Genomic and Transcriptomic Analyses of NF1-Mutant Melanoma Identify Potential Targeted Approach for Treatment

George Jour, Irineu Illa-Bochaca, Milad Ibrahim, Douglas Donnelly, Kelsey Zhu, Eleazar Vega Saenz de Miera, Varshini Vasudevaraja, Valeria Mezzano, Sitharam Ramswami, Yu Hsin Yeh, Carolyn Winskill, Rebecca A. Betensky, Janice Mehnert, Iman Osman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


There is currently no targeted therapy to treat NF1-mutant melanomas. In this study, we compared the genomic and transcriptomic signatures of NF1-mutant and NF1 wild-type melanoma to reveal potential treatment targets for this subset of patients. Genomic alterations were verified using qPCR, and differentially expressed genes were independently validated using The Cancer Genome Atlas data and immunohistochemistry. Digital spatial profiling with multiplex immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence were used to validate the signatures. The efficacy of combinational regimens driven by these signatures was tested through in vitro assays using low-passage cell lines. Pathogenic NF1 mutations were identified in 27% of cases. NF1-mutant melanoma expressed higher proliferative markers MK167 and CDC20 than NF1 wild-type (P = 0.008), which was independently validated both in The Cancer Genome Atlas dataset (P = 0.01, P = 0.03) and with immunohistochemistry (P = 0.013, P = 0.036), respectively. Digital spatial profiling analysis showed upregulation of LY6E within the tumor cells (false discovery rate < 0.01, log2 fold change > 1), confirmed with multiplex immunofluorescence showing colocalization of LY6E in melanoma cells. The combination of MAPK/extracellular signal‒regulated kinase kinase and CDC20 coinhibition induced both cytotoxic and cytostatic effects, decreasing CDC20 expression in multiple NF1-mutant cell lines. In conclusion, NF1-mutant melanoma is associated with a distinct genomic and transcriptomic profile. Our data support investigating CDC20 inhibition with MAPK pathway inhibitors as a targeted regimen in this melanoma subtype.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)444-455.e8
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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