Conservation of genetic alterations in recurrent melanoma supports the melanoma stem cell hypothesis

Marianna Sabatino, Yingdong Zhao, Sonia Voiculescu, Alessandro Monaco, Paul Robbins, Laszlo Karai, Brian J. Nickoloff, Michele Maio, Silvia Selleri, Francesco M. Marincola, Ena Wang

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34 Citations (Scopus)


It is generally accepted that human cancers derive from a mutated single cell. However, the genetic steps characterizing various stages of progression remain unclear. Studying a unique case of metastatic melanoma, we observed that cell lines derived from metachronous metastases arising over a decade retained a central core of genetic stability in spite of divergent phenotypes. In the present study, we expanded our previous observations comparing these autologous cell lines of clonal derivation with allogeneic ones and correlated array comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) with gene expression profiling to determine their relative contribution to the dynamics of disease progression. aCGH and gene expression profiling were performed on autologous cell lines and allogeneic melanoma cell lines originating from other patients. A striking correlation existed between total extent of genetic imbalances, global transcriptional patterns, and cellular phenotypes. They did not follow a strict temporal progression but stemmed independently at various time points from a central core of genetic stability best explained according to the cancer stem cell hypothesis. Although their contribution was intertwined, genomic imbalances detectable by aCGH contributed only 25% of the transcriptional traits determining autologous tumor distinctiveness. Our study provides important insights about the dynamics of cancer progression and supports the development of targeted anticancer therapies aimed against stable genetic factors that are maintained throughout the end stage of disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-131
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2008


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Cite this

Sabatino, M., Zhao, Y., Voiculescu, S., Monaco, A., Robbins, P., Karai, L., Nickoloff, B. J., Maio, M., Selleri, S., Marincola, F. M., & Wang, E. (2008). Conservation of genetic alterations in recurrent melanoma supports the melanoma stem cell hypothesis. Cancer Research, 68(1), 122-131.