BACKGROUND Dasatinib (Sprycel) was developed as a tyrosine kinase inhibitor targeting Bcr-Abl and the family of Src kinases. Dasatinib is commonly used for the treatment of acute lymphoblastic and chronic myelogenous leukemia. Previous clinical studies in melanoma returned inconclusive results and suggested that patients respond highly heterogeneously to dasatinib as single agent or in combination with standard-of-care chemotherapeutic dacarbazine. Reliable biomarkers to predict dasatinib responsiveness in melanoma have not yet been developed. RESULTS Here, we collected comprehensive in vitro data from experimentally well-controlled conditions to study the effect of dasatinib, alone and in combination with dacarbazine, on cell proliferation and cell survival. Sixteen treatment conditions, covering therapeutically relevant concentrations ranges of both drugs, were tested in 12 melanoma cell lines with diverse mutational backgrounds. Melanoma cell lines responded heterogeneously and, importantly, dasatinib and dacarbazine did not synergize in suppressing proliferation or inducing cell death. Since dasatinib is a promiscuous kinase inhibitor, possibly affecting multiple disease-relevant pathways, we also determined if basal phospho-protein amounts and treatment-induced changes in phospho-protein levels are indicative of dasatinib responsiveness. We found that treatment-induced de-phosphorylation of p53 correlates with dasatinib responsiveness in malignant melanoma. CONCLUSIONS Loss of p53 phosphorylation might be an interesting candidate for a kinetic marker of dasatinib responsiveness in melanoma, pending more comprehensive validation in future studies.