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author:("hauska, Paul")
1.  A phase I trial of the IGF-1R antibody Cixutumumab in combination with temsirolimus in patients with metastatic breast cancer 
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) plays a critical role in promoting tumor cell growth and is frequently activated in breast cancer. In preclinical studies, the antitumor activity of mTOR inhibitors is attenuated by feedback up-regulation of AKT mediated in part by Insulin-like growth factor type 1 receptor (IGF-1R). We designed a phase I trial to determine the maximum-tolerated dose (MTD) and pharmacodynamic effects of the IGF-1R antibody Cixutumumab in combination with temsirolimus in patients with metastatic breast cancer refractory to standard therapies. A 3 + 3 Phase I design was chosen. Temsirolimus and Cixutumumab were administered intravenously on days 1, 8, 15, and 22 of a 4-week cycle. Of the 26 patients enrolled, four did not complete cycle 1 because of disease progression (n = 3) or comorbid condition (n = 1) and were replaced. The MTD was determined from the remaining 22 patients, aged 34–72 (median 48) years. Most patients (86 %) had estrogen receptor positive cancer. The median number of prior chemotherapy regimens for metastatic disease was 3. The MTD was determined to be Cixutumumab 4 mg/kg and temsirolimus 15 mg weekly. Dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) included mucositis, neutropenia, and thrombocytopenia. Other adverse events included grade 1/2 fatigue, anemia, and hyperglycemia. No objective responses were observed, but four patients experienced stable disease that lasted for at least 4 months. Compared with baseline, there was a significant increase in the serum levels of IGF-1 (p < 0.001) and IGFBP-3 (p = 0.019) on day 2. Compared with day 2, there were significant increases in the serum levels of IGF-1 (p < 0.001), IGF-2 (p = 0.001), and IGFBP-3 (p = 0.019) on day 8. A phase II study in women with metastatic breast cancer is ongoing.
PMCID: PMC4517667  PMID: 23605083
Cixutumumab; Temsirolimus; Metastatic breast cancer; IGF-1R; mTOR
2.  NCCTG N08CA (Alliance): The use of Glutathione for Prevention of Paclitaxel/Carboplatin Induced Peripheral Neuropathy: A Phase III Randomized, Double-Blind Placebo-Controlled Study 
Cancer  2014;120(12):1890-1897.
Chemotherapy-induced peripheral neuropathy (CIPN) is a significant side effect of taxane and platinum based chemotherapy. Several studies have supported the potential benefit of glutathione for the prevention of platinum-induced CIPN. The current trial was designed to determine whether glutathione would prevent CIPN as a result of carboplatin/paclitaxel therapy.
185 patients undergoing treatment with paclitaxel and carboplatin were accrued between 12/04/2009 and 12/19/2011. Patients were randomized to receive either placebo (n=91) or 1.5 g/m2 glutathione (n=94) over 15 minutes immediately prior to chemotherapy. CIPN was assessed using the EORTC-CIPN20 sensory subscale and the NCI Common Terminology Criteria for Adverse Events (CTCAE), version 4.0.
There were no statistically significant differences between the two study arms with regard to 1) peripheral neurotoxicity, assessed utilizing both EORTC-QLQ-CIPN20 (p=0.21) and CTCAE scales (p=0.449 for grade 2+ neurotoxicity; p=0.039 for time to development of grade 2+ neuropathy, in favor of the placebo); 2) the degree of the paclitaxel acute pain syndrome (p=0.30 for patients who received every 3–4 week paclitaxel vs. p=0.002, in favor of the placebo, for patients who received weekly paclitaxel); 3) the time to disease progression (p=0.63); or 4) apparent toxicities. Subgroup analysis did not reveal any evidence of benefit in any particular subgroup.
This study does not support the use of glutathione for the prevention of paclitaxel/carboplatin-induced CIPN.
PMCID: PMC4047184  PMID: 24619793
glutathione; chemotherapy induced peripheral neuropathy; prevention; paclitaxel; carboplatin
3.  Conventional Chemotherapy and Oncogenic Pathway Targeting in Ovarian Carcinosarcoma Using a Patient-Derived Tumorgraft 
PLoS ONE  2015;10(5):e0126867.
Ovarian carcinosarcoma is a rare subtype of ovarian cancer with poor clinical outcomes. The low incidence of this disease makes accrual to large clinical trials challenging. However, studies have shown that treatment responses in patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models correlate with matched-patient responses in the clinic, supporting their use for preclinical testing of standard and novel therapies. An ovarian carcinosarcoma PDX is presented herein and showed resistance to carboplatin and paclitaxel (similar to the patient) but exhibited significant sensitivity to ifosfamide and paclitaxel. The PDX demonstrated overexpression of EGFR mRNA and gene amplification by array comparative genomic hybridization (log2 ratio 0.399). EGFR phosphorylation was also detected. Angiogensis and insulin-like growth factor pathways were also implicated by overexpression of VEGFC and IRS1. In order to improve response to chemotherapy, the PDX was treated with carboplatin/paclitaxel with or without a pan-HER and VEGF inhibitor (BMS-690514) but there was no tumor growth inhibition or improved animal survival, which may be explained by a KRAS mutation. Resistance was also observed when the IGF-1R inhibitor BMS-754807 was combined with carboplatin/paclitaxel. Because poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors have activity in ovarian cancer patients, with and without BRCA mutations, ABT-888 was also tested but found to have no activity. Pathogenic mutations were also detected in TP53 and PIK3CA. In conclusion, ifosfamide/paclitaxel was superior to carboplatin/paclitaxel in this ovarian carcinosarcoma PDX and gene overexpression or amplification alone was not sufficient to predict response to targeted therapy. Better predictive markers of response are needed.
