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A Review of the Molecular Pathways Involved in Resistance to BRAF Inhibitors in Patients with Advanced-Stage Melanoma

Yangzi Tian, Weinan Guo

(Department of Dermatology, Xijing Hospital, Fourth Military Medical University, Xi’an, Shaanxi, China (mainland))

Med Sci Monit 2020; 26:e920957

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.920957

ABSTRACT: Melanoma is an aggressive malignancy of melanocytes and most commonly arises in the skin. In 2002, BRAF gene mutations were identified in melanoma, and this finding resulted in the development of several small-molecule molecular inhibitors that specifically targeted the BRAF V600E mutation. The development of targeted therapies for advanced-stage melanoma, including tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) of the BRAF (V600E) kinase, vemurafenib and dabrafenib, have been approved for the treatment of advanced melanoma leading to improved clinical outcomes. However, the development of BRAF inhibitor (BRAFi) resistance has significantly reduced the therapeutic efficacy after prolonged treatment. Recent studies have identified the molecular mechanisms for BRAFi resistance. This review aims to describe the impact of BRAFi resistance on the pathogenesis of melanoma, the current status of molecular pathways involved in BRAFi resistance, including intrinsic resistance, adaptive resistance, and acquired resistance. This review will discuss how an understanding of the mechanisms associated with BRAFi resistance may aid the identification of useful strategies for overcoming the resistance to BRAF-targeted therapy in patients with advanced-stage melanoma.

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