Targeted therapy for uveal melanoma

Cancer Treat Rev. 2008 May;34(3):247-58. doi: 10.1016/j.ctrv.2007.12.002. Epub 2008 Jan 28.


Uveal melanoma is the most common primary intra-ocular malignancy in adults. Overall mortality rate remains high because of the development of metastatic disease, which is highly resistant to systemic therapy. Improved understanding of the molecular pathogenesis of cancers has led to a new generation of therapeutic agents that interfere with a specific pathway critical in tumor development or progression. Although no specific genes have been linked to the pathogenesis of uveal melanoma, which differs from that of cutaneous melanoma, progress has been made in identifying potential targets involved in uveal melanoma apoptosis, proliferation, invasion, metastasis, and angiogenesis. This review focuses on the prospects for improving the systemic therapy of uveal melanoma using molecularly targeted agents that are currently in clinical use as well as agents being tested in clinical trials. Preclinical studies suggest potential benefit of inhibitors of Bcl-2, ubiquitin-proteasome, histone deactylase, mitogen-activated protein kinase and phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase-AKT pathways, and receptor tyrosine kinases. Modifiers of adhesion molecules, matrix metalloproteinase, and angiogenic factors also have demonstrated potential benefit. Clinical trials of some of these approaches have been initiated in patients with metastatic uveal melanoma as well as in the adjuvant setting after primary therapy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Proliferation
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Drug Delivery Systems
  • Humans
  • Melanoma / drug therapy*
  • Melanoma / etiology
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Signal Transduction
  • Uveal Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Uveal Neoplasms / etiology
  • Uveal Neoplasms / metabolism


  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt