Non-BRAF Mutant Melanoma: Molecular Features and Therapeutical Implications

Irene Vanni, Enrica Teresa Tanda, Bruna Dalmasso, Lorenza Pastorino, Virginia Andreotti, William Bruno, Andrea Boutros, Francesco Spagnolo, Paola Ghiorzo

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Melanoma is one of the most aggressive tumors of the skin, and its incidence is growing worldwide. Historically considered a drug resistant disease, since 2011 the therapeutic landscape of melanoma has radically changed. Indeed, the improved knowledge of the immune system and its interactions with the tumor, and the ever more thorough molecular characterization of the disease, has allowed the development of immunotherapy on the one hand, and molecular target therapies on the other. The increased availability of more performing technologies like Next-Generation Sequencing (NGS), and the availability of increasingly large genetic panels, allows the identification of several potential therapeutic targets. In light of this, numerous clinical and preclinical trials are ongoing, to identify new molecular targets. Here, we review the landscape of mutated non-BRAF skin melanoma, in light of recent data deriving from Whole-Exome Sequencing (WES) or Whole-Genome Sequencing (WGS) studies on melanoma cohorts for which information on the mutation rate of each gene was available, for a total of 10 NGS studies and 992 samples, focusing on available, or in experimentation, targeted therapies beyond those targeting mutated BRAF. Namely, we describe 33 established and candidate driver genes altered with frequency greater than 1.5%, and the current status of targeted therapy for each gene. Only 1.1% of the samples showed no coding mutations, whereas 30% showed at least one mutation in the RAS genes (mostly NRAS) and 70% showed mutations outside of the RAS genes, suggesting potential new roads for targeted therapy. Ongoing clinical trials are available for 33.3% of the most frequently altered genes.

Original languageEnglish
Article number172
JournalFrontiers in Molecular Biosciences
Publication statusPublished - Jul 24 2020


  • driver mutations
  • genetic
  • heterogeneity
  • melanoma
  • non-BRAF mutation
  • targeted therapy
  • WES
  • WGS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)

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