Tumor immunotherapy in melanoma: Strategies for overcoming mechanisms of resistance and escape

Maya Zigler, Gabriel J. Villares, Dina C. Lev, Vladislava O. Melnikova, Menashe Bar-Eli

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The incidence of melanoma has been steadily increasing over the last 3 decades. Currently, there are several approved treatments for metastatic melanoma, including chemotherapy and biologic therapy as both single treatments and in combination, but none is associated with a significant increase in survival. The chemotherapeutic agent dacarbazine is the standard treatment for metastatic melanoma, with a response rate of 15-20%, although most responses are not sustained. One of the main problems with melanoma treatment is chemotherapeutic resistance. The mechanisms of resistance of melanoma cells to chemotherapy have yet to be elucidated. Following treatment with dacarbazine, melanoma cells activate the extracellular signal-regulated kinase pathway, which results in over-expression and secretion of interleukin (IL)-8 and vascular endothelial growth factor. Melanoma cells utilize this mechanism to escape from the cytotoxic effect of the drug. We have previously reported on the development of fully human neutralizing antibodies against IL-8 (anti-IL-8-monoclonal- antibody [ABX-IL8]). In preclinical studies, ABX-IL8 inhibited tumor growth, angiogenesis, and metastasis of human melanoma in vivo. We propose that combination treatment with dacarbazine and IL-8 will potentiate the cytotoxic effect of the drug. Furthermore, formation of metastasis is a multistep process that includes melanoma cell adhesion to endothelial cells. Melanoma cell adhesion molecule (MUC18) mediates these processes in melanoma and is therefore a good target for eliminating metastasis. We have developed a fully human antibody against MUC18 that has shown promising results in preclinical studies. Since resistance is one of the major obstacles in the treatment of melanoma, we propose that utilization of antibodies against IL-8 or MUC18 alone, or as part of a 'cocktail' in combination with dacarbazine, may be a new treatment modality for metastatic melanoma that overcomes resistance of the disease to chemotherapy and significantly improves survival of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)307-311
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Anti interleukin 8 monoclonal antibody, therapeutic use
  • Dacarbazine, therapeutic use
  • Malignant melanoma, treatment
  • Monoclonal antibodies, therapeutic use
  • Research and development


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