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Summary

Background

Gastrin-releasing peptide (GRP) is a neuroendocrine peptide shown to possess growth-stimulatory effects in many types of human cancers. High levels of GRP receptors have been found in various types of human cancers, and preclinical studies exploring the therapeutic use of GRP receptor (GRPR) antagonists have been reported, with promising results. Data on GRPR expression in human malignant melanoma (MM) are scanty.

Aim

To determine GRPR expression in biopsy material obtained from patients diagnosed with cutaneous MM.

Methods

Immunohistochemistry was performed on formalin–fixed, paraffin wax-embedded tissue samples obtained from 51 patients with cutaneous MM. The relationship between GRPR expression and the clinicopathological features was analysed using the Fisher exact test.

Results

GRPR immunoexpression was found in 42/51 cutaneous melanoma samples (82.4%). It was strongly expressed in 30 cases (58.9%). There was no significant difference in the levels of GRPR expression between primary or metastatic lesions. We correlated the GRPR expression score with pathological features associated with prognosis in cutaneous MM. There was no significant difference in GRPR expression in relation to Clark level (CL;= 0.35) or Breslow Index (BI;= 0.17).

Conclusions

GRPR expression levels were high in tissue specimens of MM (82.4%), but did not correlate with pathological features related to prognosis, such as CL or BI. Further studies, preferably in a larger patient population, are warranted.