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Clin Cancer Res. 2006 Apr 1;12(7 Pt 2):2366s-2370s.

Chemotherapy and targeted therapy combinations in advanced melanoma.

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Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA.


For three decades, clinical trials with chemotherapy in melanoma have failed to show superiority of any one regimen over another. Dacarbazine remains the only "standard" agent. With response rates of <10% and median progression-free survival of 2 months or less in contemporary trials, there is a need to improve systemic therapy. Combination chemotherapy is associated with higher response rates than single-agent therapy but this has not translated into improved survival. An increasing number of potential therapeutic targets have been identified. For some, pharmacologic inhibitors are available, including sorafenib for BRAF, farnesyltransferase inhibitors for NRAS, PD-0325901 for mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase, rapamycin analogues for mammalian target of rapamycin, and agents that inhibit either vascular endothelial growth factor or its receptors. Several multitargeted kinase inhibitors have potency against the fibroblast growth factor receptor, c-kit, and platelet-derived growth factor receptor. Small-molecule inhibitors of c-met and Akt are in preclinical development. Another class of agents indirectly affect aberrant signaling, including inhibitors of chaperones and proteasomes. Several targeted agents seem to enhance the cytotoxicity of chemotherapy in preclinical models. The mechanism by which signaling inhibition might synergize with chemotherapy requires more study so that rational combinations move forward. Very few targeted agents have been studied rigorously in this fashion.

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