The role of mitogen- and stress-activated protein kinase pathways in melanoma

Authors


Pablo Lopez-Bergami, e-mail: pablobergami@gmail.com

Summary

Recent discoveries have increased our comprehension of the molecular signaling events critical for melanoma development and progression. Many oncogenes driving melanoma have been identified, and most of them exert their oncogenic effects through the activation of the RAF/MEK/ERK mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. The c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and p38 MAPK pathways are also important in melanoma, but their precise role is not clear yet. This review summarizes our current knowledge on the role of the three main MAPK pathways, extracellular regulated kinase (ERK), JNK, and p38, and their impact on melanoma biology. Although the results obtained with BRAF inhibitors in melanoma patients are impressive, several mechanisms of acquired resistance have emerged. To overcome this obstacle constitutes the new challenge in melanoma therapy. Given the major role that MAPKs play in melanoma, understanding their functions and the interconnection among them and with other signaling pathways represents a step forward toward this goal.

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