PMCID: PMC4427104  PMID: 25962155
4.  Phase I Dose-Escalation Study of MEDI-573, a Bispecific, Antiligand Monoclonal Antibody against IGFI and IGFII, in Patients with Advanced Solid Tumors 
This phase I, multicenter, open-label, single-arm, dose-escalation, and dose-expansion study evaluated the safety, tolerability, and antitumor activity of MEDI-573 in adults with advanced solid tumors refractory to standard therapy or for which no standard therapy exists.
Experimental Design
Patients received MEDI-573 in 1 of 5 cohorts (0.5, 1.5, 5, 10, or 15 mg/kg) dosed weekly or 1 of 2 cohorts (30 or 45 mg/kg) dosed every 3 weeks. Primary end points included the MEDI-573 safety profile, maximum tolerated dose (MTD), and optimal biologic dose (OBD). Secondary end points included MEDI-573 pharmacokinetics (PK), pharmacodynamics, immunogenicity, and antitumor activity.
In total, 43 patients (20 with urothelial cancer) received MEDI-573. No dose-limiting toxicities were identified, and only 1 patient experienced hyperglycemia related to treatment. Elevations in levels of insulin and/or growth hormone were not observed. Adverse events observed in >10% of patients included fatigue, anorexia, nausea, diarrhea, and anemia. PK evaluation demonstrated that levels of MEDI-573 increased with dose at all dose levels tested. At doses >5 mg/kg, circulating levels of insulin-like growth factor (IGF)-I and IGFII were fully suppressed. Of 39 patients evaluable for response, none experienced partial or complete response and 13 had stable disease as best response.
The MTD of MEDI-573 was not reached. The OBD was 5 mg/kg weekly or 30 or 45 mg/kg every 3 weeks. MEDI-573 showed preliminary antitumor activity in a heavily pretreated population and had a favorable tolerability profile, with no notable perturbations in metabolic homeostasis.
PMCID: PMC4377301  PMID: 25024259
5.  Oncolytic Measles Virus Expressing the Sodium Iodide Symporter to Treat Drug-Resistant Ovarian Cancer 
Cancer research  2014;75(1):22-30.
Edmonston vaccine strains of measles virus (MV) have significant antitumor activity in mouse xenograft models of ovarian cancer. MV engineered to express the sodium iodide symporter gene (MV-NIS) facilitates localization of viral gene expression and offers a tool for tumor radiovirotherapy. Here, we report results from a clinical evaluation of MV-NIS in patients with taxol- and platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. MV-NIS was given intraperitoneally every 4 weeks for up to 6 cycles. Treatment was well tolerated and associated with promising median overall survival in these patients with heavily pretreated ovarian cancer; no dose-limiting toxicity was observed in 16 patients treated at high-dose levels (108–109 TCID50), and their median overall survival of 26.5 months compared favorably with other contemporary series. MV receptor CD46 and nectin-4 expression was confirmed by immunohistochemistry in patient tumors. Sodium iodide symporter expression in patient tumors after treatment was confirmed in three patients by 123I uptake on SPECT/CTs and was associated with long progression-free survival. Immune monitoring posttreatment showed an increase in effector T cells recognizing the tumor antigens IGFBP2 and FRα, indicating that MV-NIS treatment triggered cellular immunity against the patients' tumor and suggesting that an immune mechanism mediating the observed antitumor effect. Our findings support further clinical evaluation of MV-NIS as an effective immunovirotherapy.
PMCID: PMC4377302  PMID: 25398436
6.  Tumorgrafts as in vivo surrogates for women with ovarian cancer 
Ovarian cancer has a high recurrence and mortality rate. A barrier to improved outcomes includes a lack of accurate models for preclinical testing of novel therapeutics.
Experimental Design
Clinically-relevant, patient-derived tumorgraft models were generated from sequential patients and the first 168 engrafted models are described. Fresh ovarian, primary peritoneal, and fallopian tube carcinomas were collected at the time of debulking surgery and injected intraperitoneally into severe combined immunodeficient mice.
Tumorgrafts demonstrated a 74% engraftment rate with microscopic fidelity of primary tumor characteristics. Low-passage tumorgrafts also showed comparable genomic aberrations with the corresponding primary tumor and exhibit gene set enrichment of multiple ovarian cancer molecular subtypes, similar to patient tumors. Importantly, each of these tumorgraft models are annotated with clinical data and for those that have been tested, response to platinum chemotherapy correlates with the source patient.
Presented herein is the largest known living tumor bank of patient-derived, ovarian tumorgraft models that can be applied to the development of personalized cancer treatment.
PMCID: PMC3947430  PMID: 24398046
Severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mouse; xenograft; intraperitoneal; heterotransplantation; orthotopic; preclinical
7.  Pharmacokinetics of endoxifen and tamoxifen in female mice: implications for comparative in vivo activity studies 
Cancer chemotherapy and pharmacology  2014;74(6):1271-1278.
