Nodal as a biomarker for melanoma progression and a new therapeutic target for clinical intervention

Luigi Strizzi, Lynne Marie Postovit, Naira V. Margaryan, Alina Lipavsky, Jules Gadiot, Christian Blank, Richard E B Seftor, Elisabeth A. Seftor, Mary J C Hendrix*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Nodal, an embryonic morphogen belonging to the TGF-β superfamily, is an important regulator of embryonic stem cell fate. We have recently demonstrated that Nodal is expressed significantly in aggressive melanoma. Surprisingly, expression of the Nodal coreceptor, Cripto-1, was detected in only a small fraction of the melanoma tumor cell population, indicating a primary role for Cripto-1-independent signaling of Nodal in melanoma. In this review, we discuss how regulatory factors present in an embryonic environment, such as Lefty, can downregulate Nodal expression and inhibit tumorigenicity and plasticity of melanoma cells. Our translational studies show that antibodies against Nodal are capable of repressing melanoma vasculogenic mimicry and of inducing apoptosis in melanoma tumors in an in vivo lung-colonization assay. Our previous work and ongoing studies suggest that Nodal may represent a novel diagnostic marker and therapeutic target in melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-78
Number of pages12
JournalExpert Review of Dermatology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2009


  • Biomarker
  • Lefty
  • Melanoma
  • Nodal
  • Plasticity
  • Therapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology


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