Analysis of caveolin-1 and phosphoinositol-3 kinase expression in primary uveal melanomas

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To evaluate the regulation of blood supply in primary uveal melanomas through caveolin-1 (Cav-1)/phosphoinositol-3 kinase (PI3K).


The expression of Cav-1 and PI3K was analysed in 51 paraffin sections of metastatic (n = 30) and non-metastastic uveal melanomas (n = 21). Two trained observers quantified Cav-1 and PI3K immunofluorescensce expression by determining intensity of staining and percentage of positive cells. The expression was correlated with known prognostic factors. Besides angiogenesis by means of endoglin expression, the normal vasculature (von Willebrand Factor expression) was evaluated semi-quantitatively. Vasculogenic mimicry (VM) was analysed by CD31/PAS staining.


All examined specimens expressed Cav-1 with a mean of 90.34% Cav-1 positive cells (range, 3.23–100%). Metastatic disease was associated with a higher Cav-1 expression. The correlation of Cav-1 with well-established prognostic factors showed a significant association between Cav-1 expression and largest tumour diameter (P = 0.022), tumour node metastasis classification (P = 0.008) and invasion of optic nerve head (P = 0.048). PI3K was expressed by all uveal melanomas with a mean of 87.28% cells showing PI3K expression. A higher level of PI3K was significantly associated with larger height (P = 0.042) and progressed tumour node metastasis stage (P = 0.016). The percentage of PI3K and Cav-1 positive cells were significantly associated (P = 0.034). For PI3K and Cav-1 expression a non-significant association with VM was shown (P = 0.064 and P = 0.072, respectively). No correlation of PI3K or Cav-1 with angiogenesis or mature vasculature was seen (P > 0.05).


Cav-1 expression may be especially up-regulated in larger uveal melanomas. As it was correlated with PI3K expression and VM in this series of uveal melanoma, Cav-1 might induce the formation of VM via the PI3K-signalling cascade.

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