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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Multiple signaling pathways must be targeted to overcome drug resistance in cell lines derived from melanoma metastases.

Although >66% of melanomas harbor activating mutations in BRAF and exhibit constitutive activity in the mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase (MEK)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase signaling pathway, it is unclear how effective MEK inhibition will be as a sole therapeutic strategy for melanoma. We investigated the anticancer activity of MEK inhibition in a panel of cell lines derived from radial growth phase (WM35) and vertical growth phase (WM793) of primary melanomas and metastatic melanomas (1205Lu, 451Lu, WM164, and C8161) in a three-dimensional spheroid model and found that the metastatic lines were completely resistant to MEK inhibition (U0126 and PD98059) but the earlier stage cell lines were not. Similarly, these same metastatic melanoma lines were also resistant to inhibitors of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway (LY294002 and wortmannin). Under adherent culture conditions, the MEK inhibitors blocked growth through the induction of cell cycle arrest and up-regulation of p27, but this was readily reversible following inhibitor washout. However, when the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase and MEK inhibitors were combined, the growth and invasion of the metastatic melanoma three-dimensional spheroids were blocked. Taken together, these results suggest that the most aggressive melanomas are resistant to strategies targeting one signaling pathway and that multiple signaling pathways may need to be targeted for maximal therapeutic efficacy. It is further suggested that BRAF mutational status is not predictive of response to MEK inhibition under three-dimensional culture conditions.[1]


  1. Multiple signaling pathways must be targeted to overcome drug resistance in cell lines derived from melanoma metastases. Smalley, K.S., Haass, N.K., Brafford, P.A., Lioni, M., Flaherty, K.T., Herlyn, M. Mol. Cancer Ther. (2006) [Pubmed]
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