J Clin Oncol 2004 Jun 3;22(11):2092-100. Epub 2004 May 3.
Department of Cancer Biology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Unit 0173, 7777 Knight Rd, Houston, TX 77054, USA.
Purpose: In recent years, the incidence of cutaneous melanoma has increased more than that of any other cancer. Dacarbazine is considered the gold standard for treatment, having a response rate of 15% to 20%, but most responses are not sustained. Previously, we have shown that short exposure of primary cutaneous melanoma cells to dacarbazine resulted in the upregulation of interleukin-8 (IL-8) and vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). The purpose of the present study was to determine how long-term exposure of melanoma cells to dacarbazine would affect their tumorigenic and metastatic potential in vivo.
Materials And Methods: The primary cutaneous melanoma cell lines SB2 and MeWo were repeatedly exposed in vitro to increasing concentrations of dacarbazine, and dacarbazine-resistant cell lines SB2-D and MeWo-D were selected and examined for their ability to grow and metastasize in nude mice.
Results: The dacarbazine-resistant cell lines SB2-D and MeWo-D exhibited increased tumor growth and metastatic behavior in vivo. This increase could be explained by the activation of RAF, MEK, and ERK, which led to the upregulation of IL-8 and VEGF. More IL-8, VEGF, matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2), and microvessel density (CD-31) were found in tumors produced by SB2-D and MeWo-D in vivo than in those produced by their parental counterparts. No mutations were observed in BRAF.
Conclusion: Our results have significant clinical implications. Treatment of melanoma patients with dacarbazine could select for a more aggressive melanoma phenotype. We propose that combination treatment with anti-VEGF/IL-8 or MEK inhibitors may potentiate the therapeutic effects of dacarbazine.