Genotyping of cutaneous melanoma
Until recently, treatment options for patients with metastatic melanoma were very limited. This landscape has evolved dramatically since the discovery of activating mutations in the BRAF gene in ~45% of cutaneous melanomas. Vemurafenib, dabrafenib, and trametinib have all received regulatory approval for the treatment of metastatic melanoma patients with a BRAFV600 mutation. Based on the necessity to document the presence of a BRAFV600 mutation to prescribe these agents, molecular testing is now the standard of care in this disease. However, the options and rationale for testing are evolving rapidly due to an improved understanding of the molecular drivers and heterogeneity of melanoma. Such testing may identify rational combinatorial approaches to prevent or overcome resistance for the approved BRAF inhibitors. In addition, new clinical strategies have been identified for a number of other molecular changes that are detected in this disease, including somatic changes in NRAS, PTEN, CDKN2A, and c-KIT, among others. This review summarizes the current understanding of the genetic landscape of mutations in melanoma, their associations with clinicopathological features, and their implications for clinical testing and treatment.