Characterisation and outcome of RAC1 mutated melanoma

Georg C. Lodde, Philipp Jansen, Rudolf Herbst, Patrick Terheyden, Jochen Utikal, Claudia Pföhler, Jens Ulrich, Alexander Kreuter, Peter Mohr, Ralf Gutzmer, Friedegund Meier, Edgar Dippel, Michael Weichenthal, Antje Sucker, Jan Malte Placke, Anne Zaremba, Lea Jessica Albrecht, Bernd Kowall, Wolfgang Galetzka, Jürgen C. BeckerAlpaslan Tasdogan, Lisa Zimmer, Elisabeth Livingstone, Eva Hadaschik, Dirk Schadendorf, Selma Ugurel, Klaus Griewank*

*Corresponding author for this work
2 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Activating hot spot R29S mutations in RAC1, a small GTPase influencing several cellular processes including cell proliferation and cytoskeleton rearrangement, have been reported in up to 9% of sun-exposed melanomas. Clinical characteristics and treatment implications of RAC1 mutations in melanoma remain unclear. Methods: We investigated the largest set (n = 64) of RAC1 mutated melanoma patients reported to date, including a retrospective single institution cohort (n = 34) from the University Hospital Essen and a prospective multicentre cohort (n = 30) from the translational study Tissue Registry in Melanoma (TRIM; CA209-578), for patient and tumour characteristics as well as therapy outcomes. Results: From 3037 sequenced melanoma samples screened RAC1 mutations occurred in 2% of samples (64/3037). The most common RAC1 mutation was P29S (95%, 61/64). The majority of tumours had co-occuring MAP kinase mutations (88%, 56/64); mostly activating NRAS (47%, 30/64) mutations, followed by activating BRAF (28%, 18/64) and NF1 (25%, 16/64) mutations. RAC1 mutated melanomas were almost exclusively of cutaneous origin (84%, 54/64) or of unknown primary (MUP, 14%, 9/64). C > T alterations were the most frequent mutation type identified demonstrating a UV-signature for RAC1 mutated melanoma. Most patients with unresectable disease (39) received immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) (77%, 30/39). Objective response rate of first-line treatment in patients with stage III/IV disease was 21%; median overall survival was 47.8 months. Conclusions: RAC1 mutated melanomas are rare, mostly of cutaneous origin and frequently harbour concomitant MAP kinase mutations, particularly in NRAS. Patients with advanced disease benefit from systemic treatment with ICI.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Pages (from-to)1-10
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 04.2023

Research Areas and Centers

  • Research Area: Luebeck Integrated Oncology Network (LION)
  • Centers: University Cancer Center Schleswig-Holstein (UCCSH)

DFG Research Classification Scheme

  • 205-19 Dermatology
  • 205-14 Haematology, Oncology

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