Reduced CYP2D6 metabolism and low Z-endoxifen (ENDX) concentrations may increase the risk of breast cancer recurrence in tamoxifen (TAM)-treated women. Little is known regarding the differences between TAM and ENDX murine pharmacokinetics or the effect of administration route on plasma concentrations of each drug.
The pharmacokinetics of TAM and ENDX were characterized in female mice.
For subcutaneous [s.c.] and oral TAM (4, 10 and 20 mg/kg), TAM AUC increased in a linear manner, but concentrations of the active metabolites [ENDX and 4-hydroxytamoxifen (4HT)] remained low. For oral TAM (20 mg), 4HT concentrations were tenfold greater (>25 ng/ml) than achievable in TAM-treated humans. Both oral (10–200 mg/kg) and s.c. (2.5–25 mg/kg) ENDX·HCl resulted in a greater than dose-proportional increase in AUC, with eightfold greater ENDX concentrations than an equivalent TAM dose. ENDX accumulated in plasma after 5-day dosing of 25 or 100 mg/kg ENDX·HCl and exceeded target concentrations of 0.1 and 1.0 μM, respectively, by twofold to fourfold.
In murine models, oral ENDX yields substantially higher ENDX concentrations, compared to TAM. The low 4HT and ENDX concentrations observed in mice receiving s.c. TAM mirror the TAM pharmacokinetics in humans with impaired CYP2D6 metabolism. These data support the ongoing development of ENDX as a novel agent for the endocrine treatment of ER-positive breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC4343319  PMID: 25318936
Endoxifen; Tamoxifen; Mouse; Pharmacokinetics; Estrogen receptor; MCF7
8.  Understanding the Key to Targeting the IGF Axis in Cancer: A Biomarker Assessment 
Frontiers in Oncology  2015;5:142.
Type 1 insulin like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R) targeted therapies showed compelling pre-clinical evidence; however, to date, this has failed to translate into patient benefit in Phase 2/3 trials in unselected patients. This was further complicated by the toxicity, including hyperglycemia, which largely results from the overlap between IGF and insulin signaling systems and associated feedback mechanisms. This has halted the clinical development of inhibitors targeting IGF signaling, which has limited the availability of biopsy samples for correlative studies to understand biomarkers of response. Indeed, a major factor contributing to lack of clinical benefit of IGF targeting agents has been difficulty in identifying patients with tumors driven by IGF signaling due to the lack of predictive biomarkers. In this review, we will describe the IGF system, rationale for targeting IGF signaling, the potential liabilities of targeting strategies, and potential biomarkers that may improve success.
PMCID: PMC4495315  PMID: 26217584
insulin receptor; insulin-like growth factor receptor; IGF binding proteins; biomarker discovery; IGF system and signaling; insulin receptor substrate proteins; endocrine system diseases; targeted therapies
9.  Dual HER/VEGF receptor targeting inhibits in vivo ovarian cancer tumor growth 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2013;12(12):10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-13-0547.
Ovarian cancer mortality ranks highest among all gynecological cancers with growth factor pathways playing an integral role in tumorigenesis, metastatic dissemination and therapeutic resistance. The human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) are both overexpressed and/or aberrantly activated in subsets of ovarian tumors. While agents targeting either the HER or VEGF pathways alone have been investigated, the impact of these agents have not led to overall survival benefit in ovarian cancer. We tested the hypothesis that co-targeting HER and VEGFR would maximize anti-tumor efficacy at tolerable doses. To this end, ovarian cancer xenografts grown intraperitoneally in athymic nude mice were tested in response to AC480 (pan HER inhibitor, “HERi”), cediranib (pan VEGFR inhibitor “VEGFRi”), or BMS-690514 (combined HER/VEGFR inhibitor “EVRi”). EVRi was superior to both HERi and VEGFRi in terms of tumor growth, final tumor weight and progression-free survival. Correlative tumor studies employing phosphoproteomic antibody arrays revealed distinct agent-specific alterations, with EVRi inducing the greatest overall effect on growth factor signaling. These data suggest that simultaneous inhibition of HER and VEGFR may benefit select subsets of ovarian cancer tumors. To this end, we derived a novel HER/VEGF signature that correlated with poor overall survival in high-grade, late stage, serous ovarian cancer patient tumors.
PMCID: PMC3880137  PMID: 24130056
Targeted therapy; EVRi; ovarian cancer; VEGF; HER; erbB; AC480; BMS-690514; cediranib
10.  Can we unlock the potential of IGF-1R inhibition in cancer therapy? 
Cancer treatment reviews  2014;40(9):1096-1105.
