What is the role of immunohistochemistry in the diagnosis of head and neck mucosal melanomas?

Updated: May 07, 2020
  • Author: Neeraj N Mathur, MBBS, MS, DNB(ENT), MNAMS, FAMS; Chief Editor: Arlen D Meyers, MD, MBA  more...
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Only 50-70% of lesions in the oral cavity demonstrate melanin. Therefore, immunohistochemical analysis is often required to diagnose malignant melanoma. Melanomas react strongly with the alpha subunit of S-100, which is a calcium-binding protein found in neural tissues. However, this protein is present in a variety of normal and neoplastic cells. The frequency of S-100 immunoreactivity in mucosal melanoma varies from 86-100%.

A reactive antigen more specific to melanoma cells is HBM-45 (melanoma cytoplasmic antigen). [7] Melanoma also reacts with antivimentin and NK1/C-3 antibodies but not with antikeratin or antileukocytic antigen antibodies.

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