Hum Pathol 2016 07 9;53:82-90. Epub 2016 Mar 9.
Dermatopathology Section, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, VA Consolidated Laboratories, West Roxbury, MA 02132. Electronic address:
Loss of the NF1 allele, coding for the protein neurofibromin, and polymorphism in the proto-oncogene RET (RETp) are purportedly common in desmoplastic melanoma (DM). DM is categorized into pure (PDM) and mixed (MDM) subtypes, which differ in prognosis. Most NF1 mutations result in a truncated/absent protein, making immunohistochemical screening for neurofibromin an ideal surrogate for NF1 allelic loss. Using antineurofibromin, our aims were to ascertain the incidence of neurofibromin loss in DM subtypes and to evaluate the relationship with RET, perineural invasion (PNI) and established histopathologic prognosticators. A total of 78 archival samples of DM met criteria for inclusion (54 cases of non-DM serving as controls). Immunohistochemistry was performed for neurofibromin, whereas direct DNA sequencing was used for RETp and BRAF mutation status. Statistical analyses included χ(2) test as well as Fisher exact test. Neurofibromin loss was more common in DM than non-DM (69% versus 54%; P=.02). In DM, significant differences in neurofibromin loss were noted in the following: non-head and neck versus head and neck biopsy site (88% versus 55%) and PDM versus MDM variants (80% versus 56%). No significant associations were noted with sex, presence of a junctional component, Breslow depth, ulceration, mitoses, host response, RETp, BRAF status, or PNI. RETp was marginally associated with PNI-positive DM versus PNI-negative DM (36 versus 18%; P=.08). Our findings, the largest to date investigating neurofibromin in DM, validate the incidence of NF1 mutations/allelic loss in DM and suggest that the DM subtypes have distinct genetic drivers.