We recently noted that low doses of sorafenib and vorinostat interact in a synergistic fashion to kill carcinoma cells by activating CD95, and this drug combination is entering phase I trials. The present studies mechanistically extended our initial observations. Low doses of sorafenib and vorinostat, but not the individual agents, caused an acidic sphingomyelinase and fumonisin B1-dependent increase in CD95 surface levels and CD95 association with caspase 8. Knock down of CD95 or FADD expression reduced sorafenib/vorinostat lethality. Signaling by CD95 caused PERK activation that was responsible for both promoting caspase 8 association with CD95 and for increased eIF2α phosphorylation; suppression of eIF2α function abolished drug combination lethality. Cell killing was paralleled by PERK- and eIF2α-dependent lowering of c-FLIP-s protein levels and over-expression of c-FLIP-s maintained cell viability. In a CD95-, FADD- and PERK-dependent fashion, sorafenib and vorinostat increased expression of ATG5 that was responsible for enhanced autophagy. Expression of PDGFRβ and FLT3 were essential for high dose single agent sorafenib treatment to promote autophagy. Suppression of PERK function reduced sorafenib and vorinostat lethality whereas suppression of ATG5 levels elevated sorafenib and vorinostat lethality. Over-expression of c-FLIP-s blocked apoptosis and enhanced drug-induced autophagy. Thus sorafenib and vorinostat promote ceramide-dependent CD95 activation followed by induction of multiple downstream survival regulatory signals: ceramide-CD95-PERK-FADD-pro-caspase 8 (death); ceramide-CD95-PERK-eIF2α -↓c-FLIP-s (death); ceramide-CD95-PERK-ATG5-autophagy (survival).
Vorinostat; Sorafenib; CD95; c-FLIP-s; PDGFRβ; FLT3; autophagy; ceramide; cell death; ASMase
Sorafenib and vorinostat interact in a synergistic fashion to kill carcinoma cells by activating CD95, and the present studies have determined individually how sorafenib and vorinostat contribute to CD95 activation. Sorafenib (3-6 μM) promoted a dose-dependent increase in Src Y416, ERBB1 Y845 and CD95 Y232/Y291 phosphorylation, and Src Y527 dephosphorylation. Low levels of sorafenib (3 μM) –induced CD95 tyrosine phosphorylation did not promote surface localization whereas sorafenib (6 μM), or sorafenib (3 μM) and vorinostat (500 nM) treatment promoted higher levels of CD95 phosphorylation that correlated with DISC formation, receptor surface localization and autophagy. CD95 (Y232F, Y291F) was not tyrosine phosphorylated and was unable to plasma membrane localize or induce autophagy. Knock down / knock out of Src family kinases abolished sorafenib –induced: CD95 tyrosine phosphorylation; DISC formation; and the induction of cell death and autophagy. Knock down of PDGFRβ enhanced Src Y416 and CD95 tyrosine phosphorylation that correlated with elevated CD95 plasma membrane levels and autophagy, and with a reduced ability of sorafenib to promote CD95 membrane localization. Vorinostat increased ROS levels; and in a delayed NFκB-dependent fashion, those of FAS ligand and CD95. Neutralization of FAS-L did not alter the initial rapid drug-induced activation of CD95 however, neutralization of FAS-L reduced sorafenib + vorinostat toxicity by ~50%. Thus sorafenib contributes to CD95 activation by promoting receptor tyrosine phosphorylation whereas vorinostat contributes to CD95 activation via initial facilitation of ROS generation and subsequently of FAS-L expression.
Vorinostat; Sorafenib; CD95; c-FLIP-s; FAS-L; cell death; autophagy
The targeted therapeutics sorafenib and vorinostat interact in a synergistic fashion to kill carcinoma cells by activating CD95, and this drug combination is entering phase I evaluation. In this study we determined how CD95 is activated by treatment with this drug combination. Low doses of sorafenib and vorinostat but not the individual drugs rapidly increased ROS, Ca2+ and ceramide levels in GI tumor cells. The production of ROS was reduced in Rho zero cells. Quenching ROS blocked drug-induced CD95 surface localization and apoptosis. ROS generation, CD95 activation and cell killing was also blocked by quenching of induced Ca2+ levels or by inhibition of PP2A. Inhibition of acidic sphingomyelinase or de novo ceramide generation blocked the induction of ROS however combined inhibition of both acidic sphingomyelinase and de novo ceramide generation was required to block the induction of Ca2+. Quenching of ROS did not impact on drug-induced ceramide/dihydro-ceramide levels whereas quenching of Ca2+ reduced the ceramide increase. Sorafenib and vorinostat treatment radiosensitized liver and pancreatic cancer cells, an effect that was suppressed by quenching ROS or knock down of LASS6. Further, sorafenib and vorinostat treatment suppressed the growth of pancreatic tumors in vivo. Our findings demonstrate that induction of cytosolic Ca2+ by sorafenib and vorinostat is a primary event that elevates dihydroceramide levels, each essential steps in ROS generation that promotes CD95 activation.
