Expression of Ki-67 and Estrogen Receptor Beta in Primary Cutaneous Melanoma as a Potential Indicator of Regional Lymph Node Positivity

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Abstract

In the early stages of cutaneous malignant melanoma (MM), it is extremely difficult to predict adequately the risk from hematogenic and lymphatic metastasis. We investigate whether the immunohistochemical expression of Ki-67 and estrogen receptor beta (ERβ) in cells of MM could predict the status of regional lymph nodes. A total of 55 tissue samples of primary cutaneous melanomas with known status of regional lymph nodes were retrospectively evaluated for Ki-67 and ERβ expression by quantitative immunohistochemistry and then correlated with the status of regional lymph nodes and relevant clinicopathologic parameters. The ERβ-positive expression was detected in 38 of 55 tumors (69.09%). The Clark level showed a strong correlation with ERβ expression, as well as pT stage. All cases of MM showed Ki-67-positive expression and an elevated Ki-67 expression was strongly associated with increased Breslow thickness, Clark level, ulceration, lymphovascular invasion, number of mitosis, and pT stage. Logistic regression analysis showed that when ERβ levels increase by 1%, the risk of positive lymph nodes decreases by 7% (odds ratio=0.930; 95% confidence interval, 0.87-0.99; P=0.036), and, when the Ki-67 expression increases by 1%, the risk of lymph nodes’ positivity increases by 10% (odds ratio=1.108; 95% confidence interval, 1.02-1.19; P=0.009). Correlation between expression of Ki-67 and ERβ and the status of lymph nodes has better prognostic significance than the relationship between melanoma thickness and the status of lymph nodes. Our study showed a significant prognostic value of Ki-67 expression in predicting the behavior of MM and the potential prognostic significance of ERβ.

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