Background: Genetic aberration is responsible for the development of neoplastic potential in a number of malignancies. These DNA alterations result in significant changes in gene expression that may now be measured and catalogued. The microarray technique screens and identifies expressed genes that may be responsible for tumorigenesis.
Methods: The authors review the application of the microarray technique in malignant melanoma.
Results: Candidate melanoma suppressor genes have been identified in melanoma cell lines using this technique. Furthermore, molecular classification using gene expression profiling may improve the accuracy of the staging system for determining prognosis.
Conclusions: The microarray technique is in its initial development for clinical application in a variety of tumor models. Melanoma is an ideal system to study the genetic changes associated with the stepwise progression of malignancy. It may be possible to efficiently screen the entire human genome to identify the particular aberrations in gene expression responsible for tumorigenesis in melanoma.