Vorinostat is the first US Food and Drug Administration–approved histone deacetylase inhibitor and is indicated for the treatment of refractory cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. We conducted a phase I study to determine the maximum-tolerated dose and pharmacokinetics of vorinostat in patients with hepatic dysfunction.
Patients and Methods
Patients had solid malignancies and acceptable bone marrow and renal function. Hepatic dysfunction was categorized as mild, moderate, or severe by the National Cancer Institute Organ Dysfunction Working Group criteria. Fifteen patients with normal liver function were enrolled as controls. All patients received a single 400-mg dose of vorinostat for pharmacokinetic studies. One week later, daily vorinostat dosing was begun and continued until toxicity or disease progression occurred. The daily vorinostat dose was escalated within each hepatic dysfunction category. Vorinostat plasma concentrations were quantitated by a validated liquid chromatography–tandem mass spectrometry assay and modeled noncompartmentally.
Fifty-seven patients were enrolled (median age, 59 years; females, n = 24); 42 patients had hepatic dysfunction (16 mild, 15 moderate, and 11 severe). Eight of nine patients with dose-limiting toxicity had grade 4 thrombocytopenia. The recommended vorinostat doses in mild, moderate, and severe hepatic dysfunction were 300, 200, and 100 mg, respectively, on the daily continuous schedule. There were no significant differences in vorinostat pharmacokinetic parameters among the normal or hepatic dysfunction categories. Disease stabilization was noted in 12 patients. Of five patients with adenoid cystic carcinoma, one patient had a partial response, and four patients had stable disease. A patient with papillary thyroid carcinoma had stable disease for more than 2 years.
Patients with varying degrees of hepatic dysfunction require appropriate dose reduction even though vorinostat pharmacokinetics are unaltered.
The intrinsic radioresistance of pancreatic cancer (PaCa) is due to multiple oncogenic signaling pathways. In contrast to combining radiation therapy (RT) with targeted therapeutic agent(s) whose blockade can be circumvented by redundant signaling pathways, we evaluated the combination of RT with a broad-spectrum histone deacetylase inhibitor, vorinostat.
Radiosensitization by vorinostat was analyzed using clonogenic survival assays. Apoptosis was evaluated using flow cytometry and immunoblotting. DNA repair was evaluated using immunofluorescence assessment of histone2AX phosphorylation and immunoblotting for DNA repair proteins. Pro-survival pathway proteins were measured by immunoblotting and electrophoretic mobility shift assays.
Vorinostat significantly sensitized PaCa cells to radiation, but vorinostat-induced apoptosis did not contribute significantly to the observed radiosensitization. However, vorinostat inhibited DNA damage repair by targeting key DNA repair proteins and also abrogated pro-survival pathways responsible for PaCa aggressiveness and radioresistance. Specifically, the constitutively overexpressed epidermal growth factor receptor and nuclear factor kappaB pathways were shown to be induced by radiation and inhibited by vorinostat.
Vorinostat augments the anti-tumor effects of RT by abrogating radioresistance responses of PaCa cells mediated by pro-survival and DNA repair pathways, and promises to be a clinically relevant adjunct to RT for treatment of PaCa.
Vorinostat; Pancreatic Cancer; Radiation; NF-κB; EGFR; Radiosensitization
Despite the availability of several Food and Drug Administration-approved drugs, advanced inoperable colorectal cancer remains incurable. In this study, we focused on the development of combined molecular targeted therapies against colon cancer by testing the efficacy of the combination of the histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat with the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib to determine if this resulted in synergistic antitumor effects against colorectal cancer. The effects of the histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat in combination with the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib on the growth of two colorectal cancer cell lines were assessed with regard to proliferation, cell cycle arrest, and apoptosis. Treatment with the combination of vorinostat and bortezomib resulted in a synergistic decrease in proliferation of both colorectal cancer cell lines compared with treatment with single agents alone. This inhibition was associated with a synergistic increase in apoptosis as measured by caspase-3/7 activity and cleaved poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. In addition, we observed an increase in the proapoptotic protein BIM and in the number of cells arrested in the G2-M phase of the cell cycle. Although p21 levels were significantly increased, short hairpin RNA knockdown of p21 did not lead to changes in proliferation in response to the combination of drugs, indicating that although p21 is a target of these drugs, it is not required to mediate their antiproliferative effects. These data indicate that combination treatment with vorinostat and bortezomib result in synergistic antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects against colon cancer cell lines, providing a rational basis for the clinical use of this combination for the treatment of colorectal cancer.
