A proof-of-concept study of sequential treatment with the HDAC inhibitor vorinostat following BRAF and MEK inhibitors in BRAFV600mutated melanoma.



Patients with BRAFi/MEKi resistant BRAFV600 melanoma were treated with vorinostat 360 mg QD for 14 days followed by BRAFi/MEKi. The primary endpoint was an objective response rate of progressive lesions of at least 30% according to RECIST 1.1. Secondary endpoints included progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival (OS), safety, pharmacokinetics of vorinostat and translational molecular analyses using ctDNA and tumor biopsies.


Development of resistance limits the clinical benefit of BRAF and MEK inhibitors (BRAFi/MEKi) in BRAFV600 mutated melanoma. It has been shown that short-term treatment (14 days) with vorinostat was able to initiate apoptosis of the resistant tumor cells. We aimed to assess the anti-tumor activity of sequential treatment with vorinostat following BRAFi/MEKi in patients with BRAFV600 melanoma who progressed after initial response to BRAFi/MEKi.


Twenty-six patients with progressive BRAFi/MEKi resistant BRAFV600 mutated melanoma received treatment with vorinostat. Twenty-two patients were evaluable for response. The ORR was 9% (one complete response for 31.2 months and one partial response for 14.9 months. Median PFS and OS were 1.4 and 5.4 months, respectively. Common adverse events were fatigue (23%) and nausea (19%). ctDNA analysis showed emerging secondary mutations in NRAS and MEK in eight patients at time of BRAFi/MEKi resistance. Elimination of these mutations by vorinostat treatment was observed in three patients.


Intermittent treatment with vorinostat in patients with resistant BRAFV600mutated melanoma is well tolerated. Although the primary endpoint of this study was not met, durable anti-tumor responses were observed in a minority of patients (9%).

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Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research
  • Publication date 13-05-2024

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