BRAF V600E Expression in Primary Melanoma and Its Association With Death

A Population-Based, Retrospective, Cross-Sectional Study

Jamison A. Harvey, MD; Julia S. Lehman, MD; Christine M. Lohse, MS; Alanna M. Chamberlain, PhD; Svetomir N. Markovic, MD, PhD; Celine M. Vachon, PhD; Jerry D. Brewer, MD, MS


Cutis. 2022;109(5):279-283. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


Approximately 50% of melanomas contain BRAF mutations; the effects on survival are unclear. We aimed to determine whether mutant BRAF expression in melanoma differs according to age, sex, and melanoma-specific survival. A total of 638 patients who resided in Olmsted County, Minnesota, with a first lifetime diagnosis of melanoma between 1970 and 2009 were identified from the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP). Available tissue was analyzed for a BRAF V600E mutation with immunohistochemistry.


Approximately 50% of melanomas contain BRAF mutations, which occur in a greater proportion of melanomas found on sites of intermittent sun exposure.[1]BRAF-mutated melanomas have been associated with high levels of early-life ambient UV exposure, especially between ages 0 and 20 years.[2] In addition, studies have shown that BRAF-mutated melanomas commonly are found on the trunk and extremities.[1–3]BRAF mutations also have been associated with younger age, superficial spreading subtype and low tumor thickness, absence of dermal melanocyte mitosis, low Ki-67 score, low phospho-histone H3 score, pigmented melanoma, advanced melanoma stage, and conjunctival melanoma.[4–7]BRAF mutations are found more frequently in metastatic melanoma lesions than primary melanomas, suggesting that BRAF mutations may be acquired during metastasis.[8] Studies have shown different conclusions on the effect of BRAF mutation on melanoma-related death.[5,9,10]

The aim of this study was to identify trends in BRAF V600E–mutated melanoma according to age, sex, and melanoma-specific survival among Olmsted County, Minnesota, residents with a first diagnosis of melanoma at 18 to 60 years of age.