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      From melanocytes to melanomas

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      Nature Reviews Cancer
      Springer Science and Business Media LLC

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          Abstract

          Melanomas on sun-exposed skin are heterogeneous tumours, which can be subtyped on the basis of their cumulative levels of exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation. A melanocytic neoplasm can also be staged by how far it has progressed, ranging from a benign neoplasm, such as a naevus, to a malignant neoplasm, such as a metastatic melanoma. Each subtype of melanoma can evolve through distinct evolutionary trajectories, passing through (or sometimes skipping over) various stages of transformation. This Review delineates several of the more common progression trajectories that occur in the patient setting and proposes models for tumour evolution that integrate genetic, histopathological, clinical and biological insights from the melanoma literature.

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          Most cited references119

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          Final version of 2009 AJCC melanoma staging and classification.

          To revise the staging system for cutaneous melanoma on the basis of data from an expanded American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) Melanoma Staging Database. The melanoma staging recommendations were made on the basis of a multivariate analysis of 30,946 patients with stages I, II, and III melanoma and 7,972 patients with stage IV melanoma to revise and clarify TNM classifications and stage grouping criteria. Findings and new definitions include the following: (1) in patients with localized melanoma, tumor thickness, mitotic rate (histologically defined as mitoses/mm(2)), and ulceration were the most dominant prognostic factors. (2) Mitotic rate replaces level of invasion as a primary criterion for defining T1b melanomas. (3) Among the 3,307 patients with regional metastases, components that defined the N category were the number of metastatic nodes, tumor burden, and ulceration of the primary melanoma. (4) For staging purposes, all patients with microscopic nodal metastases, regardless of extent of tumor burden, are classified as stage III. Micrometastases detected by immunohistochemistry are specifically included. (5) On the basis of a multivariate analysis of patients with distant metastases, the two dominant components in defining the M category continue to be the site of distant metastases (nonvisceral v lung v all other visceral metastatic sites) and an elevated serum lactate dehydrogenase level. Using an evidence-based approach, revisions to the AJCC melanoma staging system have been made that reflect our improved understanding of this disease. These revisions will be formally incorporated into the seventh edition (2009) of the AJCC Cancer Staging Manual and implemented by early 2010.
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            Activation of the DNA damage checkpoint and genomic instability in human precancerous lesions.

            DNA damage checkpoint genes, such as p53, are frequently mutated in human cancer, but the selective pressure for their inactivation remains elusive. We analysed a panel of human lung hyperplasias, all of which retained wild-type p53 genes and had no signs of gross chromosomal instability, and found signs of a DNA damage response, including histone H2AX and Chk2 phosphorylation, p53 accumulation, focal staining of p53 binding protein 1 (53BP1) and apoptosis. Progression to carcinoma was associated with p53 or 53BP1 inactivation and decreased apoptosis. A DNA damage response was also observed in dysplastic nevi and in human skin xenografts, in which hyperplasia was induced by overexpression of growth factors. Both lung and experimentally-induced skin hyperplasias showed allelic imbalance at loci that are prone to DNA double-strand break formation when DNA replication is compromised (common fragile sites). We propose that, from its earliest stages, cancer development is associated with DNA replication stress, which leads to DNA double-strand breaks, genomic instability and selective pressure for p53 mutations.
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              Mutations in GNA11 in uveal melanoma.

              Uveal melanoma is the most common intraocular cancer. There are no effective therapies for metastatic disease. Mutations in GNAQ, the gene encoding an alpha subunit of heterotrimeric G proteins, are found in 40% of uveal melanomas. We sequenced exon 5 of GNAQ and GNA11, a paralogue of GNAQ, in 713 melanocytic neoplasms of different types (186 uveal melanomas, 139 blue nevi, 106 other nevi, and 282 other melanomas). We sequenced exon 4 of GNAQ and GNA11 in 453 of these samples and in all coding exons of GNAQ and GNA11 in 97 uveal melanomas and 45 blue nevi. We found somatic mutations in exon 5 (affecting Q209) and in exon 4 (affecting R183) in both GNA11 and GNAQ, in a mutually exclusive pattern. Mutations affecting Q209 in GNA11 were present in 7% of blue nevi, 32% of primary uveal melanomas, and 57% of uveal melanoma metastases. In contrast, we observed Q209 mutations in GNAQ in 55% of blue nevi, 45% of uveal melanomas, and 22% of uveal melanoma metastases. Mutations affecting R183 in either GNAQ or GNA11 were less prevalent (2% of blue nevi and 6% of uveal melanomas) than the Q209 mutations. Mutations in GNA11 induced spontaneously metastasizing tumors in a mouse model and activated the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Of the uveal melanomas we analyzed, 83% had somatic mutations in GNAQ or GNA11. Constitutive activation of the pathway involving these two genes appears to be a major contributor to the development of uveal melanoma. (Funded by the National Institutes of Health and others.).
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Reviews Cancer
                Nat Rev Cancer
                Springer Science and Business Media LLC
                1474-175X
                1474-1768
                June 2016
                April 29 2016
                June 2016
                : 16
                : 6
                : 345-358
                Article
                10.1038/nrc.2016.37
                27125352
                e1f2e537-0bbc-4a0c-9d6d-e6bcd75e3495
                © 2016

                http://www.springer.com/tdm

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