Tumor Biology

, Volume 35, Issue 12, pp 12015–12020 | Cite as

α-Methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase (AMACR, p504s) is a marker to distinguish malignant melanomas from dysplastic nevi and melanocytic nevi

  • M. Abbas
  • E. M. Ploch
  • J. Wehling
  • E. Schipper
  • S. Janciauskiene
  • H. H. Kreipe
  • D. Jonigk
Research Article


Routinely processed skin biopsies are still the mainstay for the diagnosis of melanocytic skin neoplasms (MSNs) and are considered the “gold standard” for individual patient management and clinical trials. The diagnostic challenge of melanocytic lesions of the skin prompts histopathologists to consider new diagnostic tools; among these, immunohistochemistry. We aimed to find putative new immunohistochemical markers, which can supplement the histological criteria used to detect dysplasia. In this immunohistochemical study, we chose a panel of promising biomarkers which could potentially differentiate between different MSN entities. These included α-methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase (AMACR; p504s), which is involved in the degradation of branched chained fatty acid derivates. We analysed a cohort of benign nevi and malignant melanomas. The design of the study included 78 melanocytic skin neoplasms (26 malignant melanomas and 52 benign nevi) in a tissue microarray. Immunohistochemistry of cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A (p16Ink4a), methylacyl-coenzyme A racemase (AMACR), cyclin D1, and E-cadherin was performed and assessed. We have observed that the p16Ink4a, AMACR, cyclin D1, and E-cadherin showed no exclusive staining for nevi or melanomas. However, a significant overexpression of AMACR was found in malignant melanomas compared to benign nevi. AMACR overexpression was also associated with an increased p16Ink4a staining. Our results suggest AMACR as an immunohistochemical marker for distinguishing malignant melanomas and dysplastic nevi from conventional melanocytic nevi.


α-Methylacyl-CoA racemase p16Ink4a Benign and dysplastic nevi Melanoma Immunocytochemistry 



The authors would like to thank Kais Hussein for his valuable advice on cancer biology, Gillian Teicke for her help in revising the manuscript and Lavinia Mägel and Torsten Lippmann for their help with statistics.

Conflicts of interest


Supplementary material

13277_2014_2500_MOESM1_ESM.doc (118 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 117 kb)


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Copyright information

© International Society of Oncology and BioMarkers (ISOBM) 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Abbas
    • 1
  • E. M. Ploch
    • 2
  • J. Wehling
    • 1
  • E. Schipper
    • 1
  • S. Janciauskiene
    • 3
  • H. H. Kreipe
    • 1
  • D. Jonigk
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of PathologyHannover medical School (MHH)HannoverGermany
  2. 2.KRH Hospital Großburgwedel, Department of AnaesthesiaIntensive and Emergency MedicineHannoverGermany
  3. 3.Pneumology research departmentHannover medical School (MHH)HannoverGermany

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