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Countering TRAIL Resistance in Melanoma

Department of Dermatology, Venerology and Allergology, Skin Cancer Center Charité, Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin (University Medical Center Charité), 10117 Berlin, Germany
Cancers 2019, 11(5), 656;
Received: 30 March 2019 / Revised: 27 April 2019 / Accepted: 7 May 2019 / Published: 11 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue TRAIL Signaling in Cancer Cells)
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Melanoma of the skin has become a prime example for demonstrating the success of targeted cancer therapy. Nevertheless, high mortality has remained, mainly related to tumor heterogeneity and inducible therapy resistance. But the development of new therapeutic strategies and combinations has raised hope of finally defeating this deadly disease. TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) represents a promising antitumor strategy. The principal sensitivity of melanoma cells for TRAIL was demonstrated in previous studies; however, inducible resistance appeared as a major problem. To address this issue, combination strategies were tested, and survival pathway inhibitors were shown to sensitize melanoma cells for TRAIL-induced apoptosis. Finally, cell cycle inhibition was identified as a common principle of TRAIL sensitization in melanoma cells. Mitochondrial apoptosis pathways, pro- and antiapoptotic Bcl-2 proteins as well as the rheostat consisted of Smac (Second mitochondria-derived activator of caspase) and XIAP (X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein) appeared to be of particular importance. Furthermore, the role of reactive oxygen species (ROS) was recognized in this setting. Inducible TRAIL resistance in melanoma can be explained by (i) high levels of antiapoptotic Bcl-2 proteins, (ii) high levels of XIAP, and (iii) suppressed Bax activity. These hurdles have to be overcome to enable the use of TRAIL in melanoma therapy. Several strategies appear as particularly promising, including new TRAIL receptor agonists, Smac and BH3 mimetics, as well as selective kinase inhibitors. View Full-Text
Keywords: melanoma; TRAIL; kinases; Bcl-2 proteins; Bax; Smac; XIAP melanoma; TRAIL; kinases; Bcl-2 proteins; Bax; Smac; XIAP

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Eberle, J. Countering TRAIL Resistance in Melanoma. Cancers 2019, 11, 656.

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