanoma patients and key stakeholders including researchers, representatives of professional colleges, training organisations and consumer melanoma groups; and (3) documentary analysis of documents from government, health services and non-government organisations. Descriptive analyses and multivariable regression models will be used to examine factors related to SLNB practices and attitudes. Qualitative data will be analysed using thematic analysis.

Ethics And Dissemination: Ethics approval has been granted by the University of Sydney. Results will be disseminated through publications and presentations to clinicians, patients, policymakers and researchers and will inform the development of strategies for implementing SLNB guidelines in Australia.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032636DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7050375PMC
February 2020

Whole-genome landscape of mucosal melanoma reveals diverse drivers and therapeutic targets.

Nat Commun 2019 07 18;10(1):3163. Epub 2019 Jul 18.

Department of Pathology, University of California, San Francisco, CA, 94143, USA.

Knowledge of key drivers and therapeutic targets in mucosal melanoma is limited due to the paucity of comprehensive mutation data on this rare tumor type. To better understand the genomic landscape of mucosal melanoma, here we describe whole genome sequencing analysis of 67 tumors and validation of driver gene mutations by exome sequencing of 45 tumors. Tumors have a low point mutation burden and high numbers of structural variants, including recurrent structural rearrangements targeting TERT, CDK4 and MDM2. Significantly mutated genes are NRAS, BRAF, NF1, KIT, SF3B1, TP53, SPRED1, ATRX, HLA-A and CHD8. SF3B1 mutations occur more commonly in female genital and anorectal melanomas and CTNNB1 mutations implicate a role for WNT signaling defects in the genesis of some mucosal melanomas. TERT aberrations and ATRX mutations are associated with alterations in telomere length. Mutation profiles of the majority of mucosal melanomas suggest potential susceptibility to CDK4/6 and/or MEK inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41467-019-11107-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6639323PMC
July 2019

Data Independent Acquisition Proteomic Analysis Can Discriminate between Actinic Keratosis, Bowen's Disease, and Cutaneous Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

J Invest Dermatol 2020 01 27;140(1):212-222.e11. Epub 2019 Jun 27.

Center for Translational Skin Research, The University of Sydney, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia; Department of Dermatology, Westmead Hospital, Westmead, New South Wales, Australia. Electronic address:

Actinic keratosis, Bowen's disease and cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (cSCC) are heterogeneous keratinocytic skin lesions. Biomarkers that can accurately stratify these lesion types are needed to support a new paradigm of personalized and precise management of skin neoplasia. In this paper, we used a data independent acquisition proteomics workflow, sequential window acquisition of all theoretical mass spectra, to analyze formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples of normal skin and keratinocytic skin lesions, including well-differentiated, moderately differentiated and poorly differentiated cSCC lesions. We quantified 3,574 proteins across the 93 samples studied. Differential abundance analysis identified 19, 5, and 6 protein markers exclusive to actinic keratosis, Bowen's disease and cSCC lesions, respectively. Among cSCC lesions of various levels of tumor differentiation, 118, 230, and 17 proteins showed a potential as biomarkers of well-differentiated, moderately differentiated and poorly differentiated cSCC lesions, respectively. Bioinformatics analysis revealed that actinic keratosis and cSCC lesions were associated with decreased apoptosis, and Bowen's disease lesions with over-representation of the DNA damage repair pathway. Differential expression of alternatively spliced FGFR2, Rho guanosine triphosphatase signaling, and RNA metabolism proteins were associated with the level of cSCC tumor differentiation. Proteome profiles also separated keratinocytic skin lesion subtypes on principal components analysis. Overall, protein markers have excellent potential to discriminate keratinocytic skin lesion subtypes and facilitate new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jid.2019.06.128DOI Listing
January 2020

Cost-Effectiveness of a Psycho-Educational Intervention Targeting Fear of Cancer Recurrence in People Treated for Early-Stage Melanoma.

Appl Health Econ Health Policy 2019 10;17(5):669-681

NHMRC Clinical Trials Centre and Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Camperdown, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Objective: This study aimed to evaluate the cost effectiveness of a newly developed psycho-educational intervention to reduce fear of cancer recurrence (FCR) in early-stage melanoma patients.

