Melanoma biology and new targeted therapy

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Abstract

Melanoma is a cancer that arises from melanocytes, specialized pigmented cells that are found predominantly in the skin. The incidence of melanoma is rising steadily in western populations - the number of cases worldwide has doubled in the past 20 years. In its early stages malignant melanoma can be cured by surgical resection, but once it has progressed to the metastatic stage it is extremely difficult to treat and does not respond to current therapies. Recent discoveries in cell signalling have provided greater understanding of the biology that underlies melanoma, and these advances are being exploited to provide targeted drugs and new therapeutic approaches.

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