Tumour development and progression involves the expression of oncogenes and inactivation of tumour suppressor genes, leading to the appearance of multiple malignant characteristics. Malignant melanoma cells express different growth factors and cytokines and their receptors in respective stages of tumour progression, which by autocrine and paracrine effects enable them to grow autonomously and confer competence to metastasis. Autocrine growth factors (bFGF, MGSA/GRO, IL-8 and sometimes IL-6, PDGF-A, IL-10) produced by melanoma cells stimulate proliferation of the producing cell itself, while paracrine growth factors (for example PDGF, EGF, TGF-beta, IL-1, GM-CSF, IGF-I, NGF, VEGF) modulate the microenvironment to the benefit of tumour growth and invasion. Paracrine effects include angiogenesis, stroma formation, modulation of host immune response, activation of proteolytic enzymes, adhesion or motility and metastasis formation. Some growth factors have inhibitory effects on melanocytes and early lesions (IL-1, IL-6, TGF-beta, OSM, TNF and IFN) but not on advanced stage melanomas, and in some cases they switch to autocrine stimulator (IL-6, TGF-beta). Understanding the involvement of different growth factors and cytokines in the molecular mechanism of melanoma progression will help to provide an insight into new future therapeutic approaches for melanoma.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.