Melanoma, a cancer of the skin, arises from transformed melanocytes. Melanoma has the highest mutational burden of any cancer partially attributed to UV induced DNA damage. Localized melanoma is “curable” by surgical resection and is followed by radiation therapy to eliminate any remaining cancer cells. Targeted therapies against components of the MAPK signaling cascade and immunotherapies which block immune checkpoints have shown remarkable clinical responses, however with the onset of resistance in most patients, and, disease relapse, these patients eventually become refractory to treatments. Although great advances have been made in our understanding of the metastatic process in cancers including melanoma, therapy failure suggests that much remains to be learned and understood about the multi-step process of tumor metastasis. In this review we provide an overview of melanocytic transformation into malignant melanoma and key molecular events that occur during this evolution. A better understanding of the complex processes entailing cancer cell dissemination will improve the mechanistic driven design of therapies that target specific steps involved in cancer metastasis to improve clinical response rates and overall survival in all cancer patients.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Cancer Research
- melanoma progression
- melanoma therapies
- signaling pathways