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Expression of HSP 90, PTEN and Bcl-2 in conjunctival melanoma
  1. Henrike Westekemper1,
  2. Sara Karimi1,
  3. Daniela Süsskind2,
  4. Gerasimos Anastassiou1,
  5. Michael Freistühler1,
  6. Klaus-Peter Steuhl1,
  7. Norbert Bornfeld1,
  8. Kurt-Werner Schmid3,
  9. Florian Grabellus3
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
  2. 2Department of Ophthalmology, Eberhard-Karls University Tübingen, Tübingen, Germany
  3. 3Institute of Pathology and Neuropathology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Essen, Germany
  1. Correspondence to Dr Florian Grabellus, Institute of Pathology and Neuropathology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Hufelandstr. 55, D-45122 Essen, Germany; florian.grabellus{at}


Background In conjunctival melanoma, little is known about the tumour biology and protein-expression patterns. In this study, the authors analysed the expression of the antiapoptotic oncoprotein B cell leukaemia/lymphoma-2 protein (Bcl-2), the tumour-suppressor phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome ten (PTEN), and the heat-shock-protein HSP-90 in conjunctival melanoma (CoM) and conjunctival nevi (CoN) by immunohistochemistry (IHC).

Material and methods IHC was performed on 70 samples of CoM and 12 samples of CoN. Expression patterns between the diagnosis groups were compared. A receiver operating characteristic analysis was performed to determine the diagnostic value of the antigens.

Results HSP-90 (p<0.0001) and PTEN (p=0.001) showed the potential to differentiate between CoM and CoN. Bcl-2 expression was higher in CoM than in CoN (p=0.04). The loss of nuclear PTEN expression was more pronounced in the malignant melanomas than in CoN (p=0.02). Tumours located at unfavourable sites (fornix, palpebral conjunctiva, caruncle) that had developed recurrences expressed almost twice as much HSP-90 than recurrence-free tumours.

Conclusions Conjunctival melanocytes differentially express Bcl-2, HSP-90 and PTEN, depending on their entity. HSP-90- and PTEN expression may add relevant information for the differentiation between conjunctival melanoma and nevi.

  • HSP 90
  • PTEN
  • Bcl-2
  • immunohistochemistry
  • conjunctiva
  • melanocytes
  • melanoma
  • ocular surface
  • pathology
  • neoplasia

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  • Funding The Medical Faculty of the University Duisburg-Essen funded the study.

  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Ethics approval Ethics approval was provided by the Local Ethics Committee, Medical Faculty of the University of Duisburg-Essen. Germany.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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