Acquired and intrinsic resistance to vemurafenib in BRAFV600E-driven melanoma brain metastases

P Zhang, LE Kuil, LCM Buil, S Freriks, JH Beijnen, O van Tellingen, MC de Gooijer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


BRAFV600-mutated melanoma brain metastases (MBMs) are responsive to BRAF inhibitors, but responses are generally less durable than those of extracranial metastases. We tested the hypothesis that the drug efflux transporters P-glycoprotein (P-gp; ABCB1) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP; ABCG2) expressed at the blood–brain barrier (BBB) offer MBMs protection from therapy. We intracranially implanted A375 melanoma cells in wild-type (WT) and Abcb1a/b;Abcg2−/− mice, characterized the tumor BBB, analyzed drug levels in plasma and brain lesions after oral vemurafenib administration, and determined the efficacy against brain metastases and subcutaneous lesions. Although contrast-enhanced MRI demonstrated that the integrity of the BBB is disrupted in A375 MBMs, vemurafenib achieved greater antitumor efficacy against MBMs in Abcb1a/b;Abcg2−/− mice compared with WT mice. Concordantly, P-gp and BCRP are expressed in MBM-associated brain endothelium both in patients and in A375 xenografts and expression of these transporters limited vemurafenib penetration into A375 MBMs. Although initially responsive, A375 MBMs rapidly developed therapy resistance, even in Abcb1a/b;Abcg2−/− mice, and this was unrelated to pharmacokinetic or target inhibition issues. Taken together, we demonstrate that both intrinsic and acquired resistance can play a role in MBMs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-111
Number of pages16
JournalFEBS Open Bio
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2024


  • BRAF
  • blood–brain barrier
  • brain metastases
  • melanoma
  • resistance
  • vemurafenib


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