Advances in melanoma senescence and potential clinical application

Giuliano S, Ohanna M, Ballotti R, Bertolotto C

Pigment Cell Melanoma Res 2011 Apr;24(2):295-308


PMID: 21143770

Normal cells possess a limited proliferative life span, after which they enter a state of irreversible growth arrest, called replicative senescence, which acts as a potent barrier against transformation. Transformed cells have escaped the process of replicative senescence and theoretically can not re-enter senescence. However, recent observations showed that transformed cells, and particularly the melanoma cells, can still undergo oncogene or stress-induced senescence. This senescence state is accompanied by many of the markers associated with replicative senescence, such as flattened shape, increased acidic β-galactosidase activity, characteristic changes in gene expression and growth arrest. Interestingly, in some cancers, senescence induction following chemotherapy has been correlated with a favorable patient outcome. In this review, we gathered recent results describing senescence-like phenotype induction in melanoma cells and discuss why senescence may also be exploited as a therapeutic strategy in melanoma.