Immunohistochemical detection of XIAP in melanoma

Patrick O.M. Emanuel, Robert G. Phelps, Adarsh Mudgil, Michail Shafir, David E. Burstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Background: The X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) is the most potent of the inhibitor of apoptosis family of eight proteins. High levels of XIAP have been found in melanoma cell lines and are believed to play a role in therapeutic resistance in a number of malignancies. XIAP expression has not been investigated in clinically obtained melanoma tissue samples, nor have studies attempted to correlate XIAP expression with prognostic variables or clinical aggressiveness of melanomas. Methods: Sixty-seven patients with primary cutaneous malignant melanoma for whom clinical follow up was available were identified from the records of the Mount Sinai Hospital, comprising 37 thin melanomas (Breslow thickness < 1.0 mm) and 30 thick melanomas (Breslow thickness > 1.0 mm). Archival paraffin sections from primary lesions and corresponding metastases were stained with monoclonal anti-XIAP antibody using routine immunohistochemical methods. Results: Six benign intradermal nevi and four in situ melanomas were XIAP negative. 9 of 37 thin melanomas (24%) were XIAP positive. In contrast, 21 of 30 (73%) thick melanomas were XIAP positive, including 3 of 4 ulcerated melanomas that were strongly positive. Over a follow-up period ranging from 6 months to 6 years, 23 melanomas metastasized (22 thick, 1 thin). In total, XIAP was immunohistochemically detected in 17 of 23 metastases (74%). Metastasis occurred in 1 of 9 XIAP-positive thin melanomas; 0 of 28 XIAP-negative thin melanomas; 17 of 22 XIAP-positive thick melanomas, and 5 of 8 XIAP-negative thick melanomas (63%). Conclusions: XIAP is immunohistochemically detectable nearly three times more frequently in thick compared with thin melanomas. These results suggest that XIAP elevation may be correlated with increasing melanoma thickness and tumor progression.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)292-297
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Cutaneous Pathology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2008


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