IGF-1R inhibitors arrived in the clinic accompanied by optimism based on preclinical activity of IGF-1R targeting, and recognition that low IGF bioactivity protects from cancer. This was tempered by concerns about toxicity to normal tissue IGF-1R and cross-reactivity with insulin receptor (InsR). In fact, toxicity is not a show-stopper; the key issue is efficacy. While IGF-1R inhibition induces responses as monotherapy in sarcomas and with chemotherapy or targeted agents in common cancers, negative Phase 2/3 trials in unselected patients prompted the cessation of several Pharma programs. Here, we review completed and on-going trials of IGF-1R antibodies, kinase inhibitors and ligand antibodies. We assess candidate bio-markers for patient selection, highlighting the potential predictive value of circulating IGFs/IGFBPs, the need for standardized assays for IGF-1R, and preclinical evidence that variant InsRs mediate resistance to IGF-1R antibodies. We review hypothesis-led and unbiased approaches to evaluate IGF-1R inhibitors with other agents, and stress the need to consider sequencing with chemotherapy. The last few years were a tough time for IGF-1R therapeutics, but also brought progress in understanding IGF biology. Even failed studies include patients who derived benefit; they should be investigated to identify features distinguishing the tumors and host environment of responders from non-responders. We emphasize the importance of incorporating biospecimen collection into trial design, and wording patient consents to allow post hoc analysis of trial material as new data become available. Such information represents the key to unlocking the potential of this approach, to inform the next generation of trials of IGF signalling inhibitors.
PMCID: PMC4196677  PMID: 25123819
IGF; Type 1 IGF receptor; IGF-1R cancer therapy; Therapeutic antibody; Tyrosine kinase inhibitor; Predictive biomarker
11.  Patient-Derived Xenograft Models in Gynecological Malignancies 
In the era of targeted therapies, patients with gynecological malignancies have not yet been major beneficiaries of this new class of agents. This may reflect the fact that the main tumor types, ovarian, uterine and cervical cancers, are a highly heterogeneous group of cancers, with variable response to standard chemotherapies. This is also likely due to poor model development in which to study the diversity of these cancers. Cancer-derived cell lines fail to adequately recapitulate molecular hallmarks of specific cancer subsets and complex microenvironments, which may be critical for sensitivity to targeted therapies. Patient derived xenografts (PDX), using fresh human tumor without prior in vitro culture, combined with whole genome expression, gene copy number and sequencing analyses, could dramatically aid novel therapy development in gynecological malignancies. Gynecological tumors can be engrafted in immunodeficient mice with a high rate of success and within a reasonable time frame. The resulting PDX accurately recapitulate the patient’s tumour in histological, molecular and in vivo treatment response characteristics. Orthotopic PDX develop complications relevant for the clinic, such as ascites and bowel obstruction, providing opportunities for understanding the biology of these clinical problems. Thus, PDX have great promise for delivering improved understanding of gynecological malignancies, serve as better models for designing novel therapies and clinical trials and could underpin individualized, directed therapy for patients from whom PDX models have been established.
PMCID: PMC4156101  PMID: 24857111
ovarian cancer; cervical cancer; model systems
12.  Developing Safety Criteria for Introducing New Agents into Neoadjuvant Trials 
New approaches to drug development are critically needed to lessen the time, cost, and resources necessary to identify and optimize active agents. Strategies to accelerate drug development include testing drugs earlier in the disease process, such as the neoadjuvant setting. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued guidance designed to accelerate drug approval through the use of neoadjuvant studies in which the surrogate short-term endpoint, pathologic response, can be used to identify active agents and shorten the time to approval of both efficacious drugs and biomarkers identifying patients most likely to respond. However, this approach has unique challenges. In particular, issues of patient safety are paramount, given the exposure of potentially curable patients to investigational agents with limited safety experience. Key components to safe drug development in the neoadjuvant setting include defining a study population at sufficiently poor prognosis with standard therapy to justify exposure to investigational agents, defining the extent and adequacy of safety data from phase I, detecting potentially harmful interactions between investigational and standard therapies, improving study designs, such as adaptive strategies, that limit patient exposure to ineffective agents, and intensifying safety monitoring in the course of the trial. The I-SPY2 trial is an example of a phase II neoadjuvant trial of novel agents for breast cancer in which these issues have been addressed, both in the design and conduct of the trial. These adaptations of phase II design enable acceleration of drug development by reducing time and cost to screen novel therapies for activity without compromising safety.
PMCID: PMC4096560  PMID: 23470967
13.  Dual IGF-1R/InsR Inhibitor BMS-754807 Synergizes with Hormonal Agents in Treatment of Estrogen-Dependent Breast Cancer 
Cancer research  2011;71(24):7597-7607.
Insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling has been implicated in the resistance to hormonal therapy in breast cancer. Using a model of postmenopausal, estrogen-dependent breast cancer, we investigated the antitumor effects of the dual IGF-1R/InsR tyrosine kinase inhibitor BMS-754807 alone and in combination with letrozole or tamoxifen. BMS-754807 exhibited antiproliferative effects in vitro that synergized strongly in combination with letrozole or 4-hydroxytamoxifen and fulvestrant. Similarly, combined treatment of BMS-754807 with either tamoxifen or letrozole in vivo elicited tumor regressions not achieved by single-agent therapy. Notably, hormonal therapy enhanced the inhibition of IGF-1R/InsR without major side effects in animals. Microarray expression analysis revealed downregulation of cell-cycle control and survival pathways and upregulation of erbB in response to BMS-754807 plus hormonal therapy, particularly tamoxifen. Overall, these results offer a preclinical proof-of-concept for BMS-754807 as an antitumor agent in combination with hormonal therapies in hormone-sensitive breast cancer. Cooperative cell-cycle arrest, decreased proliferation, and enhanced promotion of apoptosis may contribute to antitumor effects to be gauged in future clinical investigations justified by our findings.