Methods: A within-trial cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analysis was conducted from the Australian health system perspective using data from linked Medicare records. Outcomes included FCR, measured with the severity subscale of the FCR Inventory; quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) measured using the preference-based instrument, Assessment of Quality of Life-8 Dimensions (AQoL-8D) and 12-month survival. An incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) was calculated for two economic outcomes: (1) cost per additional case of 'high' FCR avoided and (2) cost per QALY gained. Means and 95% CIs around the ICER were generated from non-parametric bootstrapping with 1000 replications.

Results: A total of 151 trial participants were included in the economic evaluation. The mean cost of the psycho-educational intervention was AU$1614 per participant, including intervention development costs. The ICER per case of high FCR avoided was AU$12,903. The cost-effectiveness acceptability curve demonstrated a 78% probability of the intervention being cost effective relative to the control at a threshold of AU$50,000 per extra person avoiding FCR. The ICER per QALY gained was AU$116,126 and the probability of the intervention being cost effective for this outcome was 36% at a willingness to pay of AU$50,000 per QALY.

Conclusion: The psycho-educational intervention reduced FCR at 12 months for people at high risk of developing another melanoma and may represent good value for money. For the QALY outcome, the psycho-educational intervention is unlikely to be cost effective at standard government willingness-to-pay levels. The trial was prospectively registered in the Australian and New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry (CTRN12613000304730).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s40258-019-00483-6DOI Listing
October 2019

Melanoma Explorer: a web application to allow easy reanalysis of publicly available and clinically annotated melanoma omics data sets.

Melanoma Res 2019 06;29(3):342-344

School of Mathematics and Statistics.

Validating newly discovered biomarkers in large, publicly available data sets is often difficult and requires specialized computer programming skills. Melanoma Explorer is a web application that enables easy interrogation of melanoma omics data sets that are freely available in online data repositories with a point-and-click interface. Two use cases are demonstrated. First, the relationship of lysozyme mRNA expression is shown to be prognostic in two independent gene expression microarray data sets. Second, a figure from a journal article showing the relationship of tumour thickness and miR-382 abundance is reproduced. Melanoma Explorer is demonstrated to be a useful tool for reproducing results of published studies and providing additional evidence for biomarkers in independent data sets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/CMR.0000000000000533DOI Listing
June 2019

Recurrent hotspot SF3B1 mutations at codon 625 in vulvovaginal mucosal melanoma identified in a study of 27 Australian mucosal melanomas.

Oncotarget 2019 Jan 29;10(9):930-941. Epub 2019 Jan 29.

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

Introduction: Clinical outcomes for mucosal melanomas are often poor due to a lack of effective systemic drug therapies. Identifying driver genes in mucosal melanoma may enhance the understanding of disease pathogenesis and provide novel opportunities to develop effective therapies.

Results: Somatic variant analysis identified (6 of 27: 22%) as the most commonly mutated gene, followed by (3 of 27: 11%). Other less frequently mutated genes (4% otherwise stated) included (7%), (7%), , , , , , , and . Recurrent SF3B1 p.R625 hotspot mutations were exclusively detected in vulvovaginal (5 of 19: 26%) and anorectal melanomas (3 of 5:60%). The only other SF3B1 mutation was a p.C1123Y mutation that occurred in a conjunctival mucosal melanoma.-mutated patients were associated with shorter overall survival (OS; 34.9 months) and progression-free survival (PFS; 16.9 months) compared to non--mutated patients (OS: 79.7 months, log-rank = 0.1172; PFS: 35.7 months, log-rank = 0.0963).

Conclusion: Molecular subgroups of mucosal melanoma with mutations occurred predominantly in the vulvovaginal region. mutations may have a negative prognostic impact.

Methods: Formalin-fixed biopsies were collected from 27 pathologically-confirmed mucosal melanomas. Genomic DNA was isolated from the tumor tissue and sequenced using a novel dual-strand amplicon sequencing technique to determine the frequency and types of mutations across 45 target genes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.26584DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6398173PMC
January 2019

Molecular Genomic Profiling of Melanocytic Nevi.

