• melanoma;
  • apoptosis;
  • TNF-α;
  • chemotherapy


Melanoma is resistant to most standard chemotherapeutics. We analysed the combined effect of doxorubicin and enzastaurin on cell death of four melanoma cell lines, namely G361, SK-MEL3, A375 and SAN. Enzastaurin IC50 was calculated by measure of growth inhibition with MTS assay and corresponded to 2 μM; the half maximal cytotoxicity of doxorubicin was obtained at 3 μM dose. Evaluation of combination index showed synergism (CI > 1) or additive effect (CI = 1) with all melanoma cell lines, with enzastaurin doses ≥0.6 μM and doxorubicin doses ≥1 μM. Combination of the two drugs resulted in increase in caspase 3 and 8 activation, in comparison with activation by single agents. Caspase 8 activation was impaired by TNFR-1 blocking. Our results show doxorubicin-stimulated production of TNFα, whereas enzastaurin-stimulated TNFR-1 expression on plasma membrane. The effect on TNFR-1 appeared to be mediated by PKCζ inhibition. Taken together, our findings suggest that enzastaurin increases doxorubicin-induced apoptosis of melanoma by a mechanism involving, at least in part, activation of the TNF-α signal.