PMCID: PMC4004036  PMID: 22042792
14.  Hormone response in ovarian cancer: time to reconsider as a clinical target? 
Endocrine-related cancer  2012;19(6):R255-R279.
Ovarian cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide among women in developed countries and the most lethal of all gynecologic malignancies. There is a critical need for the introduction of targeted therapies to improve outcome. Epidemiological evidence suggests a critical role for steroid hormones in ovarian tumorigenesis. There is also increasing evidence from in vitro studies that estrogen, progestin, and androgen regulate proliferation and invasion of epithelial ovarian cancer cells. Limited clinical trials have shown modest response rates; however, they have consistently identified a small subset of patients that respond very well to endocrine therapy with few side effects. We propose that it is timely to perform additional well-designed trials that should include biomarkers of response.
PMCID: PMC3696394  PMID: 23045324
15.  Phase I study of temsirolimus in combination with EKB-569 in patients with advanced solid tumors 
Investigational new drugs  2011;30(5):10.1007/s10637-011-9742-1.
Activation of EGFR can stimulate proliferative and survival signaling through mTOR. Preclinical data demonstrates synergistic activity of combined EGFR and mTOR inhibition. We undertook a phase I trial of temsirolimus (T, an mTOR inhibitor) and EKB-569 (E, an EGFR inhibitor) to determine the safety and tolerability.
The primary aim was to determine the maximally tolerated dose (MTD) of this combination in adults with solid tumors. Following the dose-escalation phase, (Cohort A), two subsequent cohorts were used to assess any pharmacokinetic (PK) interaction between the agents.
Forty eight patients were enrolled. The MTD of this combination was E, 35 mg daily and T, 30 mg on days 1–3 and 15–17 using a 28-day cycle. The most common toxicities were nausea, diarrhea, fatigue, anorexia, stomatitis, rash, anemia, neutropenia, thrombocytopenia, and hypertriglyceridemia. Sixteen patients (36%) had at least one grade 3 toxicity. The most frequent grade 3/4 toxicities were diarrhea, dehydration, and nausea and vomiting (19% each). No grade 5 events were seen. Four patients had a partial response and 15 had stable disease. Clinical benefit was seen across a range of tumor types and in all cohorts. PK analysis revealed no significant interaction between E and T.
This combination of agents is associated with tolerable toxicities at doses that induced responses. PK studies revealed no interaction between the drugs. Further investigations of this targeting strategy may be attractive in renal cell carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer, alveolar sarcoma, and carcinoid tumor.
PMCID: PMC3816525  PMID: 21881915
CCI-779; EKB-569; Temsirolimus; Phase I; Pharmacokinetics; Solid tumors
16.  Quantifying Insulin Receptor Isoform Expression in FFPE Breast Tumors 
The development of predictive biomarkers for IGF targeted anti-cancer therapeutics remains a critical unmet need. The insulin receptor A isoform (InsR-A) has been identified as a possible biomarker candidate but quantification of InsR-A in widely available formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissues is complicated by its similarities with the metabolic signaling insulin receptor isoform B (InsR-B). In the present study, qPCR based assays specific for InsR-A, InsR-B and IGF-1R were developed for use in FFPE tissues and tested for feasible use in clinical archived FFPE estrogen receptor (ER) + and ER− breast cancer tumors.
FFPE compatible primer sets were designed with amplicon sizes of less than 60 base pairs and validated for target specificity, assay repeatability and amplification efficiency. FFPE tumors from ER+ (n=83) and ER− (n=64) primary untreated breast cancers, and ER+ hormone refractory (HR ER+) (n=61) breast cancers were identified for feasibility testing. The feasible use of InsR-A and InsR-B qPCRs were tested using all tumor groups and the feasibility of IGF-1R qPCR was determined using HR ER+ tumors.
All qPCR assays were highly reproducible with amplification efficiencies between 96–104% over a 6 log range with limits of detection of 4 or 5 copies per reaction. Greater than 90% of samples were successfully amplified using InsR-A, InsR-B or IGF-1R qPCR primer sets and greater than 88% of samples tested amplified both InsR isoforms or both isoforms and IGF-1R. InsR-A was the predominant isoform in 82% ER+, 68% ER− and 100% HR ER+ breast cancer. Exploratory analyses demonstrated significantly more InsR-A expression in ER+ and HR ER+ groups compared to InsR-B (ER+ p< 0.05, HR ER+ p< 0.0005) and both groups had greater InsR-A expression when compared to ER− tumors (ER+ p< 0.0005, HR ER+ p< 0.05). IGF-1R expression of HR ER+ tumors was lower than InsR-A (p<0.0005) but higher than InsR-B (p<0.0005). The InsR-B expression of HR ER+ tumors was significantly reduced compared other tumor subgroups (ER+ and ER−, p< 0.0005) and lead to a significant elevation of HR ER+ InsR-A:InsR-B ratios (ER+ and ER−, p< 0.0005).
The validated, highly sensitive InsR-A and InsR-B qPCR based assays presented here are the first to demonstrate the feasible amplification of InsR isoforms in FFPE tissues. Quantification data generated from this feasibility study indicating InsR-A is more predominant than InsR-B in breast cancer support the use of these assays for further investigation of InsR-A and InsR-B as predictive biomarkers for IGF targeted therapeutics.
