Sandra Iden - A 6

Requirement of polarity networks in melanoma cell plasticity, therapy and drug resistance


Melanoma represents a fatal skin cancer with increasing incidence in the Western world and frequent metastasis. A serious problem in controlling melanoma is the marked ability of melanoma cells to reversibly switch between states of high or low differentiation and motility, thereby quickly adapting to environmental changes and evading immune surveillance. Thus, identifying strategies to restrict phenotypic switching is crucial to develop melanoma therapies with long-term success.
Conserved polarity proteins couple cell shape to control of growth, migration and differentiation. We previously uncovered important roles of the Par3 polarity complex in different epithelial cancers, in line with frequent dysregulation in human cancer. Our recent work revealed novel extrinsic functions of epidermal polarity proteins in suppressing melanoma through regulation of keratinocyte-melanocyte interactions. Here, we will decipher the in vivo relevance of polarity signaling in melanoma progression, and explore how polarity proteins contribute to clinical resistance mechanisms.

Clinical/medical relevance and sustainability in disease understanding

Melanoma is an aggressive skin malignancy with increasing lifetime risk. Despite recent progress in immune and targeted therapies, diverse resistance mechanisms pose an unresolved major problem preventing long-term treatment success. Melanoma cells display tremendous plasticity to reversibly switch on developmental and differentiation programs, fueling disease progression. Thus, studying key principles underlying melanoma plasticity will be fundamental to develop effective clinical strategies.

Dr. Sandra Iden

CECAD Cologne

Dr. Sandra Iden

Principal Investigator A 6

Work +49 221 478 89587

CECAD Research Center
Joseph-Stelzmann-Str. 26
50931 Cologne

Publications - Sandra Iden

Link to PubMed

Group Members

Melina Mescher (PhD student)
Sina Knapp (PhD student)
Dominik Kleefisch (PhD student)
Noelle Ali (PhD student)
Soriba Letzian (PhD student)
Martim Dias Gomes (PhD student)
Michael Saynisch (technician)
Alexandra Schwickert (technician)
Peter Jeong (MD student)
Ronja Bauer (MD student)