The manuscripts by Park et al.1 and Zhang et al.2 were initially planned as studies to understand the regulation of cell survival in transformed cells treated with sorafenib and vorinostat, and in primary hepatocytes treated with a bile acid+MEK1/2 inhibitor. In both cell systems we discovered that the toxicity of sorafenib and vorinostat or bile acid+MEK1/2 inhibitor exposure depended on the generation of ceramide and the ligand-independent activation of the CD95 death receptor, with subsequent activation of pro-caspase 8. We noted, however, in these systems that, in parallel with death receptor–induced activation of the extrinsic pathway, CD95 signaling also promoted increased phosphorylation of PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK) and eIF2α, increased expression of ATG5, and increased processing of LC3 and vesicularization of a GFP-LC3 construct. The knockdown of ATG5 expression blocked GFP-LC3 vesicularization and enhanced cell killing. Thus ceramide-CD95 signaling promoted cell death via activation of pro-caspase 8 and cell survival via autophagy. PERK was shown to signal in a switch-hitting fashion; PERK promoted CD95-DISC formation and an eIF2α-dependent reduction in c-FLIP-s levels that were essential for cell killing to proceed, but in parallel it also promoted autophagy that was protective. The death receptor-induced apoptosis and autophagy occur proximal to the receptor rather than the mitochondrion, and the relative flow of death receptor signaling into either pathway may determine cell fate. Finally, death receptor induced apoptosis and autophagy could be potential targets for therapeutic intervention.
Vorinostat; Sorafenib; bile acid; CD95; autophagy; ceramide; cell death; ASMase
Vorinostat, an oral histone deacetylase inhibitor with anti-tumor activity, is in clinical trials for hematological and solid tumors that metastasize and compromise bone structure. Consequently, there is a requirement to establish the effects of vorinostat on tumor growth within bone. Breast (MDA-231) and prostate (PC3) cancer cells were injected into tibias of SCID/NCr mice and the effects of vorinostat on tumor growth and osteolytic disease were assessed by radiography, μCT, histological and molecular analyses. Vorinostat-treated and control mice without tumors were also examined. Tumor growth in bone was reduced ~33% by vorinostat with inhibited osteolysis in the first few weeks of the experiment; however, osteolysis became more severe in both the vehicle and vorinostat-treated groups. Vorinostat increased the expression of tumor-derived factors promoting bone resorption, including PTHrP, IL-8 and osteopontin. After four weeks of vorinostat therapy the non-tumor bearing contra-lateral femurs as well as limbs from vorinostat-treated tumor-free SCID mice, showed significant bone loss (50% volume density of controls). Thus, our studies indicate that vorinostat effectively inhibits tumor growth in bone, but has a negative systemic effect reducing normal trabecular bone mass. Vorinostat treatment reduces tumor growth in bone and accompanying osteolytic disease as a result of decreased tumor burden in bone. However, vorinostat can promote osteopenia throughout the skeleton independent of tumor cell activity.
Vorinostat; SAHA; tumor-induced osteolysis; breast cancer; prostate cancer; metastatic cells in bone
Histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) are promising anti-cancer agents, however, their mechanisms of action remain unclear. In acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells, HDACi have been reported to arrest growth and induce apoptosis. In this study, we elucidate details of the DNA damage induced by the HDACi vorinostat in AML cells. At clinically relevant concentrations, vorinostat induces double-strand breaks and oxidative DNA damage in AML cell lines. Additionally, AML patient blasts treated with vorinostat display increased DNA damage, followed by an increase in caspase-3/7 activity and a reduction in cell viability. Vorinostat-induced DNA damage is followed by a G2-M arrest and eventually apoptosis. We found that pre-treatment with the antioxidant N-acetyl cysteine (NAC) reduces vorinostat-induced DNA double strand breaks, G2-M arrest and apoptosis. These data implicate DNA damage as an important mechanism in vorinostat-induced growth arrest and apoptosis in both AML cell lines and patient-derived blasts. This supports the continued study and development of vorinostat in AMLs that may be sensitive to DNA-damaging agents and as a combination therapy with ionizing radiation and/or other DNA damaging agents.
Uterine sarcomas are very rare malignancies with no approved chemotherapy protocols. Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors belong to the most promising groups of compounds for molecular targeting therapy. Here, we described the antitumor effects of suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA; vorinostat) on MES-SA uterine sarcoma cells in vitro and in vivo. We investigated effects of vorinostat on growth and colony forming ability by using uterine sarcoma MES-SA cells. We analyzed the influence of vorinostat on expression of different HDACs, p21WAF1 and activation of apoptosis. Finally, we examined the antitumor effects of vorinostat on uterine sarcoma in vivo.
