B Nickoloff (Ed)
Published by Humana Press (2001)
ISBN: 0-90603-684-7. 362 pages plus index.
This book on the biology, immunology, pathology and microbiology of melanoma deserves a place in the library of all units with a specific interest in melanoma research and management. The aim of the book as stated by the editor is to provide a comprehensive and up-to-date summary of the most important advances in the field pertaining to melanoma.
Each author was asked to provide an overview of their area of research and a detailed experimental protocol to allow investigators outside the field to successfully use their techniques in their own laboratories. The subject matter of the book is very broad, ranging from molecular biology through to surgical treatment techniques in the treatment of primary melanoma. The wide-ranging nature of the contributions to this book makes an assessment of its value difficult for a general reader.
Without considerable understanding of basic microbiological techniques many of the chapters would be incomprehensible. However, to experts in the field, many chapters provide a good overview of the current status of progress in that area and a detailed description of the methodologies currently in use for molecular analysis of melanoma tissue. Some of the chapters are extremely detailed, eg the chapter on the role of molecular biology in diagnostic pathology of melanoma, while some chapters provide only a one or two page overview followed by many pages of detailed methodology, ie the chapter on isolation of tumour suppressive genes in melanoma by gene array analysis.
For the general reader the introductory chapter on the many molecular mysteries of melanoma by Brian J Nickoloff is an excellent overview of current approaches to the molecular biology of melanoma.
The chapter on surgical techniques seems somewhat out of place in a text on molecular biology but provides a reasonable overview of the management of primary cutaneous melanoma. Unfortunately the book was printed prior to the new AJCC/UICC classification system and thus does not reflect the new understandings developed from the recent detailed analysis of 30,000 melanoma case records by the AJCC melanoma committee.
This book can certainly be recommended for anybody working in the field of microbiology. It gives a good overview of the entire field of melanoma microbiology and enables those with a specialised interest in a specific area of microbiology to review and utilise the work of other researchers in this important and rapidly developing field.