Melanomas’ fatal attraction to lysophosphatidic acid trails: a new prognostic and therapeutic approach?

Early-stage cutaneous melanoma is curable but advanced, metastatic melanoma is almost uniformly fatal [1]. Patients with such advanced disease have a short median survival of only 6–9 months [2]. Not only is cutaneous melanoma responsible for 75–80% of skin cancer deaths but there is an ongoing ‘melanoma epidemic’ [3].

Detecting and excising melanoma early is key to improving survival and melanoma is characterized by clinical and biological heterogeneity, which in part explains why melanoma is notoriously resistant to chemo- and immuno-therapeutic strategies [4,5]. Thankfully, melanoma is at the vanguard of the personalized medicine movement [6,7], and the last 5 years have witnessed major therapeutic advances in melanoma research. Despite these advances, neither immune therapies nor cell growth inhibitors offer a truly optimal treatment as they fail to offer the ability to provide durable remission and well-tolerated side effects for the majority of patients. It is likely other therapeutic strategies will be required for this complex disease.

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