Nicotinamide N-methyltransferase: potential involvement in cutaneous malignant melanoma

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Nicotinamide N-methyltransferase (NNMT) is an enzyme that catalyzes the N-methylation of nicotinamide and pyridine compounds, participating in xenobiotic and drug metabolism. Data on literature have evidenced a possible role of NNMT in many solid cancers, but no data are currently available in cutaneous melanoma. Recent important advances have been achieved in the treatment of advanced melanoma with targeted therapy and immunotherapy. However, the identification of biomarkers that can be used for the detection of early stage disease as well as for monitoring the therapeutic response during treatment is of utmost importance. The aim of this study was to study the possible role of NNMT in melanoma. In the present study, we carried out immunohistochemical analyses to evaluate the expression of the enzyme NNMT in 34 melanomas and 34 nevi. Moreover, we explored the relationship between NNMT levels and the prognostic parameters of patients with melanoma. The results obtained showed significantly (P<0.0001) higher NNMT expression in melanoma compared with that detected in nevi. In addition, a significant (P<0.05) inverse relationship was found between enzyme levels and Breslow thickness, Clark level, the presence/number of mitoses, and ulceration. Taken together, these data seem to suggest that NNMT could represent a molecular biomarker for melanoma, thus highlighting its potential for both diagnosis and prognosis of this neoplasm.

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