Affiliation: Department of General Physiology and Biochemistry, Section of General Pathology, Celoria 26, University of Milan, Italy.
Data from all parts of the world show a rising incidence of cutaneous malignant melanoma. The latter is one of the most difficult malignancies to treat. Early stage melanoma is curable but once metastatic it is almost uniformly fatal. Systemic therapy for advanced melanoma includes chemotherapy, either with dacarbazine alone or a multiagent combination chemotherapy, and biological therapy with recombinant interferon-alpha and/or interleukine-2. However none of these treatments options has produced long-term control of the disease except on rare occasion. In the present review, new strategies in the treatment of malignant melanoma that are now under investigations are discussed. Such new strategies might could be open new perspectives avoiding the toxicity of the conventional treatments too. In particular, possible agents acting on signal transduction pathways, such as Protein Kinase C modulators, and on the cell cycle are reviewed. Melanoma is the most immunogenic tumor among all tumor neoplasia. The feature has led to test several immunological strategies for manipulating immune responses in order to induce tumor growth control in vivo. Thus, the most interesting and recent strategies in this field and in particular the possibility to use specific vaccines are also considered.