The cancer/testis antigens (CTA) are a group of antigens expressed on germ cells of healthy testis and malignant tumors. We studied whether CTA are present on lentigo maligna (LM) and LM melanoma (LMM) samples. Immunohistochemical expression of a panel of CTA (MAGE-A1, A2- A3, NY-ESO-1, PRAME, SSX-2, and a MAGE-A antibody reactive with -A1, -A2, -A3, -A4, -A6, -A10, and -A12) was investigated in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples from LMM (n = 20), LM (n = 8), chronically sun-exposed skin (n = 7), and healthy skin (n = 7). In 4 LMM lesions, the MAGE-A marker was positive. Another 3 LMM lesions were positive for MAGE-A1, MAGE-A2, and MAGE-A3. PRAME was positive in 18/20 LMM and 6/8 LM. We did not find expression of MAGE, NY-ESO-1, or SSX-2 in LM, thereby excluding these CTA as diagnostic markers to discern malignant melanocytes in LM from normal melanocytes. LMM did express MAGE, NY-ESO-1, and SSX-2. If a biopsy from a lesion suspect for LM shows positivity for MAGE, NY-ESO-1, and SSX-2, the lesion may actually be LMM. In contrast, PRAME expression was found in LM at low levels and in LMM at much higher levels, and absent in normal melanocytes. PRAME can potentially be used to discern normal melanocytes from malignant melanocytes.
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