Imanol Arozarena, senior researcher from the Cancer Signalling Unit at the Navarrabiomed biomedical research centre and a member of Instituto de Investigación Sanitaria de Navarra (IdiSNA), has recently published a melanoma review with University of Manchester Professor Claudia Wellbrock.
The two scientists were asked by the renowned scientific journal Nature Reviews: Cancer to write an article on the latest findings in melanoma cell distinct phenotypes and their relevance for melanoma development and response to therapy.
As many as 4000 new melanoma cases are diagnosed in Spain every year. Malignant melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer that is usually metastatic. It is notorious for its intra- and inter-tumour heterogeneity.
Such variability results from the ability of melanoma cells (melanocytes) to adjust to changing environmental conditions by reprogramming their genetic expression. Thus, melanocytes develop resistance to both targeted therapy and immunotherapy, and their plasticity plays a role in metastasis development.
In their article, the authors reveal the importance of combining recent developments in genomic technologies and the availability of large gene expression datasets for a precise definition of the gene signatures that characterise changes in each patient’s tumours and the prognostic relevance for tumour development and response to therapy.
According to Arozarena, ‘By understanding the molecular mechanisms that adapt melanoma cells to anti-tumour drugs, we will be able to prevent both therapy resistance and the progression of metastatic melanoma.’