Differential immunoreactivity of melanocytic lesions of the conjunctiva

N A Sharara, R A Alexander, P J Luthert, J L Hungerford, I A Cree
Histopathology 2001, 39 (4): 426-31

AIMS: To evaluate the expression of S100NKI/C3 and HMB45 antigens in melanocytic lesions of the conjunctiva and the ability of HMB45 to aid assessment of neoplasia.

METHODS AND RESULTS: Stored formalin-fixed specimens of conjunctival melanomas and primary acquired melanosis were considered as participants and conjunctival naevi and racial melanosis as controls. Ninety-seven conjunctival melanocytic lesions were analysed using formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded material. These included 20 melanomas arising in the context of primary acquired melanosis (PAM), 22 melanomas arising without evidence of pre-existing PAM, seven cases of PAM with atypia, nine cases of PAM with no atypia, 35 conjunctival naevi and four cases of racial melanosis. S100 and NKI/C3 were similarly expressed in all lesions, with at least one of these markers positive in 100% of the lesions examined. HMB45 was expressed in 72.7% of primary melanomas and 85% of melanomas in the context of PAM; 42.8% of PAM with atypia expressed HMB45 while it was expressed in 11.1% of PAM without atypia and 8.5% of naevi. Racial melanosis cases did not express HMB45. S100 and NKI/C3 were expressed to a similar extent in all groups.

CONCLUSIONS: S100 and NKI/C3 are useful markers to assess the extent of melanocytic lesions in the conjunctiva. HMB45 immunoreactivity can act as a useful aid to histopathology for the distinction of benign from malignant conjunctival lesions, particularly in the context of primary acquired melanosis.

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