Metastatic melanoma is the most aggressive skin cancer. Recently, phenotypically distinct subpopulations of tumor cells were identified. Among them, ABCB5-expressing cells were proposed to display an enhanced tumorigenicity with stem cell-like properties. In addition, ABCB5(+) cells are thought to participate to chemoresistance through a potential efflux function of ABCB5. Nevertheless, the fate of these cells upon drugs that are used in melanoma chemotherapy remains to be clarified. Here we explored the effect of anti-melanoma treatments on the ABCB5-expressing cells. Using a melanoma xenograft model (WM266-4), we observed in vivo that ABCB5-expressing cells are enriched after a temozolomide treatment that induces a significant tumor regression. These results were further confirmed in a preliminary study conducted on clinical samples from patients that received dacarbazine. In vitro, we showed that ABCB5-expressing cells selectively survive when exposed to dacarbazine, the reference treatment of metastatic melanoma, but also to vemurafenib, a new inhibitor of the mutated kinase V600E BRAF and other various chemotherapeutic drugs. Our results show that anti-melanoma chemotherapy might participate to the chemoresistance acquisition by selecting tumor cell subpopulations expressing ABCB5. This is of particular importance in understanding the relapses observed after anti-melanoma treatments and reinforces the interest of ABCB5 and ABCB5-expressing cells as potential therapeutic targets in melanoma.
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JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
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