Despite recent advances in targeted therapies and immunotherapies metastatic melanoma remains only rarely curable. The objective of the present study was to identify novel therapeutic targets for metastatic melanoma. A library of 160 well-characterised and potent protein kinase inhibitors was screened in the BRAF mutant cell line Sk-Mel-28, and the NRAS mutant Sk-Mel-2, using proliferation assays. Of the 160 inhibitors tested, 20 achieved >50% growth inhibition in both cell lines. Six of the 20 were cyclin dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitors, including two CDK4 inhibitors. Fascaplysin, a synthetic CDK4 inhibitor, was further tested in 8 melanoma cell lines. The concentration of fascaplysin required to inhibit growth by 50% (IC50 value) ranged from 0.03 to 0.22 µM. Fascaplysin also inhibited clonogenic growth and induced apoptosis. Sensitivity to PD0332991, a therapeutic CDK4/6 inhibitor was also evaluated in the melanoma cell lines. PD0332991 IC50 values ranged from 0.13 to 2.29 µM. Similar to fascaplysin, PD0332991 inhibited clonogenic growth of melanoma cells and induced apoptosis. Higher levels of CDK4 protein correlated with lower sensitivity to PD0332991 in the cell lines. Combined treatment with PD0332991 and the BRAF inhibitor PLX4032, showed additive anti-proliferative effects in the BRAF mutant cell line Malme-3M. In summary, targeting CDK4 inhibits growth and induces apoptosis in melanoma cells in vitro, suggesting that CDK4 may be a rational therapeutic target for metastatic melanoma.
Dublin City University ->