Malignant melanoma is among the most aggressive skin cancers and it has among the highest metastatic potentials. Although surgery to remove the primary tumor is the gold standard treatment, once melanoma progresses and metastasizes to the lymph nodes and distal organs, i.e., metastatic melanoma (MM), the usual outcome is decreased survival. To improve survival rates and life span, advanced treatments have focused on the success of targeted therapies in the MAPK pathway that are based on BRAF (BRAF V600E) and MEK. The majority of patients with tumors that have higher expression of BRAF V600E show poorer prognosis than patients with a lower level of the mutated protein. Based on the molecular basis of melanoma, these findings are supported by distinct tumor phenotypes determined from differences in tumor heterogeneity and protein expression profiles. With these aspects in mind, continued challenges are to: (1) deconvolute the complexity and heterogeneity of MM; (2) identify the signaling pathways involved; and (3) determine protein expression to develop targeted therapies. Here, we provide an overview of the results from protein expression in MM and the link to disease presentation in a variety of tumor phenotypes and how these will overcome the challenges of clinical problems and suggest new promising approaches in metastatic melanoma and cancer therapy.
Subject classification (UKÄ)
- Cancer and Oncology