ABSTRACT: Malignant melanoma remains one of the most deadly human cancers with no effective cures for metastatic disease. The poor efficacy of current therapy in advanced melanoma highlights the need for better understanding of molecular mechanisms contributing to the disease. Recent work has shown that epigenetic changes, including aberrant DNA methylation, lead to alterations in gene expression and are as important in the development of malignant melanoma as the specific and well-characterized genetic events. Reversion of these methylation patterns could thus lead to a more targeted therapy and are currently under clinical investigation. The purpose of this review is to compile recent information on aberrant DNA methylation of melanoma, to highlight key genes and molecular pathways in melanoma development, which have been found to be epigenetically altered and to provide insight as to how DNA methylation might serve as targeted treatment option as well as a molecular and prognostic marker in malignant melanoma.
Melanoma research 04/2010; 20(4):253-65. · 2.06 Impact Factor