BRAFL597 mutations in melanoma are associated with sensitivity to MEK inhibitors

Kimberly Brown Dahlman, Junfeng Xia, Katherine Hutchinson, Charles Ng, Donald Hucks, Peilin Jia, Mohammad Atefi, Zengliu Su, Suzanne Branch, Pamela L. Lyle, Donna J. Hicks, Viviana Bozon, John A. Glaspy, Neal Rosen, David B. Solit, James L. Netterville, Cindy L. Vnencak-Jones, Jeffrey A. Sosman, Antoni Ribas, Zhongming ZhaoWilliam Pao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

167 Scopus citations


Kinase inhibitors are accepted treatment for metastatic melanomas that harbor specifi c driver mutations in BRAF or KIT, but only 40% to 50% of cases are positive. To uncover other potential targetable mutations, we conducted whole-genome sequencing of a highly aggressive BRAF (V600) and KIT (W557, V559, L576, K642, and D816) wild-type melanoma. Surprisingly, we found a somatic BRAF L597R mutation in exon 15. Analysis of BRAF exon 15 in 49 tumors negative for BRAF V600 mutations as well as driver mutations in KIT, NRAS, GNAQ, and GNA11, showed that two (4%) harbored L597 mutations and another two involved BRAF D594 and K601 mutations. In vitro signaling induced by L597R/S/Q mutants was suppressed by mitogenactivated protein (MAP)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase (MEK) inhibition. A patient with BRAF L597S mutant metastatic melanoma responded significantly to treatment with the MEK inhibitor, TAK-733. Collectively, these data show clinical significance to BRAF L597 mutations in melanoma. SIGNIFICANCE: This study shows that cells harboring BRAF L597 mutants are sensitive to MEK inhibitor treatment, providing a rationale for routine screening and therapy of BRAF L597 -mutant melanoma.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)791-797
Number of pages7
JournalCancer discovery
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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