J Invest Dermatol 2019 08 14;139(8):1762-1768. Epub 2019 Feb 14.

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia; Sydney Medical School, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

The benign melanocytic nevus is the most common tumor in humans and rarely transforms into cutaneous melanoma. Elucidation of the nevus genome is required to better understand the molecular steps of progression to melanoma. We performed whole genome sequencing on a series of 14 benign melanocytic nevi consisting of both congenital and acquired types. All nevi had driver mutations in the MAPK signaling pathway, either BRAF V600E or NRAS Q61R/L. No additional definite driver mutations were identified. Somatic mutations in nevi with higher mutation loads showed a predominance of mutational signatures 7a and 7b, consistent with UVR exposure, whereas nevi with lower mutation loads (including all three congenital nevi) had a predominance of the ubiquitous signatures 1 and 5. Two nevi had mutations in promoter regions predicted to bind E26 transformation-specific family transcription factors, as well as subclonal mutations in the TERT promoter. This paper presents whole genome data from melanocytic nevi. We confirm that UVR is involved in the etiology of a subset of nevi. This study also establishes that TERT promoter mutations are present in morphologically benign skin nevi in subclonal populations, which has implications regarding the interpretation of this emerging biomarker in sensitive assays.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jid.2018.12.033DOI Listing
August 2019

Estimating CDKN2A mutation carrier probability among global familial melanoma cases using GenoMELPREDICT.

J Am Acad Dermatol 2019 Aug 5;81(2):386-394. Epub 2019 Feb 5.

Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University Hospital Lund, Sweden; Department of Surgery, Lund University Hospital, Lund, Sweden.

Background: Although rare in the general population, highly penetrant germline mutations in CDKN2A are responsible for 5%-40% of melanoma cases reported in melanoma-prone families. We sought to determine whether MELPREDICT was generalizable to a global series of families with melanoma and whether performance improvements can be achieved.

Methods: In total, 2116 familial melanoma cases were ascertained by the international GenoMEL Consortium. We recapitulated the MELPREDICT model within our data (GenoMELPREDICT) to assess performance improvements by adding phenotypic risk factors and history of pancreatic cancer. We report areas under the curve (AUC) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs) along with net reclassification indices (NRIs) as performance metrics.

Results: MELPREDICT performed well (AUC 0.752, 95% CI 0.730-0.775), and GenoMELPREDICT performance was similar (AUC 0.748, 95% CI 0.726-0.771). Adding a reported history of pancreatic cancer yielded discriminatory improvement (P < .0001) in GenoMELPREDICT (AUC 0.772, 95% CI 0.750-0.793, NRI 0.40). Including phenotypic risk factors did not improve performance.

Conclusion: The MELPREDICT model functioned well in a global data set of familial melanoma cases. Adding pancreatic cancer history improved model prediction. GenoMELPREDICT is a simple tool for predicting CDKN2A mutational status among melanoma patients from melanoma-prone families and can aid in directing these patients to receive genetic testing or cancer risk counseling.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaad.2019.01.079DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6634996PMC
August 2019

The Prognostic Significance of Low-Frequency Somatic Mutations in Metastatic Cutaneous Melanoma.

Front Oncol 2018 4;8:584. Epub 2019 Jan 4.

