Vascular-Associated Muc4/Vwf Co-Localization in Human Conjunctival Malignant Melanoma Specimens—Tumor Metastasis by Migration?

<p><i>Purpose</i>: To investigate whether vascular differentiation marker von Willebrand factor (vWf) and proliferation marker KI67 expression correlate with MUC4 localization around stromal tumor vascularization in human conjunctival malignant melanoma (CMM).</p> <p><i>Materials and methods</i>: For the purposes of this study, we analyzed samples from human CMMs (n = 4), conjunctival compound nevi (n = 7), and samples from healthy conjunctiva (n = 7) for MUC1, 4, and 16 by immunohistochemistry. To test CMM vessel association of MUC4, we investigated the co-localization of MUC4 with vWf or KI67 in human CMM specimens (n = 10) by immunohistochemistry. Also, we investigated the MUC4 localization around vessels of healthy conjunctiva (n = 10).</p> <p><i>Results</i>: The immunohistochemical analysis demonstrated membrane-associated mucin expression in epithelia of CMM, nevi and healthy conjunctiva, whereas only MUC4 was localized perivascular in CMM tissue in this preliminary analysis. Co-staining analysis with vWf and KI67 demonstrated MUC4 localization around stromal vessels in human CMM specimens. In contrast, no MUC4 localization has been seen around healthy conjunctiva stroma vessels.</p> <p><i>Conclusions</i>: MUC4 was detected around vWf/KI67-positive CMM stromal vascular tissue, but not around healthy conjunctival stroma vessels. Therefore, we assume that MUC4 might play a role in tumor cell migration toward vessels inducing metastasis.</p>