High-throughput oncogene mutation profiling shows demographic differences in BRAF mutation rates among melanoma patients

Karin van den Hurk, Balazs Balint, Sinead Toomey, Patrick C. O'Leary, Louise Unwin, Kieran Sheahan, Enda W. McDermott, Ian Murphy, Joost J. van den Oord, Mairin Rafferty, Dara M. FitzGerald, Julie Moran, Robert Cummins, Owen MacEneaney, Elaine W. Kay, Cathal P. O'Brien, Stephen P. Finn, Cynthia C. B. B. Heffron, Michelle Murphy, Ruben YelaDerek G. Power, Padraic J. Regan, Clodagh M. McDermott, Allan O'Keeffe, Zsolt Orosz, Paul P. Donnellan, John P. Crown, Bryan T. Hennessy, William M. Gallagher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Because of advances in targeted therapies, the clinical evaluation of cutaneous melanoma is increasingly based on a combination of traditional histopathology and molecular pathology. Therefore, it is necessary to expand our knowledge of the molecular events that accompany the development and progression of melanoma to optimize clinical management. The central objective of this study was to increase our knowledge of the mutational events that complement melanoma progression. High-throughput genotyping was adapted to query 159 known single nucleotide mutations in 33 cancer-related genes across two melanoma cohorts from Ireland (n = 94) and Belgium (n = 60). Results were correlated with various clinicopathological characteristics. A total of 23 mutations in 12 genes were identified, that is - BRAF, NRAS, MET, PHLPP2, PIK3R1, IDH1, KIT, STK11, CTNNB1, JAK2, ALK, and GNAS. Unexpectedly, we discovered significant differences in BRAF, MET, and PIK3R1 mutations between the cohorts. That is, cases from Ireland showed significantly lower (P <0.001) BRAF(V600E) mutation rates (19%) compared with the mutation frequency observed in Belgian patients (43%). Moreover, MET mutations were detected in 12% of Irish cases, whereas none of the Belgian patients harbored these mutations, and Irish patients significantly more often (P = 0.027) had PIK3R1-mutant (33%) melanoma versus 17% of Belgian cases. The low incidence of BRAF(V600E)-mutant melanoma among Irish patients was confirmed in five independent Irish cohorts, and in total, only 165 of 689 (24%) Irish cases carried mutant BRAF(V600E). Together, our data show that melanoma-driving mutations vary by demographic area, which has important implications for the clinical management of this disease.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-199
JournalMelanoma Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • BRAF
  • genetics
  • genotyping
  • melanoma
  • MET
  • mutation profiling
  • PIK3R1


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