The tetraspanin CD9 is considered a metastasis suppressor in many cancers, however its role is highly debated. Currently, little is known about CD9 prognostic value in cutaneous melanoma. Our aim was to analyse CD9 expression in melanocytic nevi and primary cutaneous melanomas through immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence approaches to determine its correlation with invasiveness and metastatic potential. CD9 displayed homogeneous staining in all melanocytic nevi. In contrast, it showed a complete loss of reactivity in all thin melanomas. Interestingly, CD9 was re-expressed in 46% of intermediate and thick melanomas in small tumor clusters predominantly located at sites of invasion near or inside the blood or lymphatic vessels. The most notable finding is that all CD9 stained melanomas presented sentinel node positivity. Additionally, a direct association between CD9 expression and presence of distant metastasis was reported. Finally, we confirm that CD9 expression is consistent with an early protective role against tumorigenesis, however, our data endorse in melanoma a specific function of CD9 in vascular dissemination during late tumor progression. The presence of CD9 hotspots could be essential for melanoma cell invasion in lymphatic and endothelial vessels. CD9 could be a valid prognostic factor for lymph node metastasis risk.
Tetraspanin CD9 Expression Predicts Sentinel Node Status in Patients with Cutaneous Melanoma / Lucarini, G.; Molinelli, E.; Licini, C.; Rizzetto, G.; Radi, G.; Goteri, G.; Mattioli-Belmonte, M.; Offidani, A.; Simonetti, O.. - In: INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF MOLECULAR SCIENCES. - ISSN 1661-6596. - STAMPA. - 23:9(2022), p. 4775. [10.3390/ijms23094775]