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Santa Monica, CA, United States

Lessard L.,John Wayne Cancer Institutet | Liu M.,John Wayne Cancer Institutet | Marzese D.M.,John Wayne Cancer Institutet | Wang H.,Advanced Cell Diagnostics, Inc. | And 12 more authors.
Journal of Investigative Dermatology | Year: 2015

In recent years, considerable advances have been made in the characterization of protein-coding alterations involved in the pathogenesis of melanoma. However, despite their growing implication in cancer, little is known about the role of long noncoding RNAs in melanoma progression. We hypothesized that copy number alterations (CNAs) of intergenic nonprotein-coding domains could help identify long intergenic noncoding RNAs (lincRNAs) associated with metastatic cutaneous melanoma. Among several candidates, our approach uncovered the chromosome 6p22.3 CASC15 (cancer susceptibility candidate 15) lincRNA locus as a frequently gained genomic segment in metastatic melanoma tumors and cell lines. The locus was actively transcribed in metastatic melanoma cells, and upregulation of CASC15 expression was associated with metastatic progression to brain metastasis in a mouse xenograft model. In clinical specimens, CASC15 levels increased during melanoma progression and were independent predictors of disease recurrence in a cohort of 141 patients with AJCC (American Joint Committee on Cancer) stage III lymph node metastasis. Moreover, small interfering RNA (siRNA) knockdown experiments revealed that CASC15 regulates melanoma cell phenotype switching between proliferative and invasive states. Accordingly, CASC15 levels correlated with known gene signatures corresponding to melanoma proliferative and invasive phenotypes. These findings support a key role for CASC15 in metastatic melanoma.

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