New targeted therapy schedule prevents melanomas becoming resistant

Scientific Developments/Breakthroughs

Altering the schedules of anti-melanoma drug administration can help improve their effectiveness against skin cancer, new research has indicated.

A study carried out by the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Jefferson Health, Thomas Jefferson University, revealed that changes to schedules proved more effective in shrinking tumours in mice, since the melanomas were not given the kind of exposure to them that would enable resistance to build up. 

“Using two different anti-melanoma drugs on different schedules can help prevent tumours building up resistance, a new study has found. “

The study, published in Cancer Discovery, used two drugs - MEK inhibitor and the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib. It found that if both were given intermittently tumours gained resistance and resumed growth after about eight weeks.

However, lead researcher Dr Andrew Aplin and his team discovered if one was used continuously and the other intermittently, the tumours shrank. This was the case whichever drug was in constant use.

Dr Aplin remarked that the results were unexpected in many respects, commenting: "The surprising part was that the mechanisms of resistance all funneled through one signaling pathway, ultimately, but the way that they start is frequently different."


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