Navigation Links
BRAF inhibitor treatment causes melanoma cells to shift how they produce energy

A multi-institutional study has revealed that BRAF-positive metastatic malignant melanomas develop resistance to treatment with drugs targeting the BRAF/MEK growth pathway through a major change in metabolism. The findings, which will be published in Cancer Cell and have been released online, suggest a strategy to improve the effectiveness of currently available targeted therapies.

"We were surprised to find that melanoma cells treated with the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib dramatically change the way they produce energy to stay alive," says David E. Fisher, MD, PhD, chief of Dermatology at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) and a co-corresponding author of the Cancer Cell paper. "While current BRAF inhibitor treatment is a major improvement shrinking tumors in most patients and extending survival for several months patients eventually relapse. So there is an ongoing need to improve both the magnitude and durability of these responses."

In about half the cases of malignant melanoma the most deadly form of skin cancer tumor growth is driven by mutations in the BRAF gene. Research by investigators at the MGH Cancer Center and elsewhere has shown that treatment with drugs that block BRAF activity temporarily halts tumor growth. Combining a BRAF inhibitor with a drug that targets MEK, another protein in the same growth pathway, strengthens and extends the antitumor response. The current study was designed to investigate how BRAF inhibition changes metabolic activity within melanoma cells and to find other possible treatment targets.

The most common way that cells convert glucose into energy is called oxidative phosphorylation and largely relies on the activity of the cellular structures called mitochondria. Many cancer cells use an alternative mechanism that produces the energy compound ATP without involving mitochondria. A series of experiments by the MGH team revealed that the elevated BRAF activity in BRAF-positive melanoma cells suppresses oxidative phosphorylation by reducing expression of a transcription factor called MITF. Suppressing production of MITF reduced levels of a protein called PGC1α that regulates the generation and function of mitochondria. But melanoma cells treated with a BRAF inhibitor showed elevated MITF activity, along with increased expression of oxidative phosphorylation genes and greater numbers of mitochondria. By switching to oxidative phosphorylation to supply the energy they need, the tumor cells increased their ability to survive in spite of BRAF inhibitor treatment.

"These findings suggest that combination treatment with mitochondrial inhibitors could improve the efficacy of BRAF inhibitors in malignant melanoma," says Fisher, the Wigglesworth Professor of Dermatology at Harvard Medical School. "Several small molecules that target mitochondrial metabolism have been identified by investigators here at the MGH and elsewhere, and laboratory investigations of specific combinations of BRAF inhibitors with mitochondrial antagonists are currently underway."


Contact: Michelle Marcella
Massachusetts General Hospital

Related medicine news :

1. Breast cancer clinical trial tests combo of heat shock protein inhibitor and hormonal therapy
2. VyGone Inhibitor Zapper: The Brand New Solution For the Safe Treatment Of Sores, Warts and Herpes
3. Inhibitors of shuttle molecule show promise in acute leukemia
4. Leukemia inhibitory factor may be a promising target against pancreatic cancer
5. Uncommon BRAF mutation in melanoma sensitive to MEK inhibitor drug therapy
6. Preclinical data support ongoing clinical trials testing IDO inhibitors as a treatment for cancer
7. PARP inhibitors may have clinical utility in HER2-positive breast cancers
8. New mechanism of action for PARP inhibitors discovered
9. PI3-kinase and PARP inhibitor combo may offer new treatment option for triple-neg breast cancers
10. Scientists at Mainz University identify inhibitor of myelin formation in the central nervous system
11. New small molecule inhibitor could be a safe and first-line treatment for metastatic breast cancer
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to extreme mood shifts ... upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there was a knife ... and say he was going to kill them. If we were driving on the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that 20 Florida attorneys ... peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent of lawyers practicing ... members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami Shareholders Mark D. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Comfort Keepers® of San Diego, CA is excited to announce ... program to drive cancer patients to and from their cancer treatments. Comfort Keepers ... of life and ongoing independence. Getting to and from medical treatments is one ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... TX (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... People ... part in Genome magazine’s Code Talker Award, an essay contest in which patients and ... an award to be presented at the 2016 National Society of Genetic Counselors (NSGC) ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... New York, NY (PRWEB) , ... June 24, ... ... lifestyle publication Haute Living, is proud to recognize Dr. Barry M. Weintraub as ... believes that “the most beautiful women in the world, and the most handsome ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , Belgium , June 24, ... VNRX), today announced the appointment of Dr. ... Directors as a Non-Executive Director, effective June 23, ... Audit, Compensation and Nominations and Governance Committees.  As ... Futcher will provide independent expertise and strategic counsel ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... , June 23, 2016  MedSource announced today ... its e-clinical software solution of choice.  This latest ... possible value to their clients by offering a ... preferred relationship establishes nowEDC as the EDC platform ... MedSource,s full-service clients.  "nowEDC has long been a ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Calif. , June 23, 2016 Any dentist ... many challenges of the current process. Many of them do ... of the technical difficulties and high laboratory costs involved. And ... to offer it at such a high cost that the ... it. Dr. Parsa Zadeh , founder of ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: