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Insights into Differentiation of Melanocytes from Human Stem Cells and Their Relevance for Melanoma Treatment.

Authors
  • Mirea, Madalina A1
  • Eckensperger, Stefan1
  • Hengstschläger, Markus1
  • Mikula, Mario1
  • 1 Institute for Medical Genetics, Center for Pathobiochemistry and Genetics, Medical University Vienna, Währingerstrasse 10, 1090 Vienna, Austria. , (Austria)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Cancers
Publisher
MDPI AG
Publication Date
Sep 03, 2020
Volume
12
Issue
9
Identifiers
DOI: 10.3390/cancers12092508
PMID: 32899370
Source
Medline
Keywords
Language
English
License
Unknown

Abstract

Malignant melanoma represents a highly aggressive form of skin cancer. The metastatic process itself is mostly governed by the so-called epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT), which confers cancer cells migrative, invasive and resistance abilities. Since EMT represents a conserved developmental process, it is worthwhile further examining the nature of early developmental steps fundamental for melanocyte differentiation. This can be done either in vivo by analyzing the physiologic embryo development in different species or by in vitro studies of melanocytic differentiation originating from embryonic human stem cells. Most importantly, external cues drive progenitor cell differentiation, which can be divided in stages favoring neural crest specification or melanocytic differentiation and proliferation. In this review, we describe ectopic factors which drive human pluripotent stem cell differentiation to melanocytes in 2D, as well as in organoid models. Furthermore, we compare developmental mechanisms with processes described to occur during melanoma development. Finally, we suggest differentiation factors as potential co-treatment options for metastatic melanoma patients.

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