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Melanoma Res. 1999 Aug;9(4):347-50.

Mutated N-ras upregulates Bcl-2 in human melanoma in vitro and in SCID mice.

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Institute of Biochemistry, University of Fribourg, Switzerland.

Erratum in

  • Melanoma Res 1999 Oct;9(5):530.


Activation of the N-ras gene by point mutation occurs in about 15% of all human melanomas. In recently established severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) mouse xenotransplantation models for human melanoma, we demonstrated that mutated N-ras not only contributes to tumour growth by enhancing cellular proliferation, but also by blocking apoptosis. Mutated N-ras overexpression protected human melanomas from naturally occurring apoptosis and, in a more pronounced way, from chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in vitro and in vivo. Given the potential clinical importance of these findings we sought to determine the underlying mechanism. We found that mutated N-ras specifically upregulates the expression of the anti-apoptosis gene bcl-2 in two human melanoma cell lines in vitro and in SCID mice. Neither the expression of the anti-apoptotic protein Bcl-xL nor that of the pro-apoptotic proteins Bax and Bak were altered in cells expressing mutated N-Ras. The increase in Bcl-2 expression mediated by mutated ras therefore qualifies as a rational explanation for the enhanced chemoresistance of human melanoma expressing mutated N-Ras.

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