Patricia Rusa Pereira1, Alexandre Nakao Odashiro1, Jean Claude Marshall2, Zelia Maria Correa2, Rubens Belfort Jr3, Miguel N Burnier Jr2
1Department of Ophthalmology, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil; Henry C. Witelson Ocular Pathology Laboratory, Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University, Montreal – Canada,
2Henry C. Witelson Ocular Pathology Laboratory, Department of Ophthalmology, McGill University, Montreal – Canada,
3Department of Ophthalmology, Federal University of São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil,
Background: Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common primary intraocular tumor in adults, leading to metastasis in 40% of the cases and ultimately to death in 10 years, despite local and/or systemic treatment. The c-kit protein (CD117) is a membrane-bound tyrosine kinase receptor and its overexpression has been observed in several neoplasms. Imatinib mesylate is a FDA approved compound that inhibits tyrosine quinase receptors, as well as c-kit. Imatinib mesylate controls tumor growth in up to 85% of advanced gastrointestinal stromal tumors, a neoplasia resistant to conventional therapy.
Methods: Fifty-five specimens of primary UM selected from the archives of the Ocular Pathology Laboratory, McGill University, Montreal, Canada, were immunostained for c-kit. All cells displaying distinct immunoreactivity were considered positive. Four human UM cell lines and 1 human uveal transformed melanocyte cell line were tested for i n vitro proliferation Assays (TOX-6) and invasion assay with imatinib mesylate (concentration of 10 μM).
Results: The c-kit expression was positive in 78.2% of the UM. There was a statistical significant decrease in the proliferation and invasion rates of all 5 cell lines.
Conclusion: The majority of UM expressed c-kit, and imatinib mesylate does decrease the proliferation and invasion rates of human UM cell lines. These results justify the need for a clinical trial to investigate in vivo the response of UM to imatinib mesylate.