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J Clin Oncol. 2011 Jul 20;29(21):2904-9. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2010.33.9275. Epub 2011 Jun 20.

Phase II, open-label, single-arm trial of imatinib mesylate in patients with metastatic melanoma harboring c-Kit mutation or amplification.

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Key Laboratory of Carcinogenesis and Translational Research (Ministry of Education), Department of Renal Cancer and Melanoma, Peking University Cancer Hospital and Institute, Beijing, China.



Melanomas harbor aberrations in the c-Kit gene. We tested the efficiency of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor imatinib in selected patients with metastatic melanoma harboring c-Kit mutations or amplifications.


Forty-three patients with metastatic melanoma harboring c-Kit aberrations were enrolled on this phase II trial. Each patient received a continuous dose of imatinib 400 mg/d unless intolerable toxicities or disease progression occurred. Fifteen patients who experienced progression of disease were allowed to escalate the dose to 800 mg/d.


Forty-three patients were eligible for evaluation, and the median follow-up time was 12.0 months. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 3.5 months, and the 6-month PFS rate was 36.6%. Rate of total disease control was 53.5%: 10 patients (23.3%; 95% CI, 10.2% to 36.4%) and 13 patients (30.2%; 95% CI, 16.0% to 44.4%) achieved partial response (PR) and stable disease (SD), respectively. Eighteen patients (41.9%) demonstrated regression of tumor mass. Notably, nine of the 10 PRs were observed in patients with mutations in exons 11 or 13. The 1-year overall survival (OS) rate was 51.0%. The median PFS and OS times for patients who had PR or SD versus disease progression were 9.0 months versus 1.5 months (P < .001) and 15.0 months versus 9.0 months (P = .036), respectively. Imatinib 400 mg/d was well tolerated, and only one of the 15 patients who received dose escalation to 800 mg/d achieved SD.


Imatinib demonstrated significant activity in patients with metastatic melanoma harboring genetic c-Kit aberrations, with an overall response rate of 23.3%. Escalation to 800 mg/d could not restore disease control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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