Melanoma tumor cell heterogeneity: a molecular approach to study subpopulations expressing the embryonic morphogen nodal

Seftor, E. A.; Seftor, R. E.; Weldon, D. S.; Kirsammer, G. T.; Margaryan, N. V.; Gilgur, A.; Hendrix, M. J.

Semin Oncol. 2014 May 3; 41(2):259-66

Abstract

As the frequency of melanoma increases, current treatment strategies are struggling to significantly impact patient survival. One of the critical issues in designing efficient therapies is understanding the composition of heterogeneous melanoma tumors in order to target cancer stem cells (CSCs) and drug-resistant subpopulations. In this review, we summarize recent findings pertinent to the reemergence of the embryonic Nodal signaling pathway in melanoma and its significance as a prognostic biomarker and therapeutic target. In addition, we offer a novel molecular approach to studying the functional relevance of Nodal-expressing subpopulations and their CSC phenotype.

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