J Clin Pathol 57:797-801 doi:10.1136/jcp.2003.015800
  • Review

Genetic pathways to melanoma tumorigenesis

  1. M R Hussein
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr M R Hussein
 Department of Pathology, Assiut University Hospitals, Assiut, Egypt;
  • Accepted 19 February 2004


The incidence of cutaneous malignant melanomas is growing faster than that of any other cancer and therefore posing a major heath threat worldwide. In melanocytic skin tumours, the feasibility of correlating a specific pathological stage with a corresponding genetic alteration provides a remarkable opportunity to study the multistep tumorigenesis model. This multistep melanoma tumorigenesis is best described as a continuum of transformation of the melanocytes, melanocytic dysplasia, and melanoma formation. These steps involve genotypic alterations including loss of tumour suppressor genes, microsatellite instability, and alterations of the mismatch repair system. This review seeks to examine melanoma tumorigenesis based on these genetic changes.