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Melanoma Res. 1998 Feb;8(1):17-23.

Chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in melanoma cells is p53 dependent.

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Department of Medicine, University of British Columbia and the Vancouver Hospital and Health Science Centre, Canada.


Metastatic melanomas are often resistant to chemotherapy. To study whether the p53 mutational status affects chemosensitivity, we compared the responses to chemotherapy of four melanoma cell lines containing the wild-type p53 and four cell lines carrying the mutant p53. Cisplatin, at 10 microM, virtually killed all the cells in the wild-type p53 cell lines, while 57-95% of the cells in the mutant p53 cell lines survived (P = 0.005). After treatment with 100 nM of vincristine, on average 18% of the wild-type p53 melanoma cells survived compared with 55% of the mutant p53 cells (P = 0.04). After treatment with 40 nM, 200 nM or 1 microM of camptothecin the survival rates were, on average, 16%, 8% and 4% for the wild-type p53 melanoma cells, compared with 89%, 67% and 38% for the mutant p53 cells, respectively (P = 0.00004, P = 0.003 and P = 0.04, respectively). The anticancer agents were not toxic to normal melanocytes at doses inducing cytotoxicity in wild-type p53 melanoma cells. The main mechanism of cytotoxicity appears to be drug-induced apoptosis. Cisplatin, camptothecin and vincristine all induced apoptosis in wild-type p53 melanoma cells, but not in mutant p53 cells. Our results suggest that chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in melanoma cells is p53 dependent, and mutation of the p53 gene is an indicator of drug resistance in melanoma.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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