Staining of Melanocytic Neoplasms by Melanoma Antigen Recognized by T Cells

Darius R. Mehregan, M.D., Amir H. Mehregan, M.D., and David A. Mehregan, M.D., Monroe, Michigan
We stained benign melanocytic nevi and malignant melanoma with antibodies to melanoma antigen recognized by T cells (Mart-1) to determine if this was useful in differentiating benign from malignant melanocytic neoplasms. Forty-five primary malignant melanomas and 71 benign melanocytic nevi were stained with antibodies to Mart-1. Two cases of malignant melanoma metastatic to lymph node and three cutaneous metastases of malignant melanoma were also stained. The degree of staining was graded into diffuse positive staining, focal positive staining, and negative staining. Thirty-six of 45 primary malignant melanomas stained diffusely positive with antibodies to Mart-1. This included three of five desmoplastic malignant melanomas that showed positive staining. Four melanomas showed faint or focal positive staining. One of two metastases to lymph node showed strong positive staining and one showed no staining. All three cutaneous metastases showed diffuse positive staining. Sixty-one of 71 melanocytic nevi showed no staining or faint staining with antibodies to Mart-1. Ten of 71 melanocytic nevi showed strong positive staining. The majority of these were congenital nevi. Staining with antibodies to Mart-1 antigen was a useful marker of malignant melanoma. However, staining may also be seen in benign melanocytic neoplasms. The presence or absence of staining for Mart-1 antigen cannot be used to differentiate benign melanocytic nevi from malignant melanocytic tumors.

Key Words: Immunohistochemistry; Mart-1; Melanoma; Melanoma antigen related to T cells; Nevus; Pathology; Spitz Nevus

Am J Dermatopathol 2000; 22: 247-250