Molecular tools are rapidly emerging as novel tools for clinicians caring for cancer patients. Roles for these assays in melanocytic neoplasms include diagnosis for histologically ambiguous tumors, prognosis for conventional melanoma, and theragnosis for advanced disease. The introduction of these molecular strategies is timely, as different therapeutic options are rapidly developing to treat melanoma. With the development of new and effective therapeutic options, it is more critical than ever to improve the discrimination between patients with aggressive disease and those with more indolent tumours. In this review, we will evaluate the traditional staging of melanoma and what are the likely greatest opportunities for improvement with molecular strategies. We will explore a number of molecular assays that are now commercially available for the assessment of melanocytic neoplasms, which include techniques such as fluorescence in situ hybridisation, comparative genomic hybridisation, mRNA expression profiling and next generation sequencing, and discuss the optimal utilisation of each of these assays.
Copyright © 2016. Published by Elsevier B.V.