Malignant melanoma is the most common lethal skin cancer and causes death in a short time when metastasized. Although BRAF inhibitors (BRAFi) have greatly improved the prognosis of BRAF-mutated melanoma, drug resistance is a major concern even when they are combined with MEK inhibitors. Alternative treatments for BRAFi-resistant melanoma are highly anticipated. Nec-tin cell adhesion molecule 4 (NECTIN4) is highly expressed and associated with progression in tu-mors. We aimed to investigate the role of NECTIN4 in melanoma and its potency as a therapeutic target using 126 melanoma samples and BRAFi-resistant cells. Immunohistochemically, most of the clinical samples expressed NECTIN4, at least in part. NECTIN4 was highly expressed in BRAF-mutated melanoma and its high expression was associated with disease-free survival. In BRAFi-resistant melanoma cells, NECTIN4 and the PI3K/Akt pathway were upregulated, along with the acquisition of BRAFi resistance. Monomethyl auristatin E, a cytotoxic part of NECTIN4-targeted antibody–drug conjugate, was effective for BRAF-mutated or BRAFi-resistant melanoma cells. NECTIN4 inhibition increased the sensitivity of BRAFi-resistant cells to BRAFi and induced apop-tosis. In conclusion, we revealed the expression and roles of NECTIN4 in melanoma. Targeted ther-apies against NECTIN4 can be a novel treatment strategy for melanoma, even after the acquisition of BRAFi resistance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Biology
- Computer Science Applications
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
- Organic Chemistry
- Inorganic Chemistry