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Melanoma development and progression: a conspiracy between tumor and host

Authors

  • Mei-Yu Hsu,

    1. The Wistar Institute, 3601 Spruce Street
      Philadelphia, PA 19104–4283, USA
      Tel: +1 215 898 3950, Fax: +1 215 898 0980
    2. Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
      Thomas Jefferson University Hospital
      Philadelphia, PA, USA
    3. Current address: Department of Dermatology, Division of Dermatopathology
      University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
      Dallas, TX, USA
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  • Friedegund Meier,

    1. The Wistar Institute, 3601 Spruce Street
      Philadelphia, PA 19104–4283, USA
      Tel: +1 215 898 3950, Fax: +1 215 898 0980
    2. Department of Dermatology, University of Tübingen
      Tübingen, Germany
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  • Meenhard Herlyn

    Corresponding author
    1. The Wistar Institute, 3601 Spruce Street
      Philadelphia, PA 19104–4283, USA
      Tel: +1 215 898 3950, Fax: +1 215 898 0980
      ✉ e-mail: herlynm@wistar.upenn.edu
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✉ e-mail: herlynm@wistar.upenn.edu

Abstract

Abstract While a genome-centric paradigm in human cancer development was useful for the understanding of some malignancies such as leukemias, causative molecular defects intrinsic to melanocytes have not been defined in the majority of human melanomas. Recent work, however, has shown that regulatory signals governing melanocytic cell growth and differentiation may originate from the surrounding host cells either directly through physical contact or indirectly through soluble factors and extracellular matrix molecules. In this review, we present experimental systems useful for dissecting melanoma–host interactions and highlight evidence that the tumor microenvironment contributes to the oncogenic process. Thus, melanomagenesis is not merely an act of a single outlaw but a conspiracy orchestrated by multiple partners in the neighborhood who come into play in a precise spatiotemporal order. Defining intercellular molecular dialogues in human skin promises to provide key information for the development of novel treatment strategies that target the functional unit of stroma and tumor.

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