Moesin and CD44 expression in cutaneous melanocytic tumours


Taniguchi Molecular Oncology and Angiology, Angio-Ageing Research Division, Research Centre on Ageing and Adaptation, Shinshu University School of Medicine, Asahi 3-1-1, Matsumoto 390, Japan


The ERM (ezrin, radixin and moesin) family members, located just beneath the plasma membranes, are thought to be involved in the association of actin filaments with the plasma membrane. One of the family members, moesin, is reported to bind to CD44. Splice variants of CD44 are thought to be associated with tumour progression or differentiation. Our aim was to investigate immunohistochemically the expression of moesin together with CD44 on paraffin tissue sections of a series of melanocytic tumours. The material included 12 ordinary melanocytic naevi, six Spitz naevi, eight dysplastic naevi, six blue naevi, seven malignant melanomas in situ, 15 primary malignant melanomas, five metastatic melanomas to the skin and five lymph node metastases. In the normal skin and the melanocytic tumours the expression of moesin was largely similar to that of CD44 standard. Strong moesin staining was observed in benign melanocytic lesions and melanomas in situ. However, the expression was decreased in advanced malignant melanomas. The moesin labelling in melanoma cells was downregulated with the depth of dermal invasion. The immunoreactivity was also diminished in the skin metastases and the lymph node metastases of melanoma. These results suggest that in melanocytic tumours, the alternation in the expression of moesin may be involved in the progression of malignancy.