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Journal of Skin Cancer
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 423239, 8 pages
Review Article

BRAF in Melanoma: Pathogenesis, Diagnosis, Inhibition, and Resistance

1Division of Hematology/Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA
2Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA

Received 10 July 2011; Revised 27 September 2011; Accepted 28 September 2011

Academic Editor: S. Ugurel

Copyright © 2011 Ryan J. Sullivan and Keith T. Flaherty. 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.


Since the initial discovery that a subset of patients with cutaneous melanoma harbor BRAF mutations, substantial research has been focused on determining the pathologic consequences of BRAF mutations, optimizing diagnostic techniques to identify these mutations, and developing therapeutic interventions to inhibit the function of this target in mutation-bearing tumors. Recently, advances have been made which are revolutionizing the standard of care for patients with BRAF mutant melanoma. This paper provides an overview on the pathogenic ramifications of mutant BRAF signaling, the latest molecular testing methods to detect BRAF mutations, and the most recent clinical data of BRAF pathway inhibitors in patients with melanoma and BRAF mutations. Finally, emerging mechanisms of resistance to BRAF inhibitors and ways of overcoming this resistance are discussed.