Subversion of Ras Small GTPases in Cutaneous Melanoma Aggressiveness

Cheila Brito, Duarte C. Barral, Marta Pojo

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Abstract

The rising incidence and mortality rate associated with the metastatic ability of cutaneous melanoma represent a major public health concern. Cutaneous melanoma is one of the most invasive human cancers, but the molecular mechanisms are poorly understood. Moreover, currently available therapies are not efficient in avoiding melanoma lethality. In this context, new biomarkers of prognosis, metastasis, and response to therapy are necessary to better predict the disease outcome. Additionally, the knowledge about the molecular alterations and dysregulated pathways involved in melanoma metastasis may provide new therapeutic targets. Members of the Ras superfamily of small GTPases regulate various essential cellular activities, from signaling to membrane traffic and cytoskeleton dynamics. Therefore, it is not surprising that they are differentially expressed, and their functions subverted in several types of cancer, including melanoma. Indeed, Ras small GTPases were found to regulate melanoma progression and invasion. Hence, a better understanding of the mechanisms regulated by Ras small GTPases that are involved in melanoma tumorigenesis and progression may provide new therapeutic strategies to block these processes. Here, we review the current knowledge on the role of Ras small GTPases in melanoma aggressiveness and the molecular mechanisms involved. Furthermore, we summarize the known involvement of these proteins in melanoma metastasis and how these players influence the response to therapy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number575223
JournalFrontiers in Cell and Developmental Biology
Volume8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Sep 2020

Keywords

  • biomarkers
  • cancer progression
  • cancer therapies
  • cutaneous melanoma
  • metastasis
  • ras Small GTPases

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