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Keywords:

  • melanoma;
  • pathogenesis;
  • oncogenes;
  • targeted therapy

Abstract

We have recently witnessed an explosion in our understanding of melanoma. Knowledge of the molecular basis of melanoma and the successes of targeted therapies have pushed melanoma care to the precipice of a new era. Identification of significant pathways and oncogenes has translated to the development of targeted therapies, some of which have produced major clinical responses. In this review, we provide an overview of selected key pathways and melanoma oncogenes as well as the targeted agents and therapeutic approaches whose successes suggest the promise of a new era in melanoma and cancer therapy. Despite these advances, the conversion of transient remissions to stable cures remains a vital challenge. Continued progress towards a better understanding about the complexity and redundancy responsible for melanoma progression may provide direction for anti-cancer drug development. Copyright © 2010 Pathological Society of Great Britain and Ireland. Published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.