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Little is known about the prognostic significance of somatically mutated genes in metastatic melanoma (MM). We have employed a combined clinical and bioinformatics approach on tumor samples from cutaneous melanoma (SKCM) as part of The Cancer Genome Atlas project (TCGA) to identify mutated genes with potential clinical relevance. After limiting our DNA sequencing analysis to MM samples ( = 356) and to the CANCER CENSUS gene list, we filtered out mutations with low functional significance (snpEFF). We performed Cox analysis on 53 genes that were mutated in ≥3% of samples, and had ≥50% difference in incidence of mutations in deceased subjects versus alive subjects. Four genes were potentially prognostic [; false discovery rate (FDR) < 0.2]. We identified 18 additional genes (e.g., ) that were less likely to have prognostic value (FDR < 0.4). Most somatic mutations in these 22 genes were infrequent (< 10%), associated with high somatic mutation burden, and were evenly distributed across all exons, except for and . Mutations in only 9 of these 22 genes were also identified by RNA sequencing in >75% of the samples that exhibited corresponding DNA mutations. The low frequency, UV signature type and RNA expression of the 22 genes in MM samples were confirmed in a separate multi-institution validation cohort ( = 413). An underpowered analysis within a subset of this validation cohort with available patient follow-up ( = 224) showed that somatic mutations in and reached borderline prognostic significance [log-rank favorable ( = 0.09) and adverse ( = 0.07), respectively]. Somatic mutations in , and to a lesser extent , were not associated with definite gene copy number or RNA expression alterations. High (>2+) nuclear plus cytoplasmic expression intensity for SPEN was associated with longer melanoma-specific overall survival (OS) compared to lower (≤ 2+) nuclear intensity ( = 0.048). We conclude that expressed somatic mutations in infrequently mutated genes beyond the well-characterized ones (e.g., ), such as and , may have prognostic significance in MM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2018.00584DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6329304PMC
January 2019

RAB27A promotes melanoma cell invasion and metastasis via regulation of pro-invasive exosomes.

Int J Cancer 2019 06 3;144(12):3070-3085. Epub 2019 Jan 3.

The Centenary Institute, The University of Sydney, Newtown, NSW, Australia.

Despite recent advances in targeted and immune-based therapies, advanced stage melanoma remains a clinical challenge with a poor prognosis. Understanding the genes and cellular processes that drive progression and metastasis is critical for identifying new therapeutic strategies. Here, we found that the GTPase RAB27A was overexpressed in a subset of melanomas, which correlated with poor patient survival. Loss of RAB27A expression in melanoma cell lines inhibited 3D spheroid invasion and cell motility in vitro, and spontaneous metastasis in vivo. The reduced invasion phenotype was rescued by RAB27A-replete exosomes, but not RAB27A-knockdown exosomes, indicating that RAB27A is responsible for the generation of pro-invasive exosomes. Furthermore, while RAB27A loss did not alter the number of exosomes secreted, it did change exosome size and altered the composition and abundance of exosomal proteins, some of which are known to regulate cancer cell movement. Our data suggest that RAB27A promotes the biogenesis of a distinct pro-invasive exosome population. These findings support RAB27A as a key cancer regulator, as well as a potential prognostic marker and therapeutic target in melanoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ijc.32064DOI Listing
June 2019

The steadily growing problem of lentigo maligna and lentigo maligna melanoma in Australia: Population-based data on diagnosis and management.

Australas J Dermatol 2019 May 9;60(2):118-125. Epub 2018 Oct 9.

Melanoma Institute Australia, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Background/objectives: There are limited population-based data documenting the incidence and management of lentigo maligna (LM) and invasive lentigo maligna melanoma (LMM). We report the data on occurrence and management of LM and LMM in an Australian population.

Methods: Prospective collection of incidence and clinician-reported management of melanoma in situ (MIS; n = 450, capped) and localised invasive melanoma (n = 3251) notified to the New South Wales Cancer Registry over 12-months in 2006-2007.

Results: The estimated annual incidence of all MIS was 27.0 per 100 000 (LM 12.2, non-LM MIS 5.9 and unclassified MIS 9.0). Patients with LM or LMM were on average approximately 10 years older than those with other melanoma subtypes (P < 0.001). The head and neck was the location of 59% of LM, 44% of LMM and <20% of other melanoma subtypes (P < 0.001). The majority of LM and LMM were treated only by specialists. Diagnostic partial biopsies were more frequent for LM and LMM than for other melanoma subtypes, and primary care physicians were more likely than specialists to do a punch partial biopsy than a shave biopsy. The reported median definitive excision margin for LM was 5.0 mm compared with 7.2 mm for non-LM MIS (P = 0.001).

Conclusions: In this Australian population, LM was twice as frequent as other types of MIS. Improved strategies for diagnosis and management are required.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ajd.12928DOI Listing
May 2019
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