Melanoma is the leading cause of skin cancer deaths in the United States, and its incidence has been rising steadily for the past 30 years (Aftab, Dinger, & Perera, 2014). A more complete understanding of the molecular mechanisms that drive melanomagenesis is crucial to improve diagnosis, prognostication, and treatment of this disease. Given that melanoma survival rates are better when the disease is detected early, precise diagnostic tests for early melanoma detection would be extremely useful. In addition, as survival rates decrease drastically when the disease becomes metastatic, improved tools to more precisely identify high-risk patients as well as to predict treatment response are necessary. The role of microRNAs (miRNAs) in melanoma biology could be the key. miRNA expression profiling has identified several miRNAs that play a crucial role in melanoma cell proliferation, migration, and invasion, as well as miRNAs involved in apoptosis and in the immune response. Here we review the most current data on the miRNAs involved in melanoma as well as their potential roles as diagnostic and prognostic biomarkers of this disease.
- cell cycle
- molecular function