Tumour mutation status and sites of metastasis in patients with cutaneous melanoma

Nikki R. Adler, Rory Wolfe, John W. Kelly, Andrew Haydon, Grant A. McArthur, Catriona A. McLean, Victoria J. Mar

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Background:Cutaneous melanoma can metastasise haematogenously and/or lymphogenously to form satellite/in-transit, lymph node or distant metastasis. This study aimed to determine if BRAF and NRAS mutant and wild-type tumours differ in their site of first tumour metastasis and anatomical metastatic pathway.Methods:Prospective cohort of patients with a histologically confirmed primary cutaneous melanoma at three tertiary referral centres in Melbourne, Australia from 2010 to 2015. Multinomial regression determined clinical, histological and mutational factors associated with the site of first metastasis and metastatic pathway.Results:Of 1048 patients, 306 (29%) developed metastasis over a median 4.7 year follow-up period. 73 (24%), 192 (63%) and 41 (13%) developed distant, regional lymph node and satellite/in-transit metastasis as the first site of metastasis, respectively. BRAF mutation was associated with lymph node metastasis (adjusted RRR 2.46 95% CI 1.07-5.69, P=0.04) and sentinel lymph node positivity (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] OR 1.55, 95% CI 1.14-2.10, P=0.005). BRAF mutation and NRAS mutation were associated with increased odds of developing liver metastasis (aOR 3.09, 95% CI 1.49-6.42, P=0.003; aOR 3.17, 95% CI 1.32-7.58, P=0.01) and central nervous system (CNS) metastasis (aOR 4.65, 95% CI 2.23-9.69, P<0.001; aOR 4.03, 95% CI 1.72-9.44, P=0.001). NRAS mutation was associated with lung metastasis (aOR 2.44, 95% CI 1.21-4.93, P=0.01).Conclusions:BRAF mutation was found to be associated with lymph node metastasis as first metastasis and sentinel lymph node positivity. BRAF and NRAS mutations were associated with CNS and liver metastasis and NRAS mutation with lung metastasis. If these findings are validated in additional prospective studies, a role for heightened visceral organ surveillance may be warranted in patients with tumours harbouring these somatic mutations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1026-1035
Number of pages10
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 26 Sept 2017


  • BRAF mutation
  • cutaneous melanoma
  • melanoma
  • metastasis
  • mutation status
  • sentinel lymph node biopsy

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