Why and how immunohistochemistry should now be used to screen for the BRAFV600E status in metastatic melanoma? The experience of a single institution (LCEP, Nice, France)

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Knowledge of the BRAFV600E status is mandatory in metastatic melanoma patients (MMP). Molecular biology is currently the gold standard method for status assessment. OBJECTIVES: We assessed and compared the specificity, sensibility, cost-effectiveness and turnaround time (TAT) of immunohistochemistry (IHC) and molecular biology for detection of the BRAFV600E mutation in 188 MMP. METHODS: IHC, with the VE1 antibody, and pyrosequencing analysis were performed with formalin fixed paraffin embedded tumour samples. RESULTS: The BRAFV600E mutation was detected by pyrosequencing in 91/188 (48%) patients. IHC was strongly positive (3+) in all of these 91 cases. IHC was strongly positive in 9/188 (5%) cases in which the molecular testing failed due to non-amplifiable DNA. Weak or moderate staining was noted in 10/188 (5%) cases in which the molecular biology identified BRAF wild-type tumours. The ratio of the global cost for IHC/molecular biology testing was 1 : 2.2. The average TAT was 48 h vs. 96 h, for IHC vs. molecular biology testing, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: This study showed that VE1 IHC should be a substitute for molecular biology in the initial assessment of the BRAFV600E status in MPP. This methodology needs to be set up in pathology laboratories in accordance with quality control/quality assurance accreditation procedures. Under these strict conditions the question is to know if BRAFV600E-IHC can serve not only as a prescreening tool, but also as a stand-alone test (at least in cases displaying an unequivocally staining pattern) as well as an alternative predictive test for samples for which the molecular biology failed.
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E. Long, M. Ilie, S. Lassalle, C. Butori, G. Poissonnet, et al.. Why and how immunohistochemistry should now be used to screen for the BRAFV600E status in metastatic melanoma? The experience of a single institution (LCEP, Nice, France). Journal of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, Wiley, 2015, 29 (12), pp.2436-2443. ⟨10.1111/jdv.13332⟩. ⟨inserm-02299565⟩

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