Biomolecular markers of malignancy in human uveal melanoma: the role of the cadherin-catenin complex and gene expression profiling

Ophthalmologica. Jan-Feb 2003;217(1):68-75. doi: 10.1159/000068239.


In recent years there has been a trend towards conservative management of uveal melanoma (UM), aimed at preserving the eye and vision. Despite improvements with this approach, recurrent tumour and metastatic disease still occur, and the management remains problematic. As a result of these limitations, there is interest in gaining a greater understanding of molecular changes associated with aggressive disease patterns in UM. This might result in new, more effective and less toxic therapies as well as provide prognostic information for defining subgroups of patients with a less favourable prognosis as potential candidates for adjuvant therapies. Accumulating evidence over the past decade suggests that disturbance in the cadherin-catenin adhesion complex is critical in the process leading to invasion and metastasis of many cancers. The recent advent of DNA micro-array technology now offers an unprecedented ability to study these molecules and others associated with malignant transformation. In this mini-review, the aspects of tumour progression in which cadherin-catenin may be involved are dealt with along with the potential application of DNA micro-array technology to the problem in UM.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / metabolism*
  • Cadherins / physiology*
  • Cell Adhesion
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins / physiology*
  • DNA, Neoplasm / analysis
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Melanoma / metabolism*
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Trans-Activators / physiology*
  • Uveal Neoplasms / genetics
  • Uveal Neoplasms / metabolism*
  • beta Catenin


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • CTNNB1 protein, human
  • Cadherins
  • Cytoskeletal Proteins
  • DNA, Neoplasm
  • Trans-Activators
  • beta Catenin