Aims: Conjunctival and cutaneous melanoma partially share similar clinical and molecular backgrounds. As 5-hydroxymethylcytosine (5-hmC) loss has been demonstrated in cutaneous melanoma, we decided to assess if similar changes were occurring in conjunctival melanoma. Methods: 5-methylcytosine (5-mC), 5-hmC and TET2 were respectively identified by immunohistochemistry and RNA ISH in 40 conjunctival nevi and 37 conjunctival melanomas. Clinicopathological correlations were established. Results: 5-mC, TET2 and 5-hmC were respectively identified in 67.5%, 95% and 100% of conjunctival nevi and in 81.1%, 35.1% and 54% of conjunctival melanomas. A significant 5-hmC and TET2 loss was identified in conjunctival melanoma comparing to nevus, as well as a significant correlation between TET2 and 5-hmC expression. In the melanomas, 5-hmC expression was only significantly associated with local lymphatic invasion, but not with other clinicopathological parameters. There was a correlation between TET2 expression and the localization of the tumors. 5-mC expression was not associated with any clinicopathological parameters. Conclusions: We identified a significant 5-hmC loss in conjunctival melanoma similar to cutaneous melanoma. This loss may possibly be attributed to TET2 loss or IDH1 mutations. 5-hmC loss in conjunctival melanoma may help in the differential diagnosis between atypical conjunctival nevus and conjunctival melanoma.
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