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Aggressive uveal melanoma displays a high degree of centrosome amplification, opening the door to therapeutic intervention

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  • Dorota Sabat‐Pośpiech
  • Kim Fabian‐Kolpanowicz
  • Helen Kalirai
  • Natalie Kipling
  • Sarah E Coupland
  • Judy M Coulson
  • Andrew B Fielding
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>31/07/2022
<mark>Journal</mark>The Journal of Pathology: Clinical Research
Issue number4
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)383-394
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date26/04/22
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Abstract: Uveal melanoma (UM) is the most common intraocular cancer in adults. Whilst treatment of primary UM (PUM) is often successful, around 50% of patients develop metastatic disease with poor outcomes, linked to chromosome 3 loss (monosomy 3, M3). Advances in understanding UM cell biology may indicate new therapeutic options. We report that UM exhibits centrosome abnormalities, which in other cancers are associated with increased invasiveness and worse prognosis, but also represent a potential Achilles' heel for cancer‐specific therapeutics. Analysis of 75 PUM patient samples revealed both higher centrosome numbers and an increase in centrosomes with enlarged pericentriolar matrix (PCM) compared to surrounding normal tissue, both indicative of centrosome amplification. The PCM phenotype was significantly associated with M3 (t‐test, p <0.01). Centrosomes naturally enlarge as cells approach mitosis; however, whilst UM with higher mitotic scores had enlarged PCM regardless of genetic status, the PCM phenotype remained significantly associated with M3 in UM with low mitotic scores (ANOVA, p = 0.021) suggesting that this is independent of proliferation. Phenotypic analysis of patient‐derived cultures and established UM lines revealed comparable levels of centrosome amplification in PUM cells to archetypal triple‐negative breast cancer cell lines, whilst metastatic UM (MUM) cell lines had even higher levels. Importantly, many UM cells also exhibit centrosome clustering, a common strategy employed by other cancer cells with centrosome amplification to survive cell division. As UM samples with M3 display centrosome abnormalities indicative of amplification, this phenotype may contribute to the development of MUM, suggesting that centrosome de‐clustering drugs may provide a novel therapeutic approach.