Resistance to BRAF Inhibitors May be Overcome with Malaria Drug

February 25, 2014

Blocking autophagy with the antimalarial drug hydroxycholoroquine may help melanoma patients overcome resistance to BRAF inhibitors. While 50 percent of patients with the BRAF mutation initially respond to treatment, nearly 100 percent exhibit disease progression seven months after treatment, making it imperative to find a way to re-sensitize the tumor to treatment. “Our laboratory studies using patient-derived melanoma samples identify autophagy as a new Achilles heel for BRAF mutant melanoma treated with BRAF inhibitors,” said Ravi K. Amaravadi, MD, assistant professor of Medicine in the Division of Hematology/Oncology. “…[W]e hope that by blocking autophagy we can reverse resistance to these drugs and extend the lives of patients with advanced BRAF mutant melanoma.”

Penn Medicine News Release
Dermatology Times article