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Adhesion molecules are substances which are involved in the interactions between cells, and between cells and the extracellular matrix in both benign and malignant tissues. Two members of this group--intercellular adhesion molecule-1 (ICAM-1) and MUC18--have previously been found to be expressed on melanoma; however, studies seeking a correlation between expression and metastatic behaviour have yielded conflicting results. In this study we investigated the expression of these two antigens and that of a number of other adhesion molecules [VCAM-1, ELAM, and the neural cell adhesion molecule (NCAM)] on a range of benign and malignant melanocytic lesions. Both ICAM-1 and MUC18 were found on a high percentage of all melanocytic lesions including benign naevi. VCAM-1 was found to be expressed on 79 per cent of benign naevi, 62 per cent of primary melanomas less than 1.5 mm in depth, and 6 per cent of thick primaries. The antigen was present on 14 per cent of lymph node metastases and on no extranodal deposits. This suggests that loss of melanoma cell adhesion mediated by VCAM-1 may be important in the development of metastatic melanoma.

Original publication




Journal article


J Pathol

Publication Date





187 - 191


Antigens, CD, Biomarkers, Tumor, CD146 Antigen, Cell Adhesion Molecules, Cell Adhesion Molecules, Neuronal, Humans, Immunohistochemistry, Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1, Leukocyte L1 Antigen Complex, Melanoma, Membrane Glycoproteins, Neoplasm Metastasis, Neural Cell Adhesion Molecules, Nevus, Vascular Cell Adhesion Molecule-1