Comparison of five antibodies as markers in the diagnosis of melanoma in cytologic preparations

Matthew V. Sheffield, Herman Yee, Christine C. Dorvault, Katherine N. Weilbaecher, Isam A. Eltoum, Gene P. Siegal, David E. Fisher, David C. Chhieng

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91 Scopus citations


We determined the sensitivity and specificity of 3 novel antibodies (microphthalmia transcription factor [Mitf], Melan-A, and tyrosinase) as markers for melanoma in cytologic preparations and compared the results with those of commonly used markers (S-100 protein [S-100] and HMB-45). We stained 72 cell blocks from 40 patients with melanoma and 32 with nonmelanocytic malignant neoplasms with antibodies against S-100, HMB-45, Mitf, Melan-A, and tyrosinase. Histologic correlation was available in more than 95% of cases. Nuclear staining for Mitf and cytoplasmic staining for S-100, HMB-45, Melan-A, and tyrosinase in more than 10% of tumor cells was considered positive. All 3 novel markers demonstrated sensitivity superior to S-100 and HMB-45. HMB-45, Melan-A, and Mitf demonstrated specificities of 97%. S-100 protein and tyrosinase were less specific. Sensitivity and specificity for the combination Mitf+/Melan-A+ were 95% and 100%, respectively, whereas they were 80% and 100%, respectively, for S-100+/HMB-45+. Mitf, Melan-A, and tyrosinase are sensitive markers for epithelioid melanoma. Milf and Melan-A seem more specific than S-100 and tyrosinase. An antibody panel consisting of Mitf and Melan-A is superior to a panel of S-100 and HMB-45 in the diagnosis of melanoma in cytologic specimens.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)930-936
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican journal of clinical pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002


  • Cytology
  • HMB-45
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • Melan-A
  • Melanoma
  • Microphthalmia transcription factor
  • S-100
  • Tyrosinase


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