Circulating biomarkers in malignant melanoma

Adv Clin Chem. 2015;69:47-89. doi: 10.1016/bs.acc.2014.12.002. Epub 2015 Feb 7.


Melanoma is an aggressive tumor with increasing incidence worldwide. Biomarkers are valuable tools to minimize the cost and improve efficacy of treatment of this deadly disease. Serological markers have not widely been introduced in routine clinical practice due to their insufficient diagnostic sensitivity and specificity. It is likely that the lack of objective responses with traditional treatment hinder biomarker research and development in melanoma. Recently, new drugs and therapies have, however, emerged in advanced melanoma with noticeable objective response ratio and survival. In this new scenario, serological tumor markers should be revisited. In addition, other potential circulating biomarkers such as cell-free DNA, exosomes, microRNA, and circulating tumor cells have also been identified. In this review, we summarize classical and emerging tumor markers and discuss their possible roles in emerging therapeutics.

Keywords: BRAF; Cell-free DNA; Circulating tumor cells; Exosomes; Melanoma; S100; Tumor markers; microRNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biomarkers, Tumor / blood*
  • Biomarkers, Tumor / genetics
  • Chemistry, Clinical / methods*
  • Cytokines / blood
  • DNA / blood
  • Humans
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase / blood
  • MAP Kinase Signaling System
  • Melanoma / blood*
  • Melanoma / genetics
  • Melanoma / metabolism
  • Melanoma / pathology
  • Neoplastic Cells, Circulating
  • Proteomics / methods
  • Skin Neoplasms / blood*
  • Skin Neoplasms / genetics
  • Skin Neoplasms / metabolism
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology


  • Biomarkers, Tumor
  • Cytokines
  • DNA
  • L-Lactate Dehydrogenase