ORIGINAL ARTICLE: PDF OnlyDetection of tyrosinase mRNA by RT-PCR in the peripheral blood of patients with advanced metastatic melanomaAlao, J. P.; Mohammed, M. Q.; Slade, M. J.; Retsas, S.Author Information Melanoma Unit (J. P. Alao, M. Q. Mohammed, S. Retsas) and Breast Group (M. J. Slade), Department of Medical Oncology, Charing Cross Hospital, Fulham Palace Road, W6 8RF, London, UK. Melanoma Research: August 1999 - Volume 9 - Issue 4 - p 395-400 Buy Abstract Detection of melanoma cells in the peripheral blood has been facilitated by the reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), but their presence is of uncertain importance in the evolution of the disease. We studied the detection of melanoma cells using RT-PCR in the peripheral blood of 21 patients, four with regional lymph node meta-stases (American Joint Committee on Cancer [AJCC] stage III) and 17 with disseminated disease (AJCC stage IV). RNA was extracted from 10 ml of heparinized blood following density gradient centrifugation and converted into cDNA for PCR analysis. Assay sensitivity of 10 cells in 107 mononuclear cells and granulocytes obtained from 10 ml of peripheral blood was achieved using the G361 and C32 melanoma cell lines. Tyrosinase mRNA was not detected in control samples from healthy volunteers or patients with non-malignant disease. Six patients (one stage III, five stage IV) tested positive for tyrosinase mRNA (28.6%); with one exception, all patients were receiving chemotherapy at the time of sampling. Of the six positive results, three were from patients who initially tested negative but were subsequently positive after a 3–4 week interval. The low detection rates of melanoma cells in the peripheral blood of patients with widely disseminated disease is consistent with recent reports and correlates poorly with the clinical stage of melanoma. This may be partly explained by the clinically observed intermittent and random evolution of melanoma metastases. © 1999 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.