Cutaneous malignant melanoma is the leading cause of skin cancer death in industrialized countries. Melanoma development and progression are well defined by clinical and histopathological aspects; however, detailed analysis of molecular changes is still ongoing. The protein MIA, which is strongly expressed in melanoma cells but not in melanocytes, is likely to represent a key molecule regulating melanoma progression. Consistent with this, several in vitro and in vivo model systems indicate a direct involvement of MIA in melanoma migration and invasion, with recent studies suggesting a central role for MIA in early melanoma development by regulating important melanoma-related pathways and molecules. The latest developments in MIA research are summarized in this review, which describes recently published data related to the MIA protein structure and function, the role of MIA in melanoma development and progression, and the regulation of MIA expression. Furthermore, newly discovered MIA-homologous genes are discussed.