Melanocytic tumors originating in the central nervous system (MT-CNS) are rare tumors that generally have a favorable prognosis, however malignant tumors do occur. Pathogenetically MT-CNS are not well characterized. Similar to uveal melanoma and blue nevi, they frequently harbor activating GNAQ or GNA11 mutations. Rare NRAS mutations have also been reported. Other mutations have not yet been described. We analyzed 19 MT-CNS, 7 uveal melanomas and 19 cutaneous melanomas using a targeted next generation sequencing approach analyzing 29 genes known to be frequently mutated in other melanocytic tumors (in particular uveal and cutaneous melanomas). In concordance with previous studies, cutaneous melanoma samples showed frequent NRAS or BRAF mutations, as well as mutations in other genes (e.g. NF1, RAC1, PIK3CA, ARID1A). Metastasized uveal melanomas exhibited mutations in GNAQ, GNA11 and BAP1. In contrast, MT-CNS almost exclusively demonstrated mutations in GNAQ (71 %) or GNA11 (12 %). Interestingly both GNA11 mutations identified were detected in MT-CNS diagnosed as intermediate grade melanocytomas which also recurred. One of these recurrent cases also harbored an inactivating BAP1 mutation and was found to have lost one copy of chromosome 3. Our findings show that while MT-CNS do have GNAQ or GNA11 mutations, they rarely harbor other recurrent mutations found in uveal or cutaneous melanomas. Considering chromosome 3 and BAP1 loss are robust markers of poor prognosis in uveal melanoma, it will prove interesting to determine whether these genomic alterations are also of prognostic significance in MT-CNS.
Type of Publication:
Journal article published