PMCID: PMC3392524  PMID: 22551578
Real-time; qPCR; breast cancer; receptor; insulin; receptor; IGF Type 1; monoclonal antibodies; therapeutic use; protein kinase inhibitors
17.  IGF System in Cancer 
PMCID: PMC3614012  PMID: 22682634
18.  IGFBP ratio confers resistance to IGF targeting and correlates with increased invasion and poor outcome in breast tumors 
Clinical Cancer Research  2012;18(6):1808-1817.
To improve the significance of insulin-like growth factor binding protein 5 (IGFBP-5) as a prognostic and potentially predictive marker in breast cancer patients.
Experimental Design
Increased IGFBP-5 expression was identified in MCF-7 cells resistant (MCF-7R4) to the IGF-1R/InsR inhibitor, BMS-536924 and its role examined by targeted knockdown and overexpression in multiple experimental models. Protein expression of IGFBP-5 was measured by immunohistochemistry in a cohort of 76 breast cancer patients to examine correlative associations with invasive tumor fraction and outcome. The utility of a combined IGFBP-5/IGFBP-4 (BPR) expression ratio was applied to predict anti-IGF-1R/InsR response in a panel of breast cancer lines and outcome in multiple breast tumor cohorts.
IGFBP-5 knockdown decreased BMS-536924 resistance in MCF-7R4 cells, while IGFBP-5 overexpression in MCF-7 cells conferred resistance. When compared to pathologically normal reduction mammoplasty tissue, IGFBP-5 expression levels were upregulated in both invasive and histologically normal adjacent breast cancer tissue. In both univariate and multivariate modeling, metastasis-free survival (MFS), recurrence free survival (RFS), and overall survival (OS) were significantly associated with high IGFBP-5 expression. Prognostic power of IGFBP-5 was further increased with the addition of IGFBP-4 where tumors were ranked based upon IGFBP-5/IGFBP-4 expression ratio (BPR). Multiple breast cancer cohorts confirm that BPR (high vs. low) was a strong predictor of RFS and OS.
IGFBP-5 expression is a marker of poor outcome in breast cancer patients. An IGFBP-5/IGFBP-4 expression ratio may serve as a surrogate biomarker of IGF pathway activation and predict sensitivity to anti-IGF-1R-targeting.
PMCID: PMC3306532  PMID: 22287600
IGFBP; breast cancer; poor outcome
19.  A Phase II Study of Gemcitabine in Combination with Tanespimycin in Advanced Epithelial Ovarian and Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma 
Gynecologic Oncology  2011;124(2):210-215.
To evaluate the efficacy and biological effects of the gemcitabine/tanespimycin combination in patients with advanced ovarian and peritoneal cancer. To assess the effect of tanespimycin on tumor cells, levels of the chaperone proteins HSP90 and HSP70 were examined in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) and paired tumor biopsy lysates.
Two-cohort phase II clinical trial. Patients were grouped according to prior gemcitabine therapy. All participants received tanespimycin 154 mg/m2 on days 1 and 9 of cycle 1 and days 2 and 9 of subsequent cycles. Patients also received gemcitabine 750 mg/m2 on day 8 of the first treatment cycle and days 1 and 8 of subsequent cycles.
The tanespimycin/gemcitabine combination induced a partial response in 1 gemcitabine naïve patient and no partial responses in gemcitabine resistant patients. Stable disease was seen in 6 patients (2 gemcitabine naïve and 4 gemcitabine resistant). The most common toxicities were hematologic (anemia and neutropenia) as well as nausea and vomiting. Immunoblotting demonstrated limited upregulation of HSP70 but little or no change in levels of most client proteins in PBMC and paired tumor samples.
Although well tolerated, the tanespimycin/gemcitabine combination exhibited limited anticancer activity in patients with advanced epithelial ovarian and primary peritoneal carcinoma, perhaps because of failure to significantly downregulate the client proteins at clinically achievable exposures.
PMCID: PMC3265019  PMID: 22047770
Phase I/II Trials; Tanespimycin; gemcitabine; ovarian cancer; peritoneal cancer; heat shock protein 90
20.  Patient-Derived Xenograft Models to Improve Targeted Therapy in Epithelial Ovarian Cancer Treatment 
Frontiers in Oncology  2013;3:295.
Despite increasing evidence that precision therapy targeted to the molecular drivers of a cancer has the potential to improve clinical outcomes, high-grade epithelial ovarian cancer (OC) patients are currently treated without consideration of molecular phenotype, and predictive biomarkers that could better inform treatment remain unknown. Delivery of precision therapy requires improved integration of laboratory-based models and cutting-edge clinical research, with pre-clinical models predicting patient subsets that will benefit from a particular targeted therapeutic. Patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) are renewable tumor models engrafted in mice, generated from fresh human tumors without prior in vitro exposure. PDX models allow an invaluable assessment of tumor evolution and adaptive response to therapy. PDX models have been applied to pre-clinical drug testing and biomarker identification in a number of cancers including ovarian, pancreatic, breast, and prostate cancers. These models have been shown to be biologically stable and accurately reflect the patient tumor with regards to histopathology, gene expression, genetic mutations, and therapeutic response. However, pre-clinical analyses of molecularly annotated PDX models derived from high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HG-SOC) remain limited. In vivo response to conventional and/or targeted therapeutics has only been described for very small numbers of individual HG-SOC PDX in conjunction with sparse molecular annotation and patient outcome data. Recently, two consecutive panels of epithelial OC PDX correlate in vivo platinum response with molecular aberrations and source patient clinical outcomes. These studies underpin the value of PDX models to better direct chemotherapy and predict response to targeted therapy. Tumor heterogeneity, before and following treatment, as well as the importance of multiple molecular aberrations per individual tumor underscore some of the important issues addressed in PDX models.
