Genz644282 is a novel non-camptothecin topoisomerase I poison that is in clinical development.
Genz644282 was tested against the PPTP in vitro panel (0.1 nM–1 μM), and in vivo using three times per week × 2 schedule repeated at day 21 at its maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of 4 mg/kg. Subsequently Genz644282 was tested at 4, 3, 2 and 1 mg/kg in 3 models to assess the dose response relationship. mRNA gene signatures predictive for Genz644282 response in vitro were applied to select 15 tumor models that were evaluated prospectively.
In vitro, Genz644282 demonstrated potent cytotoxic activity with a median IC50 of 1.2 nM (range 0.2–21.9 nM). In vivo, Genz644282 at its MTD (4 mg/kg) induced maintained complete responses (MCR) in 6/6 evaluable solid tumor models. At 2 mg/kg Genz644282 induced CR or MCR in 3/3 tumor models relatively insensitive to topotecan, but there were no objective responses at 1 mg/kg. Further testing at 2 mg/kg showed that Genz644282 induced objective regressions in 7 of 17 (41%) models. There was a significant correlation between predictive response scores based on Affymetrix U133Plus2 baseline tumor expression profiles and the observed in vivo responses to Genz644282.
Genz644282 was highly active within a narrow dose range (2–4 mg/kg), typical of other topoisomerase I poisons.. As with other topoisomerase I poisons, how accurately these data will translate to clinical activity will depend upon the drug exposures that can be achieved in children treated with this agent.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; Genz644282
PG11047 is a novel conformationally restricted analog of the natural polyamine spermine that lowers cellular endogenous polyamine levels and competitively inhibits natural polyamine functions leading to cancer cell growth inhibition. The activity of PG11047 was evaluated against the PPTP’s in vitro and in vivo panels.
PG11047 was evaluated against the PPTP in vitro panel using 96 hour exposure at concentrations ranging from 10 nM to 100 μM. It was tested against the PPTP in vivo panels at a dose of 100 mg/kg administered by the intraperitoneal (IP) route weekly for 6 weeks.
In vitro PG11047 demonstrated a concentration-response pattern consistent with cytostatic activity. The median relative IC50 for PG11047 was 71 nM. Cell lines of the Ewing sarcoma panel had a lower median relative IC50 value compared to the remaining cell lines in the panel, while cell lines of the neuroblastoma panel had a higher median relative IC50 value. In vivo PG11047 induced significant differences in EFS distribution compared to control in 5 of 32 (15.6%) of the evaluable solid tumor xenografts and in 0 of 7 (0%) of the evaluable ALL xenografts. The single case of tumor regression occurred in an ependymoma xenograft.
Further pediatric development of PG11047 will require better defining a target population and identifying combinations for which there is a tumor-selective cytotoxic effect. The regression observed for an ependymoma xenograft and the exquisite sensitivity of some Ewing sarcoma cell lines to the antiproliferative effects of PG11047 provide leads for further preclinical investigations.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; polyamine
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE
High plasma levels of fenretinide [N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-HPR)] were associated with improved outcome in a phase II clinical trial. Low bioavailability of 4-HPR has been limiting its therapeutic applications. This study characterized metabolism of 4-HPR in humans and mice, and to explore the effects of ketoconazole, an inhibitor of CYP3A4, as a modulator to increase 4-HPR plasma levels in mice and to increase the low bioavailability of 4-HPR.
4-HPR metabolites were identified by mass spectrometric analysis and levels of 4-HPR and its metabolites [N-(4-methoxyphenyl)retinamide (4-MPR) and 4-oxo-N-(4-hydroxyphenyl)retinamide (4-oxo-4-HPR)] were quantified by high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC). Kinetic analysis of enzyme activities and the effects of enzyme inhibitors were performed in pooled human and pooled mouse liver microsomes, and in human cytochrome P450 (CYP) 3A4 isoenzyme microsomes. In vivo metabolism of 4-HPR was inhibited in mice.
