Malignant melanoma--future prospects

Acta Dermatovenerol Croat. 2005;13(1):36-43.


As the incidence and already high mortality rates of malignant melanoma have been steadily increasing in recent decades, the early detection and excision of malignant melanoma have imposed as the most important task. Staging of malignant melanoma is determined according to the level of invasion (Clark level) and vertical thickness (Breslow scale). Besides operative therapy, which is the only effective treatment for malignant melanoma, postoperative adjuvant chemotherapy, immunotherapy, radiotherapy, and biologic therapy also are of great importance. In recent years, immunologic strategies including tumor vaccine and adjuvant therapy with interferon-alfa have been attempted to improve survival of patients with more advanced malignant melanoma. A recent melanoma research has focused on target therapy such as immunotherapy (vaccines, monoclonal antibodies, dendritic cells) and gene therapy. Genetic immunization has become an attractive strategy for the development of melanoma vaccines, because a number of antigens recognized by cellular components of the immune system have been identified at the molecular level. Numerous chemotherapeutic agents have shown activity in the treatment of metastatic malignant melanoma, such as dacarbazine (dimethyl triazene imidazole carboxamide); other agents have been used, however, with less success. However, a very modest effect was recorded in advanced malignant melanoma. There are many experimental trials using combined therapy for malignant melanoma, including chemotherapy (dimethyl triazene imidazole carboxamide) and biologic therapy (interleukin (IL)-2, interferon (IFN)-gamma, IFN-alfa). The results obtained open particularly interesting prospects in the field of malignant melanoma with high relevance for its development and progression. Molecular therapeutics and vaccine development will probably be an important focus for the future melanoma treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases / genetics
  • Genetic Therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Melanoma / therapy*
  • Metalloproteases / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Antigens, Neoplasm
  • Cancer Vaccines
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins
  • CDK4 protein, human
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4
  • Cyclin-Dependent Kinases
  • Metalloproteases