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  • Keynote speaker presentation
  • Open Access

Genetic heterogeneity and transcriptional plasticity drive resistance during immunotherapy and targeted therapy

  • 1
Journal of Translational Medicine201513 (Suppl 1) :K18

  • Published:


  • Melanoma
  • Signal Transduction Pathway
  • Tissue Repair
  • Genetic Heterogeneity
  • Host Immune Response

Cancer is caused by genetic, epigenetic and microenvironmental changes that facilitate the survival and proliferation of tumor cells and their ability to acquire invasive properties. The plasticity of human tumor cells generally replicates normal molecular processes occurring during development and tissue repair. In humans, cancer progression is also shaped by host immune responses that edit the final tumor-host interactions. The genetic complexity and extreme variability of human melanoma means a multidisciplinary integrative approach is needed to understand the interactions between the genetic background of the host, the tumor and its microenvironment, and the impact of these on the immune system. It is becoming evident that successful anti-tumor strategies need to encompass a multimodal approach to avoid tumor escape or relapse, combining agents able to block essential signal transduction pathways with immunotherapy.

Authors’ Affiliations

University of Zurich Hospital, Department of Dermatology, Zurich, Switzerland


© Dummer; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. 2015

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.