, Volume 31, Issue 3-4, pp 621-632
Date: 09 Jun 2012

Driving transcriptional regulators in melanoma metastasis

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The progression of melanoma toward the metastatic phenotype occurs in a defined stepwise manner. While many molecular changes take place early in melanoma development, progression toward the malignant phenotype, most notably during the transition from the radial growth phase (RGP) to the vertical growth phase (VGP) involves deregulated expression of several transcription factors. For example, the switch from RGP to VGP is associated with the loss of the transcription factor AP2α and gain of transcriptional activity of cAMP-responsive element binding protein. Together with the upregulation of microphthalmia-associated transcription factor, activating transcription factor 2, nuclear factor kappa B, and other transcription factors, these changes lead to dysregulated expression or function of important cellular adhesion molecules, matrix degrading enzymes, survival factors, as well as other factors leading to metastatic melanoma. Additionally, recent evidence suggests that microRNAs and RNA editing machinery influence the expression of transcription factors or are regulated themselves by transcription factors. Many of the downstream signaling molecules regulated by transcription factors, such as protease activated receptor-1, interleukin-8, and MCAM/MUC18 represent new treatment prospects.