Research Papers:

B-Raf inhibitor vemurafenib in combination with temozolomide and fotemustine in the killing response of malignant melanoma cells

Wynand P. Roos, Steve Quiros, Andrea Krumm, Stephanie Merz, Olivier Jérôme Switzeny, Markus Christmann, Carmen Loquai and Bernd Kaina _

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Oncotarget. 2014; 5:12607-12620. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.2610

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Wynand P. Roos1,*, Steve Quiros1,*, Andrea Krumm1, Stephanie Merz1, Olivier Jérôme Switzeny1, Markus Christmann1, Carmen Loquai2 and Bernd Kaina1

1 Institute of Toxicology, Medical University Center, Mainz, Germany

2 Department of Dermatology, Medical University Center, Mainz, Germany

* These authors contributed equally to this work


Bernd Kaina, email:

Wynand P. Roos, email:

Keywords: BRAF, Temozolomide, Fotemustine, Melanoma, Vemurafenib

Received: August 12, 2014 Accepted: October 21, 2014 Published: October 21, 2014


In the treatment of metastatic melanoma, a highly therapy-refractory cancer, alkylating agents are used and, for the subgroup of BRAFV600E cancers, the B-Raf inhibitor vemurafenib. Although vemurafenib is initially beneficial, development of drug resistance occurs leading to tumor relapse, which necessitates the requirement for combined or sequential therapy with other drugs, including genotoxic alkylating agents. This leads to the question whether vemurafenib and alkylating agents act synergistically and whether chronic vemurafenib treatment alters the melanoma cell response to alkylating agents. Here we show that a) BRAFV600E melanoma cells are killed by vemurafenib, driving apoptosis, b) BRAFV600E melanoma cells are neither more resistant nor sensitive to temozolomide/fotemustine than non-mutant cells, c) combined treatment with vemurafenib plus temozolomide or fotemustine has an additive effect on cell kill, d) acquired vemurafenib resistance of BRAFV600E melanoma cells does not affect MGMT, MSH2, MSH6, PMS2 and MLH1, nor does it affect the resistance to temozolomide and fotemustine, e) metastatic melanoma biopsies obtained from patients prior to and after vemurafenib treatment did not show a change in the MGMT promoter methylation status and MGMT expression level. The data suggest that consecutive treatment with vemurafenib and alkylating drugs is a reasonable strategy for metastatic melanoma treatment.

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