Research Papers:

A diagnostic autoantibody signature for primary cutaneous melanoma

Pauline Zaenker _, Johnny Lo, Robert Pearce, Phillip Cantwell, Lester Cowell, Mark Lee, Christopher Quirk, Henry Law, Elin Gray and Mel Ziman

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Oncotarget. 2018; 9:30539-30551. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.25669

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Pauline Zaenker1, Johnny Lo2, Robert Pearce3, Phillip Cantwell3, Lester Cowell4, Mark Lee5, Christopher Quirk6, Henry Law7, Elin Gray1 and Mel Ziman1,8

1School of Medical and Health Sciences, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Perth, WA, Australia

2School of Science, Edith Cowan University, Joondalup, Perth, WA, Australia

3Hollywood Specialist Centre, Hollywood Private Hospital, Nedlands, Perth, WA, Australia

4Level 1 Melanoma, Fremantle, Perth, WA, Australia

5St John of God Hospital, Subiaco, Perth, WA, Australia

6Dermatology Specialist Group, Ardross, Perth, WA, Australia

7Skin Check WA, Inglewood, Perth, WA, Australia

8Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, The University of Western Australia, Crawley, Perth, WA, Australia

Correspondence to:

Pauline Zaenker, email: [email protected]; [email protected]

Keywords: melanoma; diagnosis; autoantibody; microarray; biomarker

Received: November 15, 2017     Accepted: June 04, 2018     Published: July 17, 2018


Melanoma is an aggressive form of skin cancer that is curable by surgical excision in the majority of cases, if detected at an early stage. To improve early stage melanoma detection, the development of a highly sensitive diagnostic test is of utmost importance. Here we aimed to identify antibodies to a panel of tumour associated antigens that can differentiate primary melanoma patients and healthy individuals. A total of 245 sera from primary melanoma patients and healthy volunteers were screened against a high-throughput microarray platform containing 1627 functional proteins. Following rigorous statistical analysis, we identified a combination of 10 autoantibody biomarkers that, as a panel, displays a sensitivity of 79%, specificity of 84% and an AUC of 0.828 for primary melanoma detection. This melanoma autoantibody signature may prove valuable for the development of a diagnostic blood test for routine population screening that, when used in conjunction with current melanoma diagnostic techniques, could improve the early diagnosis of this malignancy and ultimately decrease the mortality rate of patients.

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