Novel Ras antagonist blocks human melanoma growth

B. Jansen, H. Schlagbauer-Wadl, H. Kahr, E. Heere-Ress, B. X. Mayer, H. G. Eichler, H. Pehamberger, M. Gana-Weisz, E. Ben-David, Y. Kloog, K. Wolff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During past decades, knowledge of melanoma biology has increased considerably. Numerous therapeutic modalities based on this knowledge are currently under investigation. Advanced melanoma, nevertheless, remains a prime example of poor treatment response that may, in part, be the consequence of activated N-Ras oncoproteins. Besides oncogenic Ras, wild-type Ras gene products also play a key role in receptor tyrosine kinase growth factor signaling, known to be of importance in oncogenesis and tumor progression of a variety of human neoplasms, including malignant melanoma; therefore, it is reasonable to speculate that a pharmacological approach that curtails Ras activity may represent a sensible approach to inhibit melanoma growth. To test this concept, the antitumor activity of S-trans, trans- farnesylthiosalicylic acid (FTS), a recently discovered Ras antagonist that dislodges Ras from its membrane-anchoring sites, was evaluated. The antitumor activity of FTS was assessed both in vitro and in vivo in two independent SCID mouse xenotransplantation models of human melanoma expressing either wild-type Ras (cell line 518A2) or activated Ras (cell line 607B). We show that FTS (5-50 μM) reduces the amounts of activated N-Ras and wild-type Ras isoforms both in human melanoma cells and Rat-1 fibroblasts, interrupts the Ras-dependent extracellular signal-regulated kinase in melanoma cells, inhibits the growth of N-Ras-transformed fibroblasts and human melanoma cells in vitro and reverses their transformed phenotype. FTS also causes a profound and statistically significant inhibition of 518A2 (82%) and 607B (90%) human melanoma growth in SCID mice without evidence of drug-related toxicity. Our findings stress the notion that FTS may qualify as a novel and rational treatment approach for human melanoma and possibly other tumors that either carry activated ras genes or rely on Ras signal transduction more heavily than nonmalignant cells.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14019-14024
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
StatePublished - 23 Nov 1999


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