Immunohistochemical expression of keratins 6, 7, 8, 14, 16, 18, 19, and MNF-116 pancytokeratin in primary and metastatic melanoma of the head and neck

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To investigate the immunohistochemical expression (IHCE) of selected keratins in primary cutaneous and mucosal melanoma (pM), and metastatic melanoma (metsM) of the head and neck and to compare their expression to a group of undifferentiated/poorly differentiated tumors of the same anatomic region.

Study Design.

IHCE of K6, K7, K8, K14, K16, K18, and K19 were studied in 29 melanomas and 70 cases of non-melanoma tumors of the same anatomic region (neuroendocrine carcinoma, neuroblastoma, olfactory neuroblastoma, sinonasal undifferentiated carcinoma, undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma, anaplastic large cell lymphoma, poorly differentiated squamous cell carcinoma (PDSCC), and Ewing sarcoma). MNF-116 pancytokeratin was investigated in melanoma.


All studied keratins, except K6, were expressed in melanoma. IHCE of MNF-116, K8, and K18 was higher in metsM compared with pM. K14 and K16 expression was highest in PDSCC.


metsM expresses keratins more than pM, specifically K8, K18, and MNF-116. Keratin positivity in an undifferentiated or poorly differentiated neoplasm does not necessarily exclude the diagnosis of melanoma.

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