Vorinostat efficiently suppressed MES-SA cell growth at a low dosage (3 μM) already after 24 hours treatment. Decrease of cell survival was even more pronounced after prolonged treatment and reached 9% and 2% after 48 and 72 hours of treatment, respectively. Colony forming capability of MES-SA cells treated with 3 μM vorinostat for 24 and 48 hours was significantly diminished and blocked after 72 hours. HDACs class I (HDAC2 and 3) as well as class II (HDAC7) were preferentially affected by this treatment. Vorinostat significantly increased p21WAF1 expression and apoptosis. Nude mice injected with 5 × 106 MES-SA cells were treated for 21 days with vorinostat (50 mg/kg/day) and, in comparison to placebo group, a tumor growth reduction of more than 50% was observed. Results obtained by light- and electron-microscopy suggested pronounced activation of apoptosis in tumors isolated from vorinostat-treated mice.
Our data strongly indicate the high therapeutic potential of vorinostat in uterine sarcomas.
The histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat is a candidate radiosensitizer in locally advanced rectal cancer (LARC). Radiosensitivity is critically influenced by hypoxia; hence, it is important to evaluate the efficacy of potential radiosensitizers under variable tissue oxygenation. Since fluoropyrimidine-based chemoradiotherapy (CRT) is the only clinically validated regimen in LARC, efficacy in combination with this established regimen should be assessed in preclinical models before a candidate drug enters clinical trials.
Radiosensitization by vorinostat under hypoxia was studied in four colorectal carcinoma cell lines and in one colorectal carcinoma xenograft model by analysis of clonogenic survival and tumor growth delay, respectively. Radiosensitizing effects of vorinostat in combination with capecitabine were assessed by evaluation of tumor growth delay in two colorectal carcinoma xenografts models.
Under hypoxia, radiosensitization by vorinostat was demonstrated in vitro in terms of decreased clonogenicity and in vivo as inhibition of tumor growth. Adding vorinostat to capecitabine-based CRT increased radiosensitivity of xenografts in terms of inhibited tumor growth.
Vorinostat sensitized colorectal carcinoma cells to radiation under hypoxia in vitro and in vivo and improved therapeutic efficacy in combination with capecitabine-based CRT in vivo. The results encourage implementation of vorinostat into CRT in LARC trials.
Rectal cancer; Vorinostat; Fluoropyrimidine; Hypoxia; Radiation
Interactions between the multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib and MEK1/2 inhibitors were investigated in DLBCL cells. Sorafenib (3 – 10µM) triggered apoptosis in multiple GC and ABC lymphoma cells. Unexpectedly, sorafenib did not cause sustained ERK1/2 inactivation, and in SUDHL-6 and -16 cells, triggered ERK1/2 activation. Marginally toxic MEK1/2 inhibitor concentrations (5µM PD184352) abrogated ERK1/2 activation in sorafenib-treated cells and synergistically potentiated apoptosis. MEK1 shRNA transfection also significantly increased sorafenib-mediated lethality. Sorafenib/PD184352 co-administration accelerated Mcl-1 down-regulation without upregulating BimEL. Finally, ectopic Mcl-1 expression attenuated sorafenib/PD184352-mediated apoptosis. Together, these findings provide a theoretical basis for potentiating sorafenib anti-lymphoma activity by MEK1/2 inhibitors.
Lymphoma; sorafenib; PD184352; MEK1/2/ERK1/2; Mcl-1
We observed a 53% response rate in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients treated with vorinostat plus paclitaxel/carboplatin in a Phase I trial. Studies were undertaken to investigate the mechanism (s) underlying this activity. Growth inhibition was assessed in NSCLC cells by MTT assay after 72 h of continuous drug exposure. Vorinostat (1 µM) inhibited growth by: 17±7% in A549, 28±6% in 128-88T, 39±8% in Calu1, and 41±7% in 201T cells. Vorinostat addition to carboplatin or paclitaxel led to significantly greater growth inhibition than chemotherapy alone in all 4 cell lines. Vorinostat (1 µM) synergistically increased the growth inhibitory effects of carboplatin/paclitaxel in 128-88T cells. When colony formation was measured after drug withdrawal, vorinostat significantly increased the effects of carboplatin but not paclitaxel. The % colony formation was: control 100%; 1 µM vorinostat 83% ± 10%; 5 µM carboplatin, 41% ± 11%; carboplatin/vorinostat, 8% ± 4%; 2 nM paclitaxel, 53% ± 11%; paclitaxel/vorinostat 46% ± 21%. In A549 and 128-88T, vorinostat potentiated carboplatin induction of gamma-H2AX (a DNA damage marker) and increased α-tubulin acetylation (a marker for stabilized mictrotubules). In A549, combination of vorinostat with paclitaxel resulted in a synergistic increase in α-tubulin acetylation, which reversed upon drug wash-out. We conclude that vorinostat interacts favorably with carboplatin and paclitaxel in NSCLC cells, which may explain the provocative response observed in our clinical trial. This likely involves a vorinostat-mediated irreversible increase in DNA damage in the case of carboplatin and a reversible increase in microtubule stability in the case of paclitaxel.
