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Combining the endoplasmic reticulum stress-inducing agents bortezomib and fenretinide as a novel therapeutic strategy for metastatic melanoma

Lookup NU author(s): Dr David Hill, Shaun Martin, Dr Jane Renwick, Dr Ross Flockhart, Dominic Simpson, Professor Mark Birch-MachinORCiD, Dr Chris RedfernORCiD, Professor Penny Lovat


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PURPOSE: Single-agent chemotherapy is largely the treatment of choice for systemic therapy of metastatic melanoma, but survival rates are low, and novel adjuvant and systemic therapies are urgently required. Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress is a potential therapeutic target, and two relatively new drugs, fenretinide and bortezomib (Velcade), each acting via different cellular mechanisms, induce ER stress leading to apoptosis in melanoma cells. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that apoptosis of melanoma cells may be increased by combining clinically achievable concentrations of fenretinide and bortezomib. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Three human melanoma cell lines were used to assess changes in viability and the induction of apoptosis in response to fenretinide, bortezomib, or both drugs together. A s.c. xenograft model was used to test responses in vivo. RESULTS: Fenretinide and bortezomib synergistically decreased viability and increased apoptosis in all three melanoma lines at clinically achievable concentrations. This was also reflected by increased expression of GADD153, a marker of ER stress-induced apoptosis. In vivo, fenretinide in combination with bortezomib gave a marked reduction in xenograft tumor volume and an increase in apoptosis compared with fenretinide or bortezomib alone. The cell cycle stage of tumor cells in vivo were similar to that predicted from the effects of each drug or the combination in vitro. CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that fenretinide and bortezomib, both of which are available in clinical formulation, warrant clinical evaluation as a combination therapy for metastatic melanoma.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Hill DS, Martin S, Armstrong JL, Flockhart R, Tonison JJ, Simpson DG, Birch-Machin MA, Redfern CPF, Lovat PE

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Clinical Cancer Research

Year: 2009

Volume: 15

Issue: 4

Pages: 1192-1198

ISSN (print): 1078-0432

ISSN (electronic): 1557-3265

Publisher: American Association for Cancer Research


DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-2150

PubMed id: 19228725


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