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Dermatology Research and Practice
Volume 2010, Article ID 583748, 8 pages
Review Article

From Melanocyte to Metastatic Malignant Melanoma

1Department of Applied Molecular Oncology, Princess Margaret Hospital, Ontario Cancer Institute, University of Toronto, 7 Yorkview Drive, Toronto, ON, Canada M2N 2R9
2Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Hospital, University of Michigan, Michigan 48109-0602, USA
3Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada M4N 3M5
4Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University Health Network, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada M5G 2C4

Received 10 January 2010; Revised 22 April 2010; Accepted 15 July 2010

Academic Editor: Prashiela Manga

Copyright © 2010 Bizhan Bandarchi 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.


Malignant melanoma is one of the most aggressive malignancies in human and is responsible for almost 60% of lethal skin tumors. Its incidence has been increasing in white population in the past two decades. There is a complex interaction of environmental (exogenous) and endogenous, including genetic, risk factors in developing malignant melanoma. 8–12% of familial melanomas occur in a familial setting related to mutation of the CDKN2A gene that encodes p16. The aim of this is to briefly review the microanatomy and physiology of the melanocytes, epidemiology, risk factors, clinical presentation, historical classification and histopathology and, more in details, the most recent discoveries in biology and genetics of malignant melanoma. At the end, the final version of 2009 AJCC malignant melanoma staging and classification is presented.