Vorinostat; paclitaxel; carboplatin; histone deacetylase; non-small cell lung cancer
The pro-apoptotic lipid sphingosine is phosphorylated by sphingosine kinases 1 and 2 (SK1 and SK2) to generate the mitogenic lipid sphingosine-1-phosphate (S1P). We previously reported that inhibition of SK activity delays tumor growth in a mouse mammary adenocarcinoma model. Because SK inhibitors and the multikinase inhibitor sorafenib both suppress the MAP kinase pathway, we hypothesized that their combination may provide enhanced inhibition of tumor growth. Therefore, we evaluated the effects of two SK inhibitors, ABC294640 (a SK2-specific inhibitor) and ABC294735 (a dual SK1/SK2 inhibitor), alone and in combination with sorafenib on human pancreatic adenocarcinoma (Bxpc-3) and kidney carcinoma (A-498) cells in vitro and in vivo. Exposure of either Bxpc-3 or A-498 cells to combinations of ABC294640 and sorafenib or ABC294735 and sorafenib resulted in synergistic cytotoxicity, associated with activation of caspases 3/ 7 and DNA fragmentation. Additionally, strong decreases in ERK phosphorylation were observed in Bxpc-3 and A-498 cells exposed to either the sorafenib/ABC294640 or the sorafenib/ABC294735 combination. Oral administration of either ABC294640 or ABC294735 to mice led to a delay in tumor growth in both xenograft models without overt toxicity to the animals. Tumor growth delay was potentiated by co-administration of sorafenib. These studies show that combination of an SK inhibitor with sorafenib causes synergistic inhibition of cell growth in vitro, and potentiates antitumor activity in vivo. Thus, a foundation is established for clinical trials evaluating the efficacy of combining these signaling inhibitors.
Targeted therapy; Sphingosine kinase; Sorafenib; Apoptosis; MAPK pathway
STAT3 is constitutively active in human pancreatic cancer cells and can promote cell growth and apoptosis resistance that contribute to tumorigenesis. We determined if sorafenib, a multikinase inhibitor, can induce apoptosis by targeting STAT3 signaling to enhance apoptosis induction by TRAIL.
Human pancreatic cancer cell lines (PANC-1 and BxPC-3) were pre-incubated with sorafenib (Nexavar®) alone or followed by TRAIL. Apoptosis was determined by Annexin V labeling, caspase cleavage and Bax/Bak activation. Protein expression was analyzed by immunoblotting. Knockdown of STAT3, Mcl-1 and Bim were achieved by lentiviral shRNA. Adenoviral dominant negative (DN) or retroviral constitutively active (CA) STAT3 were also utilized.
Sorafenib inhibited constitutive STAT3 phosphorylation (Tyr705) and suppressed Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL proteins in a dose- and time-dependent manner. CA-STAT3 overexpression was shown to attenuate caspase-3 cleavage and suppression of Mcl-1 by sorafenib. STAT3 knockdown or a DN STAT3 was shown to down-regulate Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL and to sensitize cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. Treatment with sorafenib enhanced TRAIL-induced Annexin V staining and release of mitochondrial cytochrome c and AIF. Since the BH3-only Bim protein is a potent inducer of mitochondrial apoptosis, Bim knockdown was shown to attenuate caspase-3,-9 cleavage and Bax/Bak activation by sorafenib plus TRAIL.
