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BACKGROUND: Skin melanocytes can give rise to benign and malignant neoplasms. Discrimination of an early melanoma from an unusual/atypical benign nevus can represent a significant challenge. However, previous studies have shown that in contrast to benign nevi, melanoma demonstrates pervasive chromosomal aberrations. OBJECTIVE: This substantial difference between melanoma and benign nevi can be exploited to discriminate between melanoma and benign nevi. METHODS: Array-comparative genomic hybridization (aCGH) is an approach that can be used on DNA extracted from formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues to assess the entire genome for the presence of changes in DNA copy number. In this study, high resolution, genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) arrays were utilized to perform comprehensive and detailed analyses of recurrent copy number aberrations in 41 melanoma samples in comparison with 21 benign nevi. RESULTS: We found statistically significant copy number gains and losses within melanoma samples. Some of the identified aberrations are previously implicated in melanoma. Moreover, novel regions of copy number alterations were identified, revealing new candidate genes potentially involved in melanoma pathogenesis. CONCLUSIONS: Taken together, these findings can help improve melanoma diagnosis and introduce novel melanoma therapeutic targets.


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