Human tumor genomics and zebrafish modeling identify SPRED1 loss as a driver of mucosal melanoma

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Science  30 Nov 2018:
Vol. 362, Issue 6418, pp. 1055-1060
DOI: 10.1126/science.aau6509

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Hunting and fishing for cancer genes

Mucosal melanoma is a rare, but deadly, form of melanoma that occurs in sun-protected tissues. Little is known about the genetic alterations that drive the growth of these tumors. Ablain et al. sequenced mucosal melanomas from 43 patients and found that a substantial fraction showed inactivation or loss of SPRED1, a gene that encodes a negative regulator of RAS–MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) signaling. Using a platform called MAZERATI (Modeling Approach in Zebrafish for Rapid Tumor Initiation), they discovered that SPRED1 loss may help explain the poor response of melanoma patients to drugs that inhibit the KIT tyrosine kinase. The results suggest that a combination of KIT inhibitors and drugs that inhibit MAPK signaling may be more effective.

Science, this issue p. 1055