Melanoma is the most lethal form of skin cancer in the United States. Current American Joint Committee on Cancer (AJCC) staging uses Breslow depth and ulceration as the two primary tumor factors that predict metastatic risk in cutaneous melanoma. Early disease stages are generally associated with high survival rates. However, in some cases, patients with thin melanomas develop advanced disease, suggesting other factors may contribute to the metastatic potential of an individual patient’s melanoma. This review focuses on the role of the lymphatic system in the metastasis of cutaneous melanoma, from recent discoveries in mechanisms of lymphangiogenesis to elements of the lymphatic system that ultimately may aid clinicians in determining which patients are at highest risk. Ultimately, this review highlights the need to integrate pathological, morphological, and molecular characteristics of lymphatics into a “biomarker” for metastatic potential.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research