Inducing the Self-Digestion of Melanoma Cells

Inducing the Self-Digestion of Melanoma Cells

Author: Melania Tesio

Melanoma is an aggressive skin cancer. Although early-stage forms of this tumor are successfully treated with surgery, late-stage forms are resistant to therapies. Malignant melanoma cells, in fact, are resistant to apoptosis, a programmed cell death elicited by conventional chemotherapeutic drugs.

Quiao Wu, Xiamen University, China, and colleagues identified a compound that kills melanoma cells through an apoptosis-independent mechanism. The new chemical, 1-(3,4,5-thrihydroxyphenyl)nonan-1-one (THPN; pictured), triggers the death of malignant skin cells through autophagy, a process whereby cells self-digest their main intracellular components. As a consequence, THPN successfully inhibited tumoral growth when tested in animal models.
This compound may, thus, offer new promises for melanoma treatment.

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