Current and Future Trends in Molecular Biomarkers for Diagnostic, Prognostic, and Predictive Purposes in Non-Melanoma Skin Cancer

Skin Cancer

J Clin Med. 2020 Sep 4;9(9):E2868. doi: 10.3390/jcm9092868.


Skin cancer represents the most common type of cancer among Caucasians and presents in two main forms: melanoma and non-melanoma skin cancer (NMSC). NMSC is an umbrella term, under which basal cell carcinoma (BCC), squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), and Merkel cell carcinoma (MCC) are found along with the pre-neoplastic lesions, Bowen disease (BD) and actinic keratosis (AK). Due to the mild nature of the majority of NMSC cases, research regarding their biology has attracted much less attention.

Nonetheless, NMSC can bear unfavorable characteristics for the patient, such as invasiveness, local recurrence and distant metastases. In addition, late diagnosis is relatively common for a number of cases of NMSC due to the inability to recognize such cases. Recognizing the need for clinically and economically efficient modes of diagnosis, staging, and prognosis, the present review discusses the main etiological and pathological features of NMSC as well as the new and promising molecular biomarkers available including telomere length (TL), telomerase activity (TA), CpG island methylation (CIM), histone methylation and acetylation, microRNAs (miRNAs), and micronuclei frequency (MNf). The evaluation of all these aspects is important for the correct management of NMSC; therefore, the current review aims to assist future studies interested in exploring the diagnostic and prognostic potential of molecular biomarkers for these entities.