RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Molecular staging by multimarker reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay of lymphatic drainage and blood from melanoma patients after lymph node dissection.

Melanoma Research 2008 August
Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR)-mediated detection of melanoma cells may be a prognostic factor for disease outcome. We investigated the presence of melanoma cells in lymphatic drainage and blood in melanoma patients after lymph node dissection (LND) via the highly sensitive multimarker (MM) RT-PCR assay. We collected 24-h lymph fluid (LY) and peripheral blood (BL) from 107 stage III melanoma patients after radical LND (59 axillary and 48 ilioinguinal LND). Tyrosinase, MART1 and uMAGE mRNA levels were determined by RT-PCR to detect melanoma cells, and the presence of at least one marker signified a positive result. All patients underwent follow-up (median for survivors, 21 months, range: 4-37 months). Forty patients (37.4%) were positive for LY MM RT-PCR and 28 (26.2%) were positive based on BL MM RT-PCR. No differences for disease-free survival (DFS) curves according to BL MM RT-PCR were observed, but we found significant differences in the estimated 24-month DFS rate for patients with at least one marker and those without any marker in lymph fluid [18.9% (95% confidence interval: 1.4-37.5%) and 42.1% (95% confidence interval: 29.7-54.5%), median: 9.9 and 15.3 months, respectively] (P=0.04). Detection of multiple markers in lymph fluid correlated with shorter DFS. Approximately 37% of lymph fluid after radical LND were positive by MM RT-PCR, which correlated significantly with early melanoma recurrences and shorter survival. The LY MM RT-PCR seems to be an effective prognostic tool for stage III melanoma patients. The MM RT-PCR analysis of single peripheral blood sample in these patients did not have additional prognostic value.

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