The prognostic significance of c-myc oncogene expression in uveal melanoma

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Abstract

The role of the c-myc oncogene has been little investigated in uveal melanoma. In this study an analysis of c-myc oncoprotein expression was undertaken using flow cytometry in 71 patients with posterior uveal melanoma. Nuclear c-myc oncoprotein was detected in all of the tumours, and survival analysis revealed a significant association between high oncoprotein positivity and improved survival (log rank test: χ2 = 6.47, P = 0.01). Multifactorial analysis using Cox's proportional hazards model revealed nuclear c-myc oncoprotein to be an independent prognostic marker more accurate than other clinicopathological parameters (log rank test: χ2 = 6.61, P = 0.01). However, this result of high oncoprotein expression correlating with improved outcome is surprising and in contrast to our previous studies using the same method on cutaneous melanoma, where high levels of nuclear c-myc expression have been found to correlate with poor outcome both in primary and secondary disease. This study suggests that the pattern of oncogene expression in uveal melanoma is distinct from cutaneous melanoma and that the underlying biology of these tumours is different.

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