[Frontiers in Bioscience 3, d1005-1010, September 15, 1998]
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MOLECULAR EVENTS IN MELANOMA DEVELOPMENT AND PROGRESSION

Friedegund Meier1, Kapaettu Satyamoorthy1, Mark Nesbit1, Mei-Yu Hsu1, Birgit Schittek2, Claus Garbe2, and Meenhard Herlyn1

The Wistar Institute, 3601 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, PA 191041, Department of Dermatology, University of Tuebingen, Liebermeisterstr.25, 72076 Tuebingen, Germany2

Received 7/17/98 Accepted 8/10/98

2. INTRODUCTION

Melanoma has been one of the fastest rising malignancies in the last 4 decades, with the incidence increasing from less than 3 per 100,000 individuals to more than 12 today. In the United States, approximately 43,000 new cases and 7,300 deaths occurred in 1997 (1). Among Caucasian females between the ages of 20 and 35 years, melanoma is the main cause of death from malignancy. By the year 2000, 1 in 70 Americans is expected to develop melanoma over his/her lifetime. Despite worldwide efforts in prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, melanoma incidence continues to rise at an alarming rate. Fortunately, the increasing incidence rate exceeds the mortality rate, apparently because of detection of biologically early primary melanomas which are curable through surgery. However, despite significant improvements in diagnosis and surgical, local and systemic therapy, reducing mortality from melanoma metastases remains a major challenge. A better understanding of the underlying mechanisms of melanoma development and progression holds the promise of design of effective interventions for metastatic melanoma.