Prospects for non-immunological molecular therapeutics in melanoma
Eustace, Alexander J. and Mahgoub, Thamir and Tryfonopoulos, Dimitrios and O'Donovan, Norma and Crown, John (2010) Prospects for non-immunological molecular therapeutics in melanoma. Journal of B.U.ON. : official journal of the Balkan Union of Oncology, 15 (Jan-Mar). pp. 9-18. ISSN 1107-0625
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In 2006 there were 60,000 new cases of cutaneous melanoma in the European Union and 13,000 deaths (www.europeancancerleagues.org). Currently available systemic treatment options for metastatic melanoma, including both cytotoxic and immunologic therapies, produce low rates of response and have modest survival impact. Therefore, there is an urgent need for effective novel therapies. Molecularly targeted treatments have demonstrated efficacy in certain cancers e.g. in HER2-positive breast cancer and in chronic myeloid leukaemia.
Several pathways are currently being investigated as potential molecular targets in melanoma. The best studied is BRAF which is frequently mutated in melanoma. A multi tyrosine kinase inhibitor, sorafenib, which targets BRAF, has shown promising activity in preclinical studies and is currently being tested in combination with chemotherapy in patients with metastatic disease.
In addition to BRAF, therapies which target other components of the Raf/Ras/MAPK pathway are being investigated. Other novel targets currently being investigated include the PI3/AKT pathway, tyrosine kinases, angiogenesis, poly (ADP ribose) polymerases, survivin and heat shock protein 90. Progress on preclinical and clinical evaluation of these novel targets in melanoma will be reviewed.
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