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Melanoma is a most dangerous and deadly type of skin cancer, and considered intrinsically resistant to both radiotherapy and chemotherapy. It has become a major public health concern as the incidence of melanoma has been rising steadily over recent decades with a 5-year survival remaining less than 5%. Detection of the disease in early stage may be curable, but late stage metastatic disease that has spread to other organs has an extremely poor prognosis with a median survival of less than 10 months. Since metastatic melanoma is unresponsive to therapy that is currently available, research is now focused on different treatment strategies such as combinations of surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy. The molecular basis of resistance to chemotherapy seen in melanoma is multifactorial; defective drug transport system, altered apoptotic pathway, deregulation of apoptosis and/or changes in enzymatic systems that mediate cellular metabolic machinery. Understanding of alterations in molecular processes involved in drug resistance may help in developing new therapeutic approaches to treatment of malignant melanoma.
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