Targeting nodal in conjunction with dacarbazine induces synergistic anticancer effects in metastatic melanoma

Katharine M. Hardy, Luigi Strizzi, Naira V. Margaryan, Kanika Gupta, George F. Murphy, Richard A. Scolyer, Mary J.C. Hendrix*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Metastatic melanoma is a highly aggressive skin cancer with a poor prognosis. Despite a complete response in fewer than 5% of patients, the chemotherapeutic agent dacarbazine (DTIC) remains the reference drug after almost 40 years. More recently, FDAapproved drugs have shown promise but patient outcome remains modest, predominantly due to drug resistance. As such, combinatorial targeting has received increased attention, and will advance with the identification of new molecular targets. One attractive target for improvingmelanomatherapy is the growth factor Nodal, whose normal expression is largely restricted to embryonic development, but is reactivated in metastatic melanoma. In this study, we sought to determine how Nodal-positive human melanoma cells respond to DTIC treatment and to ascertain whether targeting Nodal in combination with DTIC would be more effective than monotherapy. A single treatment with DTIC inhibited cell growth but did not induce apoptosis. Rather than reducing Nodal expression, DTIC increased the size of the Nodal-positive subpopulation, an observation coincident with increased cellular invasion. Importantly, clinical tissue specimens from patients with melanomas refractory to DTIC therapy stained positive for Nodal expression, both in pre-and post-DTIC tumors, underscoring the value of targeting Nodal. In vitro, anti-Nodal antibodies alone had some adverse effects on proliferation and apoptosis, but combining DTIC treatment with anti-Nodal antibodies decreased cell growth and increased apoptosis synergistically, at concentrations incapable of producing meaningful effects as monotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)670-680
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Volume13
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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