The heart drug ranolazine may improve the efficacy of current therapies for melanoma in mouse models of this disease, according to research out of Navarrabiomed Biomedical Research Center, the Institute of Neurosciences CSIC-UMH, and IRB Barcelona.
The development of future clinical trials to validate and confirm the action of ranolazine in cancer patients will be facilitated by the fact that it has already been approved for use in humans and is being administered in clinical practice to treat chronic angina.
In most cases, patients with melanoma respond well to therapies directed against one of the key genes in tumour progression, namely BRAF. However, they soon develop resistance to these therapies and the tumours grow back. In addition, the latest clinical studies suggest that these patients show a poorer response to immunotherapy.
This study has provided a deeper understanding of the role of fatty acid metabolism in the development of resistance to BRAF inhibitors and demonstrated the capacity of ranolazine to slow down tumor progression. More importantly, this drug increases the visibility of melanoma cells to the immune system, thereby improving response to immunotherapies and increasing the ability of lymphocytes to control tumor growth.
The study appears in Nature Metabolism.