, Volume 24, Issue 1, pp 165-183

The role of B-RAF in melanoma

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Abstract

Melanoma is a form of skin cancer that has a poor prognosis and which is on the rise in Western populations. If detected early, it is easily treated by surgical excision. However, once melanoma metastasises it is notoriously resistant to existing therapies and for many patients the outlook is dismal. Thus a full description of melanoma etiology and a full understanding of the genetic lesions that underlie this disease is required to allow us to develop new and effective therapeutic strategies for its treatment. RAF proteins are a family of serine/threonine-specific protein kinases that form part of a signalling module that regulates cell proliferation, differentiation and survival. In mammals there are three isoforms, A-RAF, B-RAF and C-RAF, and recently it was shown that the B-RAF isoform is mutated in a high proportion of melanomas. In light of these exciting findings, we review what we have learned about B-RAF and its role in cutaneous melanoma.