Cutaneous malignant melanomas (CMMs) are rare but are the cause of the highest skin cancer-related mortality in Korea. Very few studies have investigated the associations between KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, and PIK3CA mutations and TICs, as well as their prognostic impact on Korean CMMs. Peptide nucleic acid-mediated polymerase chain reaction clamping and Mutyper and immunohistochemistry were used to detect these mutations in 47 paraffinized CMMs. BRAF and NRAS mutations were detected in 21.3% and 12.8% of CMMs, respectively. No KRAS or PIK3CA mutations were identified. NRAS mutations correlated with low FOXP3 (regulatory T lymphocyte marker) and indoleamine 2,3-dioxygenase (IDO) (activated dendritic cell marker) TICs in CMMs, which is consistent with the negative correlation of regulatory T cells with NRAS mutations in TCGA data, while BRAF mutations were not associated with any TICs. In gene set enrichment analysis, BRAF and NRAS mutations were enriched in decreased CD8 (suppressor/cytotoxic T lymphocyte marker) T cell-linked and increased CD4 (helper/inducer T lymphocyte marker) T cell-linked gene signatures, respectively, confirming the trend in our cohort of associations only with NRAS. BRAF or NRAS mutations alone did not affect any prognosis. In the subgroup analyses, BRAF mutations, as well as high CD4, CD8, FOXP3, and IDO TICs, caused worse overall survival in NRAS-mutated melanoma. No correlation of CD163 (monocyte–macrophage-specific marker) was detected. We found that approximately one-third of our cohort had BRAF and NRAS mutations, none had KRAS or PIK3CA mutations, and most displayed decreased anti-tumor immunity. These findings may warrant further study on combined immunotherapeutic and molecular targeted therapy in Korean CMMs. Subgroup analyses according to TICs and BRAF/NRAS mutations may help to identify high-risk patients with worse prognoses.
- Malignant melanoma
- Tumor-infiltrating immune cell