Comparative study on driver mutations in primary and metastatic melanomas at a single Japanese institute: A clue for intra- and inter-tumor heterogeneity

Tatsuya Kaji, Osamu Yamasaki, Minoru Takata, Masaki Otsuka, Toshihisa Hamada, Shin Morizane, Kenji Asagoe, Hiroyuki Yanai, Yoji Hirai, Hiroshi Umemura, Keiji Iwatsuki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


Background Searching for driver mutations in melanoma is critical to understanding melanoma genesis, progression and response to therapy. Objectives We aimed to investigate the frequency and pattern of driver mutations in Japanese primary and metastatic melanomas including cases of unknown primary origin, in relation to their clinicopathologic manifestations. Methods Seventy-seven samples from 60 patients with melanoma were screened for 70 driver mutations of 20 oncogenes by Sequenom MelaCarta MassARRAY, and the results for primary and metastatic melanomas were compared. Results Of 77 tissue samples, BRAF V600E was detected in 21 samples (27%), CDK4 R24C in 7, EPHB6 G404S in 6, BRAF V600 K in 2, NEK10 E379 K in 2, and CDK4 R24H, NRAS Q61 K, NRAS Q61R, KRAS G12A, KIT L576P, KIT V559A, ERBB4 E452 K, and PDGFRA E996 K in one sample each. No driver mutations related to the MAPK cascade including RAS and BRAF were detected in the chronically sun-damaged (CSD) group of melanoma. Dual or triple driver mutations were found in four of 40 (10%) samples from the primary melanomas, and three of 37 (8%) of the metastatic melanomas. Fourteen of 26 (54%) samples of non-CSD melanoma, and 3 of 6 (50%) melanomas of unknown primary origin had the BRAF V600E mutation. Mutations in membrane-bound receptors including KIT, ERBB4 and EPHB6 were detected in 8 of 77 (10%) samples. Of 17 pairs of primary and metastatic melanomas from the same patient, the primary mutation pattern was changed to a novel one in three cases, and only one of the plural mutations in the primary melanoma was found in the metastatic lesions in two cases. Conclusions BRAF V600E is a predominant mutation in non-CSD melanoma and melanomas of unknown primary origin. Mutational heterogeneity may exist in the primary melanoma (intra-tumor heterogeneity), and between the primary and metastatic lesions (inter-tumor heterogeneity).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-57
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of dermatological science
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2017


  • BRAF
  • Driver mutation
  • Melanoma
  • Metastasis
  • Mutational heterogeneity
  • Primary

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology


Dive into the research topics of 'Comparative study on driver mutations in primary and metastatic melanomas at a single Japanese institute: A clue for intra- and inter-tumor heterogeneity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this