Inhibition of melanoma development in the Nras(Q61K)::Ink4a−/− mouse model by the small molecule BI-69A11


Correspondence Ze'ev A. Ronai, e-mail:


To date, there are no effective therapies for tumors bearing NRAS mutations, which are present in 15–20% of human melanomas. Here we extend our earlier studies where we demonstrated that the small molecule BI-69A11 inhibits the growth of melanoma cell lines. Gene expression analysis revealed the induction of interferon- and cell death-related genes that were associated with responsiveness of melanoma cell lines to BI-69A11. Strikingly, the administration of BI-69A11 inhibited melanoma development in genetically modified mice bearing an inducible form of activated Nras and a deletion of the Ink4a gene (Nras(Q61K)::Ink4a−/−). Biweekly administration of BI-69A11 starting at 10 weeks or as late as 24 weeks after the induction of mutant Nras expression inhibited melanoma development (100 and 36%, respectively). BI-69A11 treatment did not inhibit the development of histiocytic sarcomas, which constitute about 50% of the tumors in this model. BI-69A11-resistant Nras(Q61K)::Ink4a−/− tumors exhibited increased CD45 expression, reflective of immune cell infiltration and upregulation of gene networks associated with the cytoskeleton, DNA damage response, and small molecule transport. The ability to attenuate the development of NRAS mutant melanomas supports further development of BI-69A11 for clinical assessment.