The multifaceted anti-cancer effects of BRAF-inhibitors

Laura Croce, Francesca Coperchini, Flavia Magri, Luca Chiovato _ and Mario Rotondi

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Oncotarget. 2019; 10:6623-6640. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.27304

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Laura Croce1,2, Francesca Coperchini1, Flavia Magri1,3, Luca Chiovato1,3 and Mario Rotondi1,3

1 Istituti Clinici Scientifici Maugeri IRCCS, Unit of Internal Medicine and Endocrinology, Laboratory for Endocrine Disruptors, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

2 PHD course in Experimental Medicine, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

3 Department of Internal Medicine and Therapeutics, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy

Correspondence to:

Luca Chiovato,email: luca.chiovato@icsmaugeri.it

Keywords: BRAF; BRAF-inhibitors; tumor microenvironment; chemokines; CXCL8

Received: July 22, 2019     Accepted: October 19, 2019     Published: November 12, 2019


The BRAF gene is commonly involved in normal processes of cell growth and differentiation. The BRAF (V600E) mutation is found in several human cancer, causing an increase of cell proliferation due to a modification of the ERK/MAPK-signal cascade. In particular, BRAFV600E mutation is found in those melanoma or thyroid cancer refractory to the common therapy and with a more aggressive phenotype. BRAF V600E was found to influence the composition of the so-called tumour microenvironment modulating both solid (immune-cell infiltration) and soluble (chemokines) mediators, which balance characterize the ultimate behaviour of the tumour, making it more or less aggressive. In particular, the presence of BRAFV600E mutation would be associated with a change of this balance to a more aggressive phenotype of the tumour and a worse prognosis. The investigation of the possible modulation of those components of tumour microenvironment is nowadays object of several studies as a new potential target therapy in those more complicated cases. At present several clinical trials both in melanoma and thyroid cancer are using BRAF-inhibitors with encouraging results, which are derived also from numerous in vitro pre-clinical studies aimed at evaluate the possible modulation of immune-cell density and of specific pro-tumorigenic chemokine secretion (CXCL8 and CCL2) by several BRAF-inhibitors in the context of melanoma and thyroid cancer. This review will encompass in vitro and in vivo studies which investigated the modulation of the tumour microenvironment by BRAF-inhibitors, highlighting also the most recent clinical trials with a specific focus on melanoma and thyroid cancer.

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