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Dermatology Research and Practice
Volume 2010, Article ID 483493, 4 pages
Review Article

Stress as a Possible Mechanism in Melanoma Progression

1Department of Dermatological Sciences, University of Florence, 50121 Florence, Italy
2Department of Clinical, Preventive, and Oncologic Dermatology, University of Florence, Villa Basilewsky, Via Lorenzo Il Magnifico 104, 50129 Florence, Italy
3Department of Critical Care Medicine and Surgery, University of Florence, Villa Basilewsky, Via Lorenzo Il Magnifico 104, 50129 Florence, Italy

Received 17 December 2009; Accepted 15 March 2010

Academic Editor: Lester M. Davids

Copyright © 2010 M. Sanzo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The incidence of melanoma, the most aggressive type of cutaneous malignant tumor, is currently on the rise. Treatment in advanced stages is still unsuccessful compared with other malignant tumors, thus it is important to indentify the key mechanisms responsible for melanoma progression and metastasis. Genetic and molecular components, in particular, that are up- or downregulated in melanoma cells, affect the invasive potential of melanoma. Another possible important cofactor highlighted by recent studies is chronic stress, involving environmental and psychological factors, which can be an important cofactor in not only cancer progression in general but also in melanoma spreading. The negative effects of chronic stress have been evaluated epidemiologically in patients with breast and prostate cancer. In particular, the effects of stress mediators, namely, catecholamines have been studied on various human malignancies, including melanoma and have highlighted a significant increase of progression-related molecules. As such, this could be the starting point for a new approach in the treatment of advanced melanoma, in which the negative effects of stress are reduced or blocked.