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Immunohistochemical Double Stains Against Ki67/MART1 and HMB45/MITF: Promising Diagnostic Tools in Melanocytic Lesions

Nielsen, Patricia Switten MSc*†; Riber-Hansen, Rikke MD, PhD*; Steiniche, Torben Dr MedSc*†

The American Journal of Dermatopathology: June 2011 - Volume 33 - Issue 4 - p 361-370
doi: 10.1097/DAD.0b013e3182120173
Original Study

Distinction between benign and malignant melanocytic lesions may be difficult by today's methods, even for highly skilled dermatopathologists, emphasizing the need for improved diagnostic tools. We have studied the discriminative abilities of immunohistochemical (IHC) double stains using the IHC markers Ki67 combined with MART1, and HMB45 combined with MITF. Paraffin-embedded tissue sections from 50 melanomas and 78 benign nevi were stained using a simple simultaneous IHC double staining technique. Both simple semiquantitative estimates of the immunopositivity in the deepest third of the lesions and full-scale quantitative measurements of the Ki67 and HMB45 indices were performed, and scores for melanomas and nevi were compared. The differences between melanomas and nevi were significant (P < 0.0001) using either analysis or stain. The misclassification rates for melanomas and nevi were generally lower for Ki67/MART1 stains than for HMB45/MITF stains. In the simple semiquantitative Ki67/MART1 analysis, the misclassification rates were 6% (2%-17%) for melanomas and 12% (6%-21%) for nevi. In full-scale quantitative analysis the corresponding rates were 4% (1%-14%) and 8% (4%-16%), and by combining Ki67 and HMB45 indices, the misclassification rates were 0% (0%-7%) for melanomas and 13% (7%-22%) for nevi. We conclude that both semiscale and fullscale quantitative analyses of Ki67/MART1 stains are valuable diagnostic tools to distinguish melanomas and nevi with a large degree of certainty. The HMB45/MITF stains may serve as adjuncts to predict malignancy and the diagnostic potential of combining the HMB45 and Ki67 indices are promising. The IHC double stains may potentially reduce misinterpretations of melanomas in histopathology.

From the *Department of Pathology, Aarhus University Hospital, 8000 Aarhus, Denmark; and †Department of Pathology, Vejle Hospital, Vejle, Denmark.

The authors have no funding or conflicts of interest to disclose.

Reprints: Patricia Switten Nielsen, MSc, Department of Pathology, Noerrebrogade 44, Bygning 18, 8000 Aarhus C, Denmark (e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.