The plasticity of melanoma cells and associated clinical implications

Mary J.C. Hendrix, Elisabeth A. Seftor, Angela R. Hess, Richard E.B. Seftor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations


The molecular signature of aggressive cutaneous and uveal melanoma cells is consistent with an undifferentiated cell with a genetic profile similar to that of embryonic cells. The associated plastic phenotype may explain how aggressive melanoma cells can mimic endothelial cells, participate in neovascularization of tissues, and form a fluid-conducting meshwork through a process called vasculogenic mimicry. Although elucidation of the biological steps of melanoma vasculogenic mimicry should lead to improved diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, the clinical management of cutaneous and uveal melanoma (as well as many other types of cancers), would benefit from the identification of valid predictors of disease progression and metastatic potential. In this regard, recent studies aimed at characterizing the molecular signature of melanoma tumor cells has resulted in a classification scheme for malignant cutaneous melanoma, as well as a molecular profile for uveal melanoma, which may contribute to improving the diagnosis and treatment of this and possibly other cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFrom Melanocytes to Melanoma
Subtitle of host publicationThe Progression to Malignancy
Place of PublicationUSA
PublisherHumana Press
Number of pages18
ISBN (Print)1588294595, 9781588294593
StatePublished - Dec 1 2006


  • Melanoma
  • angiogenesis
  • plasticity
  • vasculogenic mimicry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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