PMCID: PMC3849703  PMID: 24363999
ovarian cancer; patient-derived xenografts; pre-clinical models; targeted therapy; clinical trials
21.  Phase II Trial of Lapatinib and Topotecan (LapTop) in Patients with Platinum-Refractory/Resistant Ovarian and Primary Peritoneal Carcinoma 
Gynecologic oncology  2011;122(1):116-120.
Resistance to chemotherapy is a major challenge in the treatment of ovarian/peritoneal cancer. One purported mechanism of topotecan resistance is the breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) and P-glycoprotein (Pgp). We designed a phase II clinical trial evaluating the efficacy and adverse events profile of concomitant topotecan and lapatinib, a small molecule pan-erbB inhibitor that can block BCRP/Pgp efflux of topotecan.
Patients with platinum-refractory or resistant epithelial ovarian/peritoneal cancer were treated with topotecan 3.2 mg/m2 IV on Day 1, 8 and 15 and lapatinib 1250 mg PO daily, continuously in 28 day cycles. The primary endpoint was response rate. For correlative studies, archived tissue was assessed for expression of EGFR, HER2, HIF-1α, CD31, and BCRP.
Eighteen patients were enrolled and treated. Four experienced evidence of clinical benefit: one partial response and three with stable disease. Using a two-stage Simon design, the trial was stopped after the first stage due to insufficient activity. Grade 3+ and 4+ adverse events (AE) were experienced in 14 and 4 patients, respectively. The most common grade 3/4 AE were neutropenia (56%), thrombocytopenia (28%), and diarrhea (22%).
The combination of lapatinib plus topotecan for the treatment of platinum refractory/resistant epithelial ovarian cancer lacks sufficient activity to warrant further investigation. In particular, hematologic adverse events were substantial. Expression of correlative study markers did not reveal patterns of predicted benefit or toxicity. Disruption of erbB signaling and BCRP/Pgp efflux with lapatinib was insufficient for overcoming topotecan resistance, suggesting alternative mechanisms of resistance are involved.
PMCID: PMC3104066  PMID: 21514634
22.  Phase I study of 17-allylamino-17 demethoxygeldanamycin, gemcitabine and/or cisplatin in patients with refractory solid tumors 
Investigational new drugs  2010;29(3):473-480.
To determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and characterize the dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) of 17-AAG, gemcitabine and/or cisplatin. Levels of the proteins Hsp90, Hsp70 and ILK were measured in peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PMBC) lysates to assess the effects of 17-AAG.
Experimental design
Phase I dose-escalating trial using a “3+3” design performed in patients with advanced solid tumors. Once the MTD of gemcitabine + 17-AAG + cisplatin was determined, dose escalation of 17-AAG with constant doses of gemcitabine and cisplatin was attempted. After significant hematologic toxicity occurred, the protocol was amended to evaluate three cohorts: gemcitabine and 17-AAG; 17-AAG and cisplatin; and gemcitabine, 17-AAG and cisplatin with modified dosing.
The 39 patients enrolled were evaluable for toxicity and response. The MTD for cohort A was 154 mg/m2 of 17-AAG, 750 mg/m2 of gemcitabine, and 40 mg/m2 of cisplatin. In cohort A, DLTs were observed at the higher dose level and included neutropenia, hyperbilirubinemia, dehydration, GGT elevation, hyponatremia, nausea, vomiting, and thrombocytopenia. The MTD for cohort C was 154 mg/m2 of 17-AAG and 750 mg/m2 of gemcitabine, with one DLT observed (alkaline phosphatase elevation) observed. In cohort C, DLTs of thrombocytopenia, fever and dyspnea were seen at the higher dose level. The remaining cohorts were closed to accrual due to toxicity. Six patients experienced partial responses. Mean Hsp90 levels were decreased and levels of Hsp70 were increased compared to baseline.
17-AAG in combination with gemcitabine and cisplatin demonstrated antitumor activity, but significant hematologic toxicities were encountered. 17-AAG combined with gemcitabine is tolerable and has demonstrated evidence of activity at the MTD. The recommended phase II dose is defined as 154 mg/m2 of 17-AAG and 750 mg/m2 of gemcitabine, and is currently being investigated in phase II studies in ovarian and pancreatic cancers. There is no recommended phase II dose for the cisplatin-containing combinations.
PMCID: PMC2908718  PMID: 20082116
17-allyaminogeldanamycin; Phase I; Heat shock protein 90; Cisplatin; Gemcitabine; Heat shock protein 70; ILK
23.  Drug efflux by Breast Cancer Resistance Protein (BCRP) is a mechanism of resistance to the benzimidazole insulin-like growth factor receptor/insulin receptor inhibitor, BMS-536924 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2011;10(1):117-125.
