, Volume 304, Issue 10, pp 839-845

Role of translocator protein in melanoma growth and progression

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Abstract

The 18 kDa translocator protein (TSPO) is a primarily mitochondrial protein that participates in steroid biosynthesis, cell proliferation, differentiation, apoptosis, and the regulation of mitochondrial function in general. TSPO has been implicated in carcinogenesis via its ability to transport cholesterol into mitochondria to meet the increased energy needs of tumor cells. The purpose of this study was to investigate TSPO involvement in melanoma pathogenesis. TSPO expression in melanoma and melanocytic nevi was analyzed by immunohistochemistry and real-time PCR, and TSPO levels were correlated to the invasiveness of the tumor. The number of TSPO-positive melanoma samples increased with tumor progression irrespective of age or gender of patients. Similar findings were obtained while examining TSPO expression levels in relation to the Clark invasion stage of the tumor. Indeed, the immunohistochemical index was elevated in invasive tumors characterized as Clark level V compared to those characterized as levels I and II. Besides, the elevation of immunohistochemical index was accompanied with a shift of homogeneous cytoplasmic subcellular expression pattern of the protein to nuclear and perinuclear. Taken together, these results suggest TSPO participation in melanoma growth and progression.