Molecular Genomic Profiling of Melanocytic Nevi Academic Article uri icon


  • The benign melanocytic nevus is the most common tumor in humans and rarely transforms into cutaneous melanoma. Elucidation of the nevus genome is required to better understand the molecular steps of progression to melanoma. We performed whole genome sequencing on a series of 14 benign melanocytic nevi consisting of both congenital and acquired types. All nevi had driver mutations in the MAPK signaling pathway, either BRAF V600E or NRAS Q61R/L. No additional definite driver mutations were identified. Somatic mutations in nevi with higher mutation loads showed a predominance of mutational signatures 7a and 7b, consistent with UVR exposure, whereas nevi with lower mutation loads (including all three congenital nevi) had a predominance of the ubiquitous signatures 1 and 5. Two nevi had mutations in promoter regions predicted to bind E26 transformation-specific family transcription factors, as well as subclonal mutations in the TERT promoter. This paper presents whole genome data from melanocytic nevi. We confirm that UVR is involved in the etiology of a subset of nevi. This study also establishes that TERT promoter mutations are present in morphologically benign skin nevi in subclonal populations, which has implications regarding the interpretation of this emerging biomarker in sensitive assays.


  • Colebatch, AJ
  • Ferguson, P
  • Newell, F
  • Kazakoff, SH
  • Witkowski, Tom
  • Dobrovic, Alexander
  • Johansson, PA
  • Saw, RPM
  • Stretch, JR
  • McArthur, GA
  • Long, GV
  • Thompson, JF
  • Pearson, JV
  • Mann, GJ
  • Hayward, NK
  • Waddell, N
  • Scolyer, RA
  • Wilmott, JS

publication date

  • 2019

has subject area