Background: Though acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) is a major type of malignant melanoma, no immunohistochemical study on this type of melanoma has been reported. Objective: The purpose of this study is to analysis the immunohistochemical findings of ALM using routinely used immune markers. Methods: An immunohistochemical study was performed on paraffin sections of 20 ALMs using S-100 protein, HMB-45, MART-1, vimentin, epithelial membrane antigen (EMA) and CAM 5.2. Results: S-100 protein (95%) was found to be a more sensitive marker than either HMB-45 (80%) or MART-1 (70%) for recognizing ALM. Melanin bleaching was useful for recognizing heavily pigmented ALM using both S-100 protein and HMB-45. The intensity of HMB-45 correlated well with the melanin content. However, there was no significant correlation between the intensity of S-100 protein and the melanin content. One and two out of 20 cases stained focally with EMA and CAM5.2, respectively, but these cases stained also with HMB-45 and/or S-100 protein. Conclusions: S-100 protein and HMB-45 were relatively sensitive markers for recognizing ALM. Despite the occasional positivity for the epithelial markers in ALM, all epithelial marker-positive cases stained also with HMB-45 and/or S-100 protein. Therefore, we recommend that the panel of antibodies used for recognizing ALM should contain at least S-100 protein and HMB-45.
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