Prognostic relevance of hypoxia inducible factor-1α expression in patients with melanoma


  • Conflict of interest: none declared.

Dr Julia Valencak, Division of General Dermatology, Department of Dermatology, Medical University of Vienna, Währinger Gürtel 18-20, 1090 Vienna, Austria


Overexpression of hypoxia inducible factor (HIF)-1α has been found in several human cancers and is thought to correlate with aggressive disease and poor response. A retrospective analysis was carried out on 89 patients with primary cutaneous melanoma. HIF-1α expression was assessed by immunohistochemistry in formalin-fixed, paraffin wax-embedded tumour sections. Overall survival (OS) and disease-free survival (DFS) were determined using univariate and multivariate analyses. Of the 89 patients, 78 (87.6%) expressed HIF-1α, and the remaining 11 patients (12.4%) did not. HIF-1α expression correlated with age (= 0.002), but not with the main predictive factors in melanoma. Survival analysis disclosed no difference between the groups for OS and DFS. In multivariate analysis, only Breslow Index and ulceration were significantly associated with poor OS. Our results indicate that HIF-1α overexpression is present in most primary melanomas, but is not associated with clinicopathological variables, patient prognosis or survival.