Cutaneous melanoma is a highly aggressive tumor that is relatively resistant to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. This resistance may be in part due to inhibition of apoptosis. Apoptotic protease activating factor-1 (APAF-1), a candidate tumor suppressor gene, mediates p53-induced apoptosis, and its loss promotes oncogenic transformation. To determine whether loss of the APAF-1 locus influences tumor progression, we assessed loss of heterozygosity microsatellites on the APAF-1 locus (12q22-23) in 62 primary and 112 metastatic melanomas. We discovered that frequency of allelic imbalance was significantly higher in metastatic tumors (n = 36 of 98; 37%) than in primary melanomas (n = 10 of 54; 19%; P = 0.02). In metastatic melanomas, APAF-1 loss significantly correlated with a worse prognosis (P < 0.05) in the patients, and its loss during melanoma tumor progression suggests that APAF-1 is a tumor suppressor gene. Furthermore, loss of heterozygosity was frequent in the 12q22-23 chromosome region centromeric to the APAF-1 locus suggesting that other tumor-related genes may be present in the 12q22-23 region. In summary, the study demonstrates that allelic imbalance in the 12q22-23 region is a genomic surrogate of poor disease outcome for cutaneous melanoma patients.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research