Genomic and Clinicopathologic Characteristics of PRKAR1A-inactivated Melanomas: Toward Genetic Distinctions of Animal-type Melanoma/Pigment Synthesizing Melanoma

May 21, 2020 | Histopathology

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Melanocytic tumors with inactivation of protein kinase A regulatory subunit-α (PRKAR1A) have large oval nuclei and intense pigmentation. Historically, these tumors have been categorized under various names, including epithelioid blue nevus, pigmented epithelioid melanocytoma (PEM) and animal-type melanoma. Although a subset of PEM harbor BRAF activating mutations and biallelic inactivation of PRKAR1A, there are only a few reports of melanomas, or of tumors with genomic alterations beyond those of PEMs. Herein, we describe the clinicopathologic and genetic features of 8 melanomas and tumors that lack PRKAR1α expression by immunohistochemistry but do not fit with conventional PRKAR1A-inactivated melanocytomas. These tumors tended to affect younger patients than conventional melanomas (median age=38 y) and presented as dark brown/black papules and nodules. Histopathologically, they demonstrated nodularity, sometimes in a background of conventional melanoma, and large vesicular nuclei with prominent nucleoli. With the exception of 1 case, the mitotic index was not significantly elevated. Immunohistochemically, all cases showed loss of PRKAR1α and of p16 expression. Seven tumors underwent massively parallel short read (next-generation) sequencing of a panel of 480 cancer-associated genes. Five tumors demonstrated truncating mutations of PRKAR1A and the 2 in which such mutations were not identified demonstrated loss of heterozygosity of the PRKAR1A locus. Four of the tumors harbored BRAF V600E mutations, and 1 harbored... Want to read more? View the complete article in The American Journal of Surgical Pathology Blog.

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