Circulating microRNA biomarkers in melanoma: Tools and challenges in personalised medicine

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Effective management of melanoma depends heavily on early diagnosis. When detected in early non-metastatic stages, melanoma is almost 100% curable by surgical resection, however when detected in late metastatic stages III and IV, 5-year survival rates drop to ~50% and 10–25%, respectively, due to limited efficacy of current treatment options. This presents a pressing need to identify biomarkers that can detect patients at high risk of recurrence and progression to metastatic disease, which will allow for early intervention and survival benefit. Accumulating evidence over the past few decades has highlighted the potential use of circulating molecular biomarkers for melanoma diagnosis and prognosis, including lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), S100 calcium-binding protein B (S100B) and circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) fragments. Since 2010, circulating microRNAs (miRNAs) have been increasingly recognised as more robust non-invasive biomarkers for melanoma due to their structural stability under the harsh conditions of the blood and different conditions of sample processing and isolation. Several pre-analytical and analytical variables challenge the accurate quantification of relative miRNA levels between serum samples or plasma samples, leading to conflicting findings between studies on circulating miRNA biomarkers for melanoma. In this review, we provide a critical summary of the circulating miRNA biomarkers for melanoma published to date.




Mumford, S. L., Towler, B. P., Pashler, A. L., Gilleard, O., Martin, Y., & Newbury, S. F. (2018, June 1). Circulating microRNA biomarkers in melanoma: Tools and challenges in personalised medicine. Biomolecules. MDPI AG.

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