Focus of Research: Melanoma
Earlier identification of aggressive melanoma remains a goal in the field of melanoma research. With new targeted and immune therapies that have revolutionized the care of patients with melanoma, the ability to predict progression and monitor or predict response to therapy has become the new focus of research into biomarkers in melanoma. In this review, promising biomarkers are highlighted. These biomarkers have been used to diagnose melanoma as well as predict progression to advanced disease and response to therapy. The biomarkers take various forms, including protein expression at the level of tissue, genetic mutations of cancer cells, and detection of circulating DNA. First, a brief description is provided about the conventional tissue markers used to stage melanoma, including tumor depth. Next, protein biomarkers, which provide both diagnostic and prognostic information, are described. This is followed by a discussion of important genetic mutations, microRNA, and epigenetic modifications that can provide therapeutic and prognostic material. Finally, emerging serologic biomarkers are reviewed, including circulating melanoma cells and exosomes. Overall the goal is to identify biomarkers that aid in the earlier identification and improved treatment of aggressive melanoma.
Molecular Diagnosis & Therapy. 2018 Apr;22(2):203-218. PMID: 29411301