Mutations of the ERBB4 Gene in Melanoma

Cutaneous malignant melanoma is the most common fatal skin cancer, and the incidence of this disease increases each year. The average survival time for patients diagnosed with malignant melanoma is less than ten months. Consequently, it is important to identify and understand genetic alterations leading to malignant melanoma so that new treatments strategies can be developed.

Protein tyrosine kinases (PTKs) have been associated with a wide variety of cancers, including melanoma. Using high-throughput gene sequencing, the NIH inventors have analyzed PTKs in melanoma and have identified several novel somatic alterations, including alterations in ERBB4. This invention provides methods of identifying specific inhibitors to ERBB4 that could be used to treat patients with ERBB4 mutations. Given the recent success of small molecule protein kinase inhibitors and specifically inhibitors to EGFR, this invention could be used further the development of specific inhibitors to ERBB4 and improve existing melanoma treatments for patients with these mutations.

Potential Commercial Applications: Competitive Advantages:
  • Diagnostic array for the detection of ERBB4 mutations.
  • Method of identifying ERBB4 inhibitors as therapeutic agents to treat malignant melanoma patients.

Development Stage:
The technology is currently in the pre-clinical stage of development.


Yardena Samuels (NHGRI)  ➽ more inventions...

Intellectual Property:
PCT Pat: 8,652,787 issued 2014-02-18
US Application No. 61/199,156 filed on 2008-11-12
US Application No. 13/128,125 filed on 2011-07-18
US Application No. 14/169,602 filed on 2014-01-31

Prickett TD, et al. PMID 19718025

Collaboration Opportunity:

The Cancer Genetics Branch, National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), National Institutes of Health (NIH) is seeking statements of capability or interest from parties interested in collaborative research to further develop, evaluate and/or commercialize an ERBB4-based diagnostic, prognostic and/or theranostic test as well as identify and/or evaluate ERBB4 inhibitor compounds for testing as possible candidate malignant melanoma therapeutic drugs. Please contact Claire Driscoll at for more information.

Licensing Contact:
Eggerton Campbell, Ph.D.
Phone: 301-402-1648

OTT Reference No: E-272-2008-0
Updated: May 8, 2018