Involvement of ABC transporters in melanogenesis and the development of multidrug resistance of melanoma

Kevin G Chen, Julio C Valencia, Jean-Pierre Gillet, Vincent J Hearing, Michael M Gottesman

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review


Because melanomas are intrinsically resistant to conventional radiotherapy and chemotherapy, many alternative treatment approaches have been developed such as biochemotherapy and immunotherapy. The most common cause of multidrug resistance (MDR) in human cancers is the expression and function of one or more ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters that efflux anticancer drugs from cells. Melanoma cells express a group of ABC transporters (such as ABCA9, ABCB1, ABCB5, ABCB8, ABCC1, ABCC2, and ABCD1) that may be associated with the resistance of melanoma cells to a broad range of anticancer drugs and/or of melanocytes to toxic melanin intermediates and metabolites. In this review, we propose a model (termed the ABC-M model) in which the intrinsic MDR of melanoma cells is at least in part because of the transporter systems that may also play a critical role in reducing the cytotoxicity of the melanogenic pathway in melanocytes. The ABC-M model suggests molecular strategies to reverse MDR function in the context of the melanogenic pathway, which could open therapeutic avenues towards the ultimate goal of circumventing clinical MDR in patients with melanoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)740-9
Number of pages10
JournalPigment cell & melanoma research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • ATP-Binding Cassette Transporters
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Drug Resistance, Multiple
  • Drug Resistance, Neoplasm
  • Humans
  • Melanins
  • Melanocytes
  • Melanoma
  • Melanosomes
  • Models, Biological
  • Neoplasm Metastasis
  • Neoplastic Stem Cells
  • P-Glycoprotein


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