TAMPA, Fla. – Patients with advanced or metastatic melanoma have been able to live longer cancer-free lives because of several new therapies approved over the last decade, such as BRAF and MEK inhibitors. However, despite the success of these targeted agents, most patients eventually develop drug resistance and their cancer regrows. A team of researchers at Moffitt Cancer Center have been working to learn more about how melanoma becomes resistant to BRAF inhibitors in order to develop new treatment strategies. They tested whether a drug targeting heat shock protein 90 (HSP90) combined with the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib could be a safe and potentially effective strategy to treat patients with melanoma. Their study was published online ahead of print in Clinical Cancer Research.
The BRAF protein is an important regulator of cell survival and growth, and therefore a potential target to control tumors. Approximately half of all melanoma patients have a mutation in the BRAF gene. Two drugs that target mutant BRAF, vemurafenib and dabrafenib, are approved to treat patients who have BRAF-mutated melanoma that cannot be removed by surgery or that has spread to other sites. These drugs improve the survival of melanoma patients and are often used in
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