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Med. Sci. 2017, 5(4), 28; doi:10.3390/medsci5040028

Melanoma: Genetic Abnormalities, Tumor Progression, Clonal Evolution and Tumor Initiating Cells

Department of Oncology, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 00161 Rome, Italy
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 16 September 2017 / Revised: 31 October 2017 / Accepted: 8 November 2017 / Published: 20 November 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Cancer and Cancer-Related Research)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [1904 KB, uploaded 22 November 2017]   |  

Abstract

Melanoma is an aggressive neoplasia issued from the malignant transformation of melanocytes, the pigment-generating cells of the skin. It is responsible for about 75% of deaths due to skin cancers. Melanoma is a phenotypically and molecularly heterogeneous disease: cutaneous, uveal, acral, and mucosal melanomas have different clinical courses, are associated with different mutational profiles, and possess distinct risk factors. The discovery of the molecular abnormalities underlying melanomas has led to the promising improvement of therapy, and further progress is expected in the near future. The study of melanoma precursor lesions has led to the suggestion that the pathway of tumor evolution implies the progression from benign naevi, to dysplastic naevi, to melanoma in situ and then to invasive and metastatic melanoma. The gene alterations characterizing melanomas tend to accumulate in these precursor lesions in a sequential order. Studies carried out in recent years have, in part, elucidated the great tumorigenic potential of melanoma tumor cells. These findings have led to speculation that the cancer stem cell model cannot be applied to melanoma because, in this malignancy, tumor cells possess an intrinsic plasticity, conferring the capacity to initiate and maintain the neoplastic process to phenotypically different tumor cells. View Full-Text
Keywords: melanoma; melanocytes; melanogenesis; cancer stem cells; genomic profiling; membrane cell markers; tumor xenotransplantation assay melanoma; melanocytes; melanogenesis; cancer stem cells; genomic profiling; membrane cell markers; tumor xenotransplantation assay
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Testa, U.; Castelli, G.; Pelosi, E. Melanoma: Genetic Abnormalities, Tumor Progression, Clonal Evolution and Tumor Initiating Cells. Med. Sci. 2017, 5, 28.

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