Strategies to overcome resistance to molecularly targeted melanoma therapy

May 20, 2017


The identification of driver mutations in melanoma has changed the field of cancer treatment. BRAF and NRAS mutations are predominant in melanoma and lead to overactivation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT) signaling pathways. Selective inhibitors targeting key effectors of the MAPK pathway have revolutionized the treatment of patients with advanced metastatic BRAF-mutant melanoma. However, resistance to therapy is almost universal and remains a major challenge in clinical care, with the majority of patients progressing within 1 year. Dissecting the mechanisms of resistance to targeted therapies may offer new insights into strategies for overcoming resistance.

This review describes the efficacy of therapies targeting the MAPK and PI3K/AKT signaling pathways in melanoma, details the mechanisms contributing to drug resistance, and discusses current approaches to improving outcomes further. 


Lim, SY, et al.  Mechanisms and strategies to overcome resistance to molecularly targeted therapy for melanoma.  Cancer 2017;123:2118-29.  Open access article.

This article appears in a special issue of Cancer that is focused upon advances in melanoma biology.  Other articles can be found here.

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