Serological markers for melanoma

The British Journal of Dermatology
L Brochez, J M Naeyaert

Abstract

We present a review of current literature concerning the significance of serological markers in melanoma patients. Results for cytokines, cytokine receptors, cell adhesion molecules, S100 protein, melanoma inhibitory activity, tissue-specific reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction, neurone-specific enolase, lipid-bound sialic acid and melanin metabolites such as 5-S-cysteinyldopa and 6-hydroxy-5-methoxyindole-2-carboxylic acid are discussed. For most of these substances, serum levels are more pronounced in the more advanced stages of disease. Therefore, these markers seem to have no place in the early detection of melanoma. On the other hand, sensitivity in the advanced stages of disease seems to be < 100%, compromising their use as a new staging procedure. Some markers show promising results as a possible prognostic factor in the early detection of disease progression or in the prediction of therapy outcome. If confirmed by further studies, this could direct future therapeutic strategies and could help to select patients who would benefit most from more aggressive (adjuvant) therapies. In addition, the study of some of these substances could add to the knowledge of tumour biology and immunology.

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