, Volume 8, Issue 7, pp 466-474

Molecular biology of malignant melanoma and other cutaneous tumors

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Skin cancer is the most common cancer worldwide. Its incidence is doubling every 15–20 years likely because of an aging population, changes in behaviour towards sun exposure, and increased UV light fluency at the earth surface due to ozone depletion. In this review, we summarize the most important genetic changes contributing to the development of malignant melanoma, basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma, the main tumor entities arising in the skin. While our understanding of the oncogenes and tumor suppressor genes involved in the development and progression of skin tumors is still fragmentary, recent advances have shown alterations affecting conserved signalling pathways that control cellular proliferation and viability. These pathways includeINK4a/Rb,ARF/p53, RAS/MAPKs, and sonic hedgehog/Gli.