Suppression of STAT3 by genetic means or using sorafenib was shown to down-regulate Mcl-1 and Bcl-xL and to sensitize cells to TRAIL-mediated apoptosis. These data indicate that targeting STAT3 may enhance treatment efficacy against pancreatic cancer.
sorafenib; STAT3; Mcl-1; TRAIL; pancreatic cancer
Prior studies have noted that inhibitors of MEK1/2 enhanced geldanamycin lethality in malignant hematopoietic cells by promoting mitochondrial dysfunction. The present studies focused on defining the mechanism(s) by which these agents altered survival in carcinoma cells. MEK1/2 inhibitors (PD184352; AZD6244 (ARRY-142886)) interacted in a synergistic manner with geldanamycins (17AAG, 17DMAG) to kill hepatoma and pancreatic carcinoma cells that correlated with inactivation of ERK1/2 and AKT and with activation of p38 MAPK; p38 MAPK activation was ROS-dependent. Treatment of cells with MEK1/2 inhibitors and 17AAG reduced expression of c-FLIP-s that was mechanistically connected to loss of MEK1/2 and AKT function; inhibition of caspase 8 or over-expression of c-FLIP-s abolished cell killing by MEK1/2 inhibitors and 17AAG. Treatment of cells with MEK1/2 inhibitors and 17AAG caused a p38 MAPK-dependent plasma membrane clustering of CD95 without altering the levels or cleavage of FAS ligand. In parallel, treatment of cells with MEK1/2 inhibitors and 17AAG caused a p38 MAPK-dependent association of caspase 8 with CD95. Inhibition of p38 MAPK or knock down of BID, FADD or CD95 expression suppressed MEK1/2 inhibitor and 17AAG lethality. Similar correlative data were obtained using a xenograft flank tumor model system. Our data demonstrate that treatment of tumor cells with MEK1/2 inhibitors and 17AAG induces activation of the extrinsic pathway and that suppression of c-FLIP-s expression is crucial in transduction of the apoptotic signal from CD95 to promote cell death.
CD95; caspase; extrinsic; FLIP
Vorinostat, a histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor, has shown evidence of single-agent activity in glioblastoma (GBM), and in preclinical studies, we have demonstrated significant synergistic cytotoxicity between HDAC inhibitors and proteasome inhibitors in GBM cell lines. We therefore conducted a phase II trial to evaluate the efficacy of vorinostat in combination with the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib in patients with recurrent GBM. Vorinostat was administered at a dose of 400 mg daily for 14 days of a 21-day cycle, and bortezomib was administered at a dose of 1.3 mg/m2 intravenously on days 1, 4, 8, and 11 of the cycle. A total of 37 patients were treated, and treatment was well tolerated: grade 3, 4 nonhematologic toxicity occurred in 30% of patients and consisted mainly of fatigue (14%) and neuropathy (5%); grade 3, 4 hematologic toxicity occurred in 37% of patients and consisted of thrombocytopenia (30%), lymphopenia (4%), and neutropenia (4%). The trial was closed at the predetermined interim analysis, with 0 of 34 patients being progression-free at 6 months. One patient achieved a partial response according to the Macdonald criteria. The median time to progression for all patients was 1.5 months (range, 0.5–5.6 months), and median overall survival (OS) was 3.2 months. Patients who had received prior bevacizumab therapy had a shorter time to progression and OS, compared with those who had not. On the basis of the results of this phase II study, further evaluation of the vorinostat-bortezomib combination in GBM patients in this dose and schedule is not recommended.
bortezomib; phase II trial; recurrent glioblastoma; vorinostat
Potentiation of anticancer activity of capecitabine is required to improve its therapeutic index. In colorectal cancer (CRC) cells, we evaluated whether the histone deacetylase-inhibitor vorinostat may induce synergistic antitumour effects in combination with capecitabine by modulating the expression of thymidine phosphorylase (TP), a key enzyme in the conversion of capecitabine to 5-florouracil (5-FU), and thymidylate synthase (TS), the target of 5-FU.
Expression of TP and TS was measured by real-time PCR, western blotting and immunohistochemistry. Knockdown of TP was performed by specific small interfering RNA. Antitumour activity of vorinostat was assessed in vitro in combination with the capecitabine active metabolite deoxy-5-fluorouridine (5′-DFUR) according to the Chou and Talay method and by evaluating apoptosis as well as in xenografts-bearing nude mice in combination with capecitabine.
Vorinostat induced both in vitro and in vivo upregulation of TP as well as downregulation of TS in cancer cells, but not in ex vivo treated peripheral blood lymphocytes. Combined treatment with vorinostat and 5′-DFUR resulted in a synergistic antiproliferative effect and increased apoptotic cell death in vitro. This latter effect was impaired in cells where TP was knocked. In vivo, vorinostat plus capecitabine potently inhibited tumour growth, increased apoptosis and prolonged survival compared with control or single-agent treatments.
Overall, this study suggests that the combination of vorinostat and capecitabine is an innovative antitumour strategy and warrants further clinical evaluation for the treatment of CRC.
