Targeting mutant NRAS signaling pathways in melanoma

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Cutaneous melanoma is a devastating form of skin cancer and its incidence is increasing faster than any other preventable cancer in the United States. The mutant NRAS subset of melanoma is more aggressive and associated with poorer outcomes compared to non-NRAS mutant melanoma. The aggressive nature and complex molecular signaling conferred by this transformation has evaded clinically effective treatment options. This review examines the major downstream effectors of NRAS relevant in melanoma and the associated advances made in targeted therapies that focus on these effector pathways. We outline the history of MEK inhibition in mutant NRAS melanoma and recent advances with newer MEK inhibitors. Since MEK inhibitors will likely be optimized when combined with other targeted therapies, we focus on recently identified targets that can be used in combination with MEK inhibitors.

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