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01.12.2018 | Melanom | Case report | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Cancer 1/2018

Itraconazole treatment of primary malignant melanoma of the vagina evaluated using positron emission tomography and tissue cDNA microarray: a case report

BMC Cancer > Ausgabe 1/2018
Kayo Inoue, Hiroshi Tsubamoto, Roze Isono-Nakata, Kazuko Sakata, Nami Nakagomi



Primary malignant melanoma of the vagina is extremely rare, with a poorer prognosis than cutaneous malignant melanoma. Previous studies have explored the repurposing of itraconazole, a common oral anti-fungal agent, for the treatment of various cancers. Here, we describe a patient with metastatic, unresectable vaginal malignant melanoma treated with 200 mg oral itraconazole twice a day in a clinical window-of-opportunity trial.

Case presentation

A 64-year-old Japanese woman with vaginal and inguinal tumours was referred to our institution. On the basis of an initial diagnosis of vaginal cancer metastatic to the inguinal lymph nodes, we treated her with itraconazole in a clinical trial until the biopsy and imaging study results were obtained. During this period, biopsies were performed three times, and 18F-fluoro-deoxyglucose positron emission tomography (FDG/PET)–computed tomography (CT) was performed twice. Biopsy results confirmed the diagnosis of primary malignant melanoma of the vagina. Imaging studies revealed metastases to multiple sites, including the brain, for which she underwent gamma-knife radiosurgery. During the window period before nivolumab initiation, the patient received itraconazole for 30 days. Within a week of itraconazole initiation, pain in the inguinal nodes was ameliorated. PET–CT on days 6 and 30 showed a reduction in tumour size and FDG uptake, respectively. The biopsied specimens obtained on days 1, 13, and 30 were subjected to cDNA microarray analysis, which revealed a 100-fold downregulation in the transcription of four genes: STATH, EEF1A2, TTR, and CDH2. After 12 weeks of nivolumab administration, she developed progressive disease and grade 3 immune-related hepatitis. Discontinuation of nivolumab resulted in the occurrence of left pelvic and inguinal pain. Following re-challenge with itraconazole, the patient has not reported any pain for 4 months.


The findings of this case suggest that itraconazole is a potential effective treatment option for primary malignant melanoma of the vagina. Moreover, we identified potential itraconazole target genes, which could help elucidate the mechanism underlying this disease and potentially aid in the development of new therapeutic agents.
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