HDAC inhibitor; vorinostat; thymidine phosphorylase; thymidylate synthase; colon cancer; capecitabine
Preclinical studies indicate that vorinostat (suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid or SAHA) inhibits histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity, increases acetylated histones H2a, H2b, H3, and H4, and thereby induces differentiation and apoptosis in a variety of tumour cell lines, including murine erythroleukaemia, human bladder transitional cell carcinoma, and human breast adenocarcinoma. On the basis of these favourable preclinical findings, vorinostat has been selected as a candidate for clinical development with the potential to treat patients with selected malignances, including Hodgkin's disease and non-Hodgkin's lymphomas. Phase I clinical trials in patients with haematological malignances and solid tumours showed that both intravenous (i.v.) and oral formulations of vorinostat are well tolerated, can inhibit HDAC activity in peripheral blood mononuclear cells and tumour tissue biopsies, and produce objective tumour regression and symptomatic improvement with little clinical toxicity. The dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) of i.v. vorinostat were primarily haematologic and were rapidly reversible within 4–5 days of therapy cessation. In contrast, the DLT for oral vorinostat were primarily non-haematologic (including dehydration, anorexia, diarrhoea, fatigue) and were also rapidly reversible, usually within 3 days. Further research is warranted to optimise the dosing schedule for vorinostat, particularly with respect to dose, timing of administration, and duration of therapy, and to fully delineate the mechanism(s) of antitumour effect of vorinostat in various types of malignances. Several phase II studies are currently ongoing in patients with haematological malignances and solid tumours.
histone deacetylase; non-Hodgkin's lymphoma; vorinostat; SAHA; Hodgkin's disease; BCL-6
Histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors can radiosensitize cancer cells. Radiation is critical in high-risk neuroblastoma treatment, and combinations of HDAC inhibitor vorinostat and radiation are proposed for neuroblastoma trials. Therefore, we investigated radiosensitizing effects of vorinostat in neuroblastoma. Treatment of neuroblastoma cell lines decreased cell viability and resulted in additive effects with radiation. In a murine metastatic neuroblastoma in vivo model vorinostat and radiation combinations decreased tumor volumes compared to single modality. DNA repair enzyme Ku-86 was reduced in several neuroblastoma cells treated with vorinostat. Thus, vorinostat potentiates anti-neoplastic effects of radiation in neuroblastoma possibly due to down-regulation of DNA repair enzyme Ku-86.
Metastatic neuroblastoma; Radiation; Vorinostat; DNA repair
The ability to predict the efficacy of molecularly-targeted therapies for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) for an individual patient remains problematic. The purpose of this study was to identify tumor biomarkers, using a refined “coexpression extrapolation (COXEN)” algorithm with a continuous spectrum of drug activity, that predict drug sensitivity and therapeutic efficacy in NSCLC to Vorinostat, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, and Velcade, a proteasome inhibitor. Using our refined COXEN algorithm, biomarker prediction models were discovered and trained for Vorinostat and Velcade based on in vitro drug activity profiles of 9 NSCLC cell lines (NCI-9). Independently, a panel of 40 NSCLC cell lines (UVA-40) was treated with Vorinostat or Velcade to obtain 50% growth inhibition values. Genome-wide expression profiles for both the NCI-9 and UVA-40 cell lines were determined using HG-U133A Affymetrix platform. Modeling generated multi-gene expression signatures for Vorinostat (45-gene, p=0.002) and Velcade (15-gene, p=0.0002), with one overlapping gene (CFLAR). Examination of Vorinostat gene ontogeny revealed a predilection for cellular replication and death, whereas those of Velcade suggested involvement in cellular development and carcinogenesis. Multivariate regression modeling of the refined COXEN scores significantly predicted the activity of combination therapy in NSCLC cells (p=0.007). Through the refinement of the COXEN algorithm, we provide an in silico method to generate biomarkers that predict tumor sensitivity to molecularly-targeted therapies. Use of this refined COXEN methodology has significant implications for the a priori examination of targeted therapies to more effectively streamline subsequent clinical trial design and cost.
Lung cancer; histone deacetylase inhibitor; proteasome inhibitor; tumor biomarker; molecularly-targeted agents; chemotherapy
Epigenetic regulation of gene transcription by small molecule inhibitors of histone deacetylases (HDAC) is a novel cancer therapy. Vorinostat (Zolinza™) is the first FDA approved HDAC-inhibitor for treatment of patients with cutaneous T cell lymphoma (CTCL) who have progressive, persistent or recurrent disease on or following two systemic therapies. Vorinostat was active against solid tumors and hematologic malignancies as intravenous and oral preparations in Phase I development. In two Phase II trials, vorinostat was safe and effective at an oral dose of 400 mg/day with an overall response rate of 24%–30% in refractory advanced patients with CTCL including large cell transformation and Sézary syndrome (SS). The common side effects of vorinostat, similar in all studies, included gastro-intestinal symptoms, fatigue, and thrombocytopenia and the most common serious events were thrombosis. Vorinostat, in combination with other agents such as radiation therapy and chemotherapy, have shown synergistic or additive effects in a variety of cancers in clinical trials.
histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDAC inhibitors); suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA); vorinostat; Zolinza™; cutaneous T-cell lymphoma (CTCL); mycosis fungoides (MF); Sézary syndrome (SS)
Pemetrexed (ALIMTA) is a folate anti-metabolite that has been approved for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, and has been shown to stimulate autophagy. In the present study, we sought to further understand the role of autophagy in the response to pemetrexed and to test if combination therapy could enhance the level of toxicity through altered autophagy in tumor cells. The multikinase inhibitor sorafenib (NEXAVAR), used in the treatment of renal and hepatocellular carcinoma, suppresses tumor angiogenesis and promotes autophagy in tumor cells. We found that sorafenib interacted in a greater than additive fashion with pemetrexed to increase autophagy and to kill a diverse array of tumor cell types. Tumor cell types that displayed high levels of cell killing after combination treatment showed elevated levels of AKT, p70 S6K and/or phosphorylated mTOR, in addition to class III RTKs such as PDGFRβ and VEGFR1, known in vivo targets of sorafenib. In xenograft and in syngeneic animal models of mammary carcinoma and glioblastoma, the combination of sorafenib and pemetrexed suppressed tumor growth without deleterious effects on normal tissues or animal body mass. Taken together, the data suggest that premexetred and sorafenib act synergistically to enhance tumor killing via the promotion of a toxic form of autophagy that leads to activation of the intrinsic apoptosis pathway, and predict that combination treatment represents a future therapeutic option in the treatment of solid tumors.
pemetrexed; sorafenib; autophagy; apoptosis; PDGFR; ZMP; AMP; thymidylate synthase
Pemetrexed (ALIMTA) is a folate anti-metabolite that has been approved for the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer, and has been shown to stimulate autophagy. In the present study, we sought to further understand the role of autophagy in the response to pemetrexed and to test if combination therapy could enhance the level of toxicity through altered autophagy in tumor cells. The multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib (NEXAVAR), used in the treatment of renal and hepatocellular carcinoma, suppresses tumor angiogenesis and promotes autophagy in tumor cells. We found that sorafenib interacted in a greater than additive fashion with pemetrexed to increase autophagy and to kill a diverse array of tumor cell types. Tumor cell types that displayed high levels of cell killing after combination treatment showed elevated levels of AKT, p70 S6K and/or phosphorylated mTOR, in addition to Class III RTKs such as PDGFRβ and VEGFR1, known in vivo targets of sorafenib. In xenograft and in syngeneic animal models of mammary carcinoma and glioblastoma, the combination of sorafenib and pemetrexed suppressed tumor growth without deleterious effects on normal tissues or animal body mass. Taken together, the data suggest that premexetred and sorafenib act synergistically to enhance tumor killing via the promotion of a toxic form of autophagy that leads to activation of the intrinsic apoptosis pathway, and predict that combination treatment represents a future therapeutic option in the treatment of solid tumors.
When grown in 3D cultures as spheroids, mesothelioma cells acquire a multicellular resistance to apoptosis that resembles that of solid tumors. We have previously found that resistance to the proteasome inhibitor bortezomib in 3D can be explained by a lack of upregulation of Noxa, the pro-apoptotic BH3 sensitizer that acts via displacement of the Bak/Bax-activator BH3-only protein, Bim. We hypothesized that the histone deacetylase inhibitor vorinostat might reverse this block to Noxa upregulation in 3D. Indeed, we found that vorinostat effectively restored upregulation of Noxa protein and message and abolished multicellular resistance to bortezomib in the 3D spheroids. The ability of vorinostat to reverse resistance was ablated by knockdown of Noxa or Bim, confirming the essential role of the Noxa/Bim axis in the response to vorinostat. Addition of vorinostat similarly increased the apoptotic response to bortezomib in another 3D model, the tumor fragment spheroid, which is grown from human mesothelioma ex vivo. In addition to its benefit when used with bortezomib, vorinostat also enhanced the response to cisplatin plus pemetrexed, as shown in both 3D models. Our results using clinically relevant 3D models show that the manipulation of the core apoptotic repertoire may improve the chemosensitivity of mesothelioma. Whereas neither vorinostat nor bortezomib alone has been clinically effective in mesothelioma, vorinostat may undermine chemoresistance to bortezomib and to other therapies thereby providing a rationale for combinatorial strategies.