Six 4-HPR metabolites were identified in the plasma of patients and mice. 4-HPR was oxidized to 4-oxo-4-HPR, at least in part via human CYP3A4. The CYP3A4 inhibitor ketoconazole significantly reduced 4-oxo-4-HPR formation in both human and mouse liver microsomes. In two strains of mice, co-administration of ketoconazole with 4-HPR in vivo significantly increased 4-HPR plasma concentrations by > twofold over 4-HPR alone and also increased 4-oxo-4-HPR levels.
CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS
Mice may serve as an in vivo model of human 4-HPR pharmacokinetics. In vivo data suggest that the co-administration of ketoconazole at normal clinical doses with 4-HPR may increase systemic exposure to 4-HPR in humans.
fenretinide; metabolism; ketoconazole; paediatric cancers
Current regimens for induction therapy of pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), or for re-induction post relapse, use a combination of vincristine (VCR), a glucocorticoid, and l-asparaginase (ASP) with or without an anthracycline. With cure rates now approximately 80%, robust pre-clinical models are necessary to prioritize active new drugs for clinical trials in relapsed/refractory patients, and the ability of these models to predict synergy/antagonism with established therapy is an essential attribute. In this study, we report optimization of an induction-type regimen by combining VCR, dexamethasone (DEX) and ASP (VXL) against ALL xenograft models established from patient biopsies in immune-deficient mice. We demonstrate that the VXL combination was synergistic in vitro against leukemia cell lines as well as in vivo against ALL xenografts. In vivo, VXL treatment caused delays in progression of individual xenografts ranging from 22 to >146 days. The median progression delay of xenografts derived from long-term surviving patients was 2-fold greater than that of xenografts derived from patients who died of their disease. Pharmacokinetic analysis revealed that systemic DEX exposure in mice increased 2-fold when administered in combination with VCR and ASP, consistent with clinical findings, which may contribute to the observed synergy between the 3 drugs. Finally, as proof-of-principle we tested the in vivo efficacy of combining VXL with either the Bcl-2/Bcl-xL/Bcl-w inhibitor, ABT-737, or arsenic trioxide to provide evidence of a robust in vivo platform to prioritize new drugs for clinical trials in children with relapsed/refractory ALL.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has established the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program (PPTP) for testing drugs against in vitro and in vivo childhood cancer models to aid in the prioritization of drugs considered for early phase pediatric clinical trials.
In vitro cytotoxicity testing employs a semi-automated fluorescence-based digital imaging cytotoxicity assay (DIMSCAN) that has a 4-log dynamic range of detection. Curve fitting of the fractional survival data of the cell lines in response to various concentrations of the agents was used to calculate relative IC50, absolute IC50, and Ymin values The panel of 23 pediatric cancer cell lines included leukemia (n=6), lymphoma (n=2), rhabdomyosarcoma (n=4), brain tumors (n=3), Ewing family of tumors (EFT, n=4), and neuroblastoma (n=4). The doubling times obtained using DIMSCAN were incorporated into data analyses to estimate the relationship between input cell numbers and final cell number.
We report in vitro activity data for three drugs (vincristine, melphalan, and etoposide) that are commonly used for pediatric cancer and for the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin, an agent that is currently under preclinical investigation for cancer. To date, the PPTP has completed in vitro testing of 39 investigational and approved agents for single drug activity and two investigational agents in combination with various “standard” chemotherapy drugs.
This robust in vitro cytotoxicity testing system for pediatric cancers will enable comparisons to response data for novel agents obtained from xenograft studies and from clinical trials.
Cell line models; childhood cancer; cytotoxicity; DIMSCAN; NCI PPTP
GSK690693 is a small molecule ATP-competitive inhibitor of the pro-survival kinase Akt. Since Akt regulates multiple downstream targets including transcription factors, glycogen synthase 3, the pro-apoptotic protein Bad, as well as MDM2 and mTORC1, it was tested against the in vitro and in vivo panels of the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program (PPTP).
