Molecular and Cellular Oncology

Group Leader
Giovanna Barbieri


Istituto per la Ricerca e l’Innovazione Biomedica

Via Ugo La Malfa, 153 – 90146 Palermo
Tel. +39 0503757523


Melanoma is one of the most aggressive cancers worldwide and the deadliest form of skin cancer whose incidence rate is increasing rapidly in western populations. Indeed, new targeted therapies and immunotherapeutic strategies have changed significantly the landscape of metastatic melanoma treatment, transforming the metastatic melanoma in an oncological model and in a prototype for innovative therapies. Indeed, MHC class II molecules are expressed in almost 50% of melanoma and although the MHC class II molecules expressed in melanoma cells may directly present tumour antigens to CD4+ T cells and trigger their effector functions, the constitutive MHC class II expression in melanoma is related to a bad prognosis. Therefore, in the light of the hypothesis that MHC class II constitutive expression in melanoma cells could be associated to immune escape and metastatic progression, we studied the HLA-DR mediated signalling that could interfere with the effectiveness of the checkpoint immunotherapy, making ineffective the T cells reactivation strategies, increasing the immune evasion and the metastatic dissemination of melanoma.

Principali progetti e attività

Dr. Caterina Di Sano, IRIB-CNR

Prof. Catherine Alcaide-Loridan Université Diderot, Paris, France

Strumenti / Tecnologie