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Comparative studies on the ultrastructure of malignant melanoma in fish and human by freeze-etching and transmission electron microscopy

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Malignant melanomas (MM) in the fish Xiphophorus and in humans were studied both by transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and freeze-etching (FE). In both fish and human melanomas the cells show interdigitations of the plasma membranes. The nuclei are large and lobulated and have many nuclear pores. Melanosomes are abundant and melanosome complexes (“compound melanosomes”) occur regularly. Pinocytotic vesicles could be demonstrated in fish and human melanomas showing local differences in frequency and distribution patterns in the tumor. Intercellular junctions are lacking in MM cells from fish and humans. The FE technique showed considerable avantages in demonstrating membrane-surface peculiarities such as nuclear pores or pinocytotic vesicles. The FE replicas of fish melanomas are like those of humans. These findings may support the hypothesis that melanoma in fish and humans reflect the same biological phenomenon.

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Correspondence to Rüdiger Riehl.

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Riehl, R., Schartl, M. & Kollinger, G. Comparative studies on the ultrastructure of malignant melanoma in fish and human by freeze-etching and transmission electron microscopy. J Cancer Res Clin Oncol 107, 21–31 (1984).

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Key words

  • Malignant melanoma
  • Fish
  • Human
  • Freeze-etching
  • Transmission electron microscopy