Current and Emerging Biomarkers in Melanoma


For the last decade, molecular classification of cutaneous melanoma has guided systemic therapy for unresectable and metastatic disease. During this period, we have also learned where somatic mutation testing can be strategically used to help resolve diagnostic uncertainty. While standard-of-care mutation testing in melanoma has remained stable, therapeutic breakthroughs and the evolution of medical oncology has outpaced laboratory biomarker development. Now, more than ever, there is significant clinical need for assays that improve risk stratification for this deadly disease. Recent data from clinical trial specimens hint at potential utility for circulating tumor DNA testing in improving risk stratification for stage II-IV melanoma. Nevertheless, more clinical validation studies are needed. In contrast, genomic signatures derived from melanoma and other tumors, such as global mutation burden and inflammatory gene expression, are purely investigational but suggest a biomarker framework for future clinical trials in immuno-oncology.

Originally published on February 7, 2023

Lecture Presenter

Allie H. Grossmann, MD, PhD

Allie H. Grossmann, MD, PhD

Associate Professor of Pathology
University of Utah School of Medicine
Medical Director, Anatomic Pathology and Molecular Oncology
ARUP Laboratories

Dr. Allie H. Grossmann is the medical director of anatomic pathology and molecular oncology at ARUP Laboratories and an associate professor at the University of Utah School of Medicine. She graduated from Oregon Health Science University with her doctorate and medical degrees. She then completed an anatomic pathology residency, molecular medicine fellowship, and a molecular genetic pathology fellowship at the University of Utah School of Medicine. Dr. Grossmann is certified by the American Board of Pathology in molecular genetic pathology and anatomic pathology. She is the recipient of the Harry J. Lloyd Charitable Trust Career Development award, the NCI K08 Mentored Clinical Scientist award, and the American Cancer Society Research Scholars Grant. Her research interests include mechanisms of tumorigenesis, metastasis, and the development of targeted and immunotherapies for cancer treatment.


After this presentation, participants will be able to:

  • Describe the major mutational drivers in cutaneous melanoma and how the predictive role of somatic mutation testing guides treatment decisions for advanced disease
  • Discuss the diagnostic utility of somatic mutation testing for undifferentiated melanoma and in resolving diagnostic uncertainty in metastatic melanoma
  • Recognize unmet clinical needs where molecular/genomic biomarkers may have utility in melanoma
  • Review recent clinical trial and preclinical studies that define a new paradigm for combining immune checkpoint blockade with targeted therapy
  • Discuss investigational biomarkers for melanoma staging and predicting therapeutic response

Sponsored by:

University of Utah School of Medicine, Department of Pathology, and ARUP Laboratories