Preclinical investigations have identified insulin-like growth factor (IGF) signaling as a key mechanism for cancer growth and resistance to clinically useful therapies in multiple tumor types, including breast cancer. Thus, agents targeting and blocking IGF signaling have promise in the treatment of solid tumors. To identify possible mechanisms of resistance to blocking the IGF pathway, we generated a cell line that was resistant to the IGF-1R/InsR benzimidazole inhibitors BMS-554417 and BMS-536924 and compared expression profiles of the parental and resistant cells lines using Affymetrix GeneChip Human Genome U133 arrays. Compared to MCF-7 cells, BCRP expression was increased 9-fold in MCF-7R4, which was confirmed by immunoblotting and was highly statistically significant (p= 7.13E-09). BCRP was also upregulated in an independently derived resistant cell line, MCF7 924R. MCF-7R4 cells had significantly lower intracellular accumulation of BMS-536924 compared to MCF-7 cells. Expression of BCRP in MCF-7 cells was sufficient to reduce sensitivity to BMS-536924. Furthermore, knockdown of BCRP in MCF-7R4 cells resensitized cells to BMS-536924. Four cell lines selected for resistance to the pyrrolotriazine IGF-1R/InsR inhibitor, BMS-754807 did not have upregulation of BCRP. These data suggest that benzimidazole IGF-1R/InsR inhibitors may select for upregulation and be effluxed by the ABC transporter BCRP, contributing to resistance. However, pyrrolotriazine IGF-1R/InsR inhibitors do not appear to be affected by this resistance mechanism.
PMCID: PMC3057506  PMID: 21220496
BCRP; BMS-536924; Receptor; IGF Type I; tyrosine kinase inhibitor mechanism of resistance
24.  Heat Shock Protein 90 (HSP90) Inhibition Depletes LATS1 and LATS2, Two Regulators of the Mammalian Hippo Tumor Suppressor Pathway 
Cancer research  2010;70(21):8642-8650.
Heat shock protein 90 (HSP90), which regulates the functions of multiple oncogenic signaling pathways, has emerged as a novel anticancer therapeutic target, and multiple small molecule HSP90 inhibitors are now in clinical trials. Although the effects of HSP90 inhibitors on oncogenic signaling pathways have been extensively studied, the impacts of these agents on tumor suppressor signaling pathways are currently unknown. Here, we have examined how HSP90 inhibitors affect LATS1 and the related protein LATS2, two kinases that relay antiproliferative signals in the Hippo tumor suppressor pathway. Both LATS1 and LATS2 were depleted from cells treated with the HSP90 inhibitors 17-allylamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG), radicicol and PU-H71. Moreover, these kinases interacted with HSP90, and LATS1 isolated from 17-AAG-treated cells had reduced catalytic activity, thus demonstrating that the kinase is a bona fide HSP90 client. Importantly, LATS1 signaling was disrupted by 17-AAG in tumor cell lines in vitro and clinical ovarian cancers in vivo as shown by reduced levels of LATS1 and decreased phosphorylation of the LATS substrate YAP, an oncoprotein transcriptional coactivator that regulates genes involved in cell and tissue growth, including the CTGF gene. Consistent with the reduced YAP phosphorylation, there were increased levels of CTGF, a secreted protein that is implicated in tumor proliferation, metastasis, and angiogenesis. Taken together, these results identify LATS1 and LATS2 as novel HSP90 clients and demonstrate that HSP90 inhibitors can disrupt the LATS tumor suppressor pathway in human cancer cells.
PMCID: PMC2970685  PMID: 20841485
25.  Safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetics of the anti-IGF-1R monoclonal antibody figitumumab in patients with refractory adrenocortical carcinoma 
Insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor signaling through upregulation of the stimulatory ligand IGF-II has been implicated in the pathogenesis of adrenocortical carcinoma. As there is a paucity of effective therapies, this dose expansion cohort of a phase 1 study was undertaken to determine the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics, and effects on endocrine markers of figitumumab in patients with adrenocortical carcinoma.
Figitumumab was administered on day 1 of each 21-day cycle at the maximal feasible dose (20 mg/kg) to a cohort of patients with metastatic, refractory adrenocortical carcinoma. Serum glucose, insulin, and growth hormone were measured pre-study, at cycle 4 and study end. Pharmacokinetic evaluation was performed during cycles 1 and 4.
Fourteen patients with adrenocortical carcinoma received 50 cycles of figitumumab at the 20 mg/kg. Treatment- related toxicities were generally mild and included hyperglycemia, nausea, fatigue, and anorexia. Single episodes of grade 4 hyperuricemia, proteinuria, and elevated gamma-glutamyltransferase were observed. Pharmacokinetics of figitumumab was comparable to patients with solid tumors other than adrenocortical carcinoma. Treatment with figitumumab increased serum insulin and growth hormone levels. Eight of 14 patients (57%) had stable disease.
The side effect profile and pharmacokinetics of figitumumab were similar in patients with adrenocortical carcinoma in comparison to patients with other solid tumors. While hyperglycemia was the most common adverse event, no clear patterns predicting severity were observed. The majority of patients receiving protocol therapy with single agent figitumumab experienced stability of disease, warranting further evaluation.
PMCID: PMC2875253  PMID: 19649631
IGF-1R; Adrenocortical carcinoma; Monoclonal antibody; CP-751,871; Figitumumab

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