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Melanoma Cancer Stem Cells: Markers and Functions

Italian Network for Bioimmunotherapy of Tumors, Division of Medical Oncology and Immunotherapy, University Hospital, Viale Bracci, 16, 53100 Siena, Italy
Academic Editor: Vita Golubovskaya
Cancers 2016, 8(3), 34;
Received: 22 January 2016 / Revised: 2 March 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2016 / Published: 11 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Cancer Stem Cells and Tumor Microenvironment)
PDF [181 KB, uploaded 11 March 2016]


The discovery of cancer stem cells (CSCs) in human solid tumors has allowed a better understanding of the biology and neoplastic transformation of normal melanocytes, and the possible mechanisms by which melanoma cells acquire tumorigenicity. In this review I summarize the literature findings on the potential biomarkers of melanoma CSCs, their presence in the melanoma cell populations, the interaction with the immune system (with both T and NK cells) and the role of melanoma CSCs in the clinics. Given the extraordinary progress in the therapy of melanoma caused by immune checkpoint antibodies blockade, I discuss how these antibodies can work by the activation of melanoma infiltrating T cells specifically recognizing neo-antigens expressed even by melanoma CSCs. This is the mechanism that can induce a regression of the metastatic melanomas. View Full-Text
Keywords: human melanoma; cancer stem cells; biomarkers; immune checkpoint antibodies; immunosuppression human melanoma; cancer stem cells; biomarkers; immune checkpoint antibodies; immunosuppression
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Parmiani, G. Melanoma Cancer Stem Cells: Markers and Functions. Cancers 2016, 8, 34.

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