GSK690693 was tested in vitro at concentrations from 1 nM to 10 μM, and against the in vivo panel of xenografts at a dose of 30 mg/kg daily x 5 for 6 consecutive weeks. Three measures of in vivo antitumor activity were used: 1) an objective response measure modeled after the clinical setting; 2) a treated to control (T/C) tumor volume measure; and 3) a time to event measure based on the median event-free survival (EFS) of treated and control animals for each xenograft.
GSK690693 inhibited cell growth in vitro with IC50 values between 6.5 nM and >10 μM. In vivo, GSK690693 significantly increased EFS in 11 of 34 (32%) solid tumor xenografts, most notably in all 6 osteosarcoma models, but not in any of the 8 ALL xenografts tested. No objective responses were observed and only one solid tumor met EFS T/C criteria for intermediate activity.
GSK690693 demonstrated broad activity in vitro, however our results against both the solid tumor and ALL PPTP in vivo panels demonstrate that, as single agent at the dose and schedule used, GSK690693 has only modest antitumor activity.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; Akt inhibitor
The hu14.18-IL2 fusion protein consists of interleukin-2 molecularly linked to a humanized monoclonal antibody that recognizes the GD2 disialoganglioside expressed on neuroblastoma cells. This phase II study assessed the antitumor activity of hu14.18-IL2 in two strata of patients with recurrent or refractory neuroblastoma.
Patients and Methods
Hu14.18-IL2 was given intravenously (12 mg/m2/daily) for 3 days every 4 weeks for patients with disease measurable by standard radiographic criteria (stratum 1) and for patients with disease evaluable only by [123I]metaiodobenzylguanidine (MIBG) scintigraphy and/or bone marrow (BM) histology (stratum 2). Response was established by independent radiology review as well as BM histology and immunocytology, and durability was assessed by repeat evaluation after more than 3 weeks.
Thirty-nine patients were enrolled (36 evaluable). No responses were seen in stratum 1 (n = 13). Of 23 evaluable patients in stratum 2, five patients (21.7%) responded; all had a complete response (CR) of 9, 13, 20, 30, and 35+ months duration. Grade 3 and 4 nonhematologic toxicities included capillary leak, hypoxia, pain, rash, allergic reaction, elevated transaminases, and hyperbilirubinemia. Two patients required dopamine for hypotension, and one patient required ventilatory support for hypoxia. Most toxicities were reversible within a few days of completing a treatment course and were expected based on phase I results.
Patients with disease evaluable only by MIBG and/or BM histology had a 21.7% CR rate to hu14.8-IL2, whereas patients with bulky disease did not respond. Hu14.18-IL2 warrants further testing in children with nonbulky high-risk neuroblastoma.
AZD6244 (ARRY-142886) is a potent small molecule inhibitor of MEK1/2 that is in phase 2 clinical development.
AZD6244 was tested against the PPTP in vitro panel (1 nM-10μM). In vivo AZD6244 was tested at a dose of 100 mg/kg administered orally twice daily five days per week for 6 weeks. Subsequently, AZD6244 was evaluated against two juvenile pilocytic astrocytoma (JPA) xenografts using once and twice daily dosing schedules. Phosphorylation of ERK1/2 was used as a surrogate for in vivo inhibition of MEK1/2 was determined by immunoblotting.
At the highest concentration used in vitro (10 μM) AZD6244 only inhibited growth by 50% in 5 of the 23 cell lines. Against the in vivo tumor panels, AZD6244 induced significant differences in EFS distribution in 10 of 37 (27%) solid tumor models and 0 of 6 acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) models. There were no objective responses. Pharmacodynamic studies indicated at this dose and schedule AZD6244 completely inhibited ERK1/2 phosphorylation. AZD6244 was evaluated against two JPA xenografts, BT-35 (wild type BRAF) