NEW YORK — Boris C. Bastian, MD, PhD, director of the Clinical Cancer Genomics Laboratory at Hellen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center of University of California, San Francisco, discusses UV–associated molecular alterations that affect melanoma progression at HemOnc Today Melanoma and Cutaneous Malignancies.
“Melanoma is one of the most highly mutated cancers, and it is important to point out that that does not apply to all melanomas, but to those melanomas that originate from sun-damaged skin. So, it is even higher than in lung cancers and smokers,” he said. “If one has that many mutations in the genome — and those mutation burdens average between 30,000 to 100,000 somatic mutations in a single melanoma — one has to realize that those mutations have not all arisen at once, but have accumulated over time.”
UV radiation plays a critical role in nevus initiation and the development of melanoma, Bastian said. There also appears to be a genetically intermediate state between benign and malignant during melanoma progression.
“We’ll have to do some additional work to match up this genetic intermediate state with the histopathological and clinical features of these lesions,” he said. “The hope is, if we were able to identify these intermediates, we could remove them before they actually become malignant, and make a contribution to melanoma prevention.”
Bastian BC, et al. Genetic insights into melanoma progression. Presented at: HemOnc Today Melanoma and Cutaneous Malignancies; March 24-25, 2017; New York.
Disclosure: Bastian reports no relevant financial disclosures.