In the last decade, advances in molecular biology have provided evidence of the genotypic heterogeneity of melanoma. We analysed BRAF, NRAS and c-KIT alterations in tissue samples from 63 stage III/IV melanoma patients and autologous cell-lines, using either allele-specific or quantitative PCR. The expression of BRAF V600E protein was also investigated using an anti-BRAF antibody in the same tissue samples. 81% of FFPE samples and tumor cell-lines harboured a genetic alteration in either BRAF (54%) or NRAS (27%) oncogenes. There was a strong concordance (100%) between tissue samples and tumor cell-lines. The BRAF V600E mutant-specific antibody showed high sensitivity (96%) and specificity (100%) for detecting the presence of a BRAF V600E mutation. The correlation was of 98% between PCR and immunohistochemistry results for BRAF mutation. These results suggest that BRAF and NRAS mutation status of tumor cells is not affected by culture conditions.