HSP90: New point of view on melanoma of the eye

February 19, 2008

Ocular melanoma is rarely detected before it has grown large enough to impair vision or to metastasize. This makes it a particularly challenging disease to fight, especially since chemotherapy is not very effective.

Now, the PhD research project led by Dr. Dana Faingold may open the door for very promising new treatment options for this pathology. Her first article was featured on the cover of the February 2008 issue of Clinical Cancer Research.

“The first step in developing a medication is to determine the precise target of action,” explained Dana Faingold. “In this study, we have shown that to effectively fight this malignant tumour in the vascular network of the eye, we had to target Heat Shock Protein 90 (HSP90).”

HSP90 is already a therapeutic target in many other types of cancer. In fact, this protein, which is called a “chaperone” because it guides the actions of other proteins, is at the centre of many metabolic pathways. By disrupting HSP90’s functioning, it is possible to affect multiple steps in cell metabolism, for example, signalling pathways, cell cycle regulation pathways, or growth hormone receptors. This blocks many vital cellular functions, so the cancer cells become unable to reproduce and the tumour regresses.

Clinical trials are currently being conducted to determine the effectiveness of an antibiotic called 17/AAG, an HSP90 inhibitor, against malignant tumours of the skin, breast and in patients with multiple cancers. However, no one has yet studied this inhibitor’s effect on ocular melanoma. “This is a pre-clinical study, which means we are examining in-vitro cell lines. Our results clearly prove not only that HSP90 is largely overexpressed in this type of tumour but also that the 17/AAG molecule is effective at reducing the growth of these tumoral cells,” said Dana Faingold.

Several clinical trial stages will have to be completed before 17/AAG can be recognized as a possible treatment for melanoma of the eye. The first stage, which should begin shortly, aims at proving the effectiveness of the molecule in an animal model. This in vivo confirmation is necessary before testing for human treatment can begin.

Source: McGill University

Explore further: Obesity associated with longer survival for men with metastatic melanoma

Related Stories

Obesity associated with longer survival for men with metastatic melanoma

February 12, 2018
Obese patients with metastatic melanoma who are treated with targeted or immune therapies live significantly longer than those with a normal body mass index (BMI), investigators report in a study published in Lancet Oncology ...

Old drug may have new tricks for fighting cancer

February 5, 2018
In recent years, a powerful suite of drugs known as kinase inhibitors have been developed to treat cancer and other diseases. Primary targets of such drugs include a family of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) which protrude ...

Researchers identify new way to unmask melanoma cells to the immune system

January 16, 2018
system, which enables these deadly skin cancers to grow and spread.

Genes associated with progression of melanoma identified

December 7, 2017
When researchers at the University of São Paulo (USP) in Brazil treated human melanoma cell lines with a synthetic compound similar to curcumin, one of the pigments that give turmeric (Curcuma longa) its orange color, they ...

Presurgical targeted therapy delays relapse of high-risk stage 3 melanoma

January 17, 2018
A pair of targeted therapies given before and after surgery for melanoma produced at least a six-fold increase in time to progression compared to standard-of-care surgery for patients with stage 3 disease, researchers at ...

First-in-class ERK1/2 inhibitor safe, shows early efficacy in patients with advanced solid tumors

December 15, 2017
The novel ERK1/2 kinase inhibitor ulixertinib displayed an acceptable safety profile and had clinical activity in patients whose tumors had mutations in the MAPK cell-signaling pathway, according to data from a phase I clinical ...

Recommended for you

Study tracks evolutionary transition to destructive cancer

February 23, 2018
Evolution describes how all living forms cope with challenges in their environment, as they struggle to persevere against formidable odds. Mutation and selective pressure—cornerstones of Darwin's theory—are the means ...

Researchers use a molecular Trojan horse to deliver chemotherapeutic drug to cancer cells

February 23, 2018
A research team at the University of California, Riverside has discovered a way for chemotherapy drug paclitaxel to target migrating, or circulating, cancer cells, which are responsible for the development of tumor metastases.

Lab-grown 'mini tumours' could personalise cancer treatment

February 23, 2018
Testing cancer drugs on miniature replicas of a patient's tumour could help doctors tailor treatment, according to new research.

An under-the-radar immune cell shows potential in fight against cancer

February 23, 2018
One of the rarest of immune cells, unknown to scientists a decade ago, might prove to be a potent weapon in stopping cancer from spreading in the body, according to new research from the University of British Columbia.

Putting black skin cancer to sleep—for good

February 22, 2018
An international research team has succeeded in stopping the growth of malignant melanoma by reactivating a protective mechanism that prevents tumor cells from dividing. The team used chemical agents to block the enzymes ...

Cancer risk associated with key epigenetic changes occurring through normal aging process

February 22, 2018
Some scientists have hypothesized that tumor-promoting changes in cells during cancer development—particularly an epigenetic change involving DNA methylation—arise from rogue cells escaping a natural cell deterioration ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.