Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New way to combat drug resistance in skin cancer found

Date:
May 22, 2014
Source:
Cancer Research UK
Summary:
Rapid resistance to vemurafenib – a treatment for a type of advanced melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer – could be prevented by blocking a druggable family of proteins, according to research. Scientists have revealed the MLK family of four enzymes 'undoes' the tumour-shrinking effects of vemurafenib.

Vemurafenib doesn’t cure advanced melanoma. But it can prolong life by months, relieve the symptoms of the disease, and shows more clinical effect than almost every other treatment for advanced melanoma.
Credit: Image courtesy of Cancer Research UK

Rapid resistance to vemurafenib -- a treatment for a type of advanced melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer -- could be prevented by blocking a druggable family of proteins, according to research published in Nature Communications today.

Related Articles


Scientists at the Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, based at the University of Manchester, have revealed the MLK family of four enzymes 'undoes' the tumour-shrinking effects of vemurafenib.

Around half of metastatic melanomas -- aggressive skin cancer that has spread to other parts of the body -- are caused by a fault in the cell-growth gene BRAF, causing the signal telling cells to multiply to be permanently switched on.

Vemurafenib blocks BRAF and stops the cancerous cells from growing. But cancer cells usually find a different way to turn the pathway back on -- cancelling out the drug's effects. Most metastatic melanoma patients stop responding to the drug within about six months, leading to a relapse of the disease.

This new research has found MLK enzymes can be responsible for reactivating the BRAF pathway, even in the presence of vemurafenib. By blocking these enzymes, which previous studies have shown is already possible, the researchers hope they can stop resistance to vemurafenib so the cancer cells are still vulnerable to the drug.

The findings also show that some melanoma patients have additional gene mutations that switch MLK genes on, causing patients to develop resistance to vemurafenib more quickly.

Lead author, Dr John Brognard, at Cancer Research UK Manchester Institute, said: "This exciting research reveals that melanoma cells have enzymes acting like a manual override switch to regenerate growth signals -- even after vemurafenib has switched them off.

"Additionally, this family of enzymes are turned on in metastatic melanomas that are not caused by BRAF, suggesting they may serve as a new target in metastatic melanomas for which there are limited treatment options.

"The good news is there are already experimental drugs that can block these enzymes in the laboratory. And this research paves the way for the development of drugs to overcome vemurafenib resistance in melanoma patients."

Professor Nic Jones, Cancer Research UK's chief scientist and director of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, a partnership between CRUK, The University of Manchester and The Christie NHS Foundation Trust, said: "This exciting research opens new routes to treat this difficult disease. Thanks to people's generosity we've funded research that revealed that the BRAF gene is behind around half of all melanomas. And several drugs that target BRAF are now showing promise in clinical trials.

"Rates of melanoma in Britain are now five times higher than in the mid-1970s, but survival rates have also improved, with more than eight in 10 surviving for more than 10 years.

"We hope this latest research will lead to new treatments enabling even more people to beat this disease. Melanoma research is a key priority for the Manchester Cancer Research Centre."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Cancer Research UK. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Anna A. Marusiak, Zoe C. Edwards, Willy Hugo, Eleanor W. Trotter, Maria R. Girotti, Natalie L. Stephenson, Xiangju Kong, Michael G. Gartside, Shameem Fawdar, Andrew Hudson, Wolfgang Breitwieser, Nicholas K. Hayward, Richard Marais, Roger S. Lo, John Brognard. Mixed lineage kinases activate MEK independently of RAF to mediate resistance to RAF inhibitors. Nature Communications, 2014; 5 DOI: 10.1038/ncomms4901

Cite This Page:

Cancer Research UK. "New way to combat drug resistance in skin cancer found." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 May 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522074259.htm>.
Cancer Research UK. (2014, May 22). New way to combat drug resistance in skin cancer found. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 4, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522074259.htm
Cancer Research UK. "New way to combat drug resistance in skin cancer found." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/05/140522074259.htm (accessed March 4, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) — Researchers found adults only get the flu about once every five years. Scientists analyzed how a person&apos;s immunity builds up over time as well. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) — With no bathrooms to use, climbers of Mount Everest have been leaving human waste on the mountain for years, and it&apos;s becoming a health issue. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) has more. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Obamacare's New Supreme Court Battle

Obamacare's New Supreme Court Battle

Washington Post (Mar. 4, 2015) — The Affordable Care Act is facing another challenge at the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell, which deals with subsidies for health insurance. The case could cut out a major provision of Obamacare, causing the law to unravel. Here’s what you need to know about the case. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
Investigation Finds Hurt Workers Suffer More In Some States

Investigation Finds Hurt Workers Suffer More In Some States

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) — ProPublica and NPR&apos;s joint investigation found drastic cuts to workers compensation benefits and employees&apos; access to those benefits. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins