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Treatment of Uveal Melanoma With Extract From Primrose Plant

By: Lauren Harrison, MS
Posted: Tuesday, February 26, 2019

A new study published in Molecular Cancer Research by Jeffrey L. Benovic, PhD, of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center in Philadelphia, and colleagues suggests that FR900359 (FR) may inhibit Gαq/11 signaling in uveal melanoma cells. FR is a compound derived from a plant in the primrose family called Ardisia crenata, or Christmas berry.

“FR appears to be able to help reset the cells back to their normal state,” Dr. Benovic said in a Thomas Jefferson University press release. “Ideally, that’s what you want.”

To achieve these results, the team grew three different types of uveal melanoma cells with carcinogenic mutations. They found that FR was able to bind to purified Gαq proteins in vitro. Gαq is often mutated in uveal melanoma and induces cell proliferation. In whole-cell studies, FR was found to inhibit the growth of melanoma cells through binding to Gαq proteins. Growth was impeded due to the prevention of various cell-proliferation pathways such as ERK-MAPK. In addition, FR treatment of uveal melanoma cells may induce cell-cycle arrest and induction of apoptosis. In addition, the plant extract seemed to prevent colony formation of uveal melanoma cells and forced cellular differentiation in three-dimensional–cell culture.

“If the results are confirmed in animal models and eventually humans, it could offer a new way to treat metastatic uveal melanoma patients down the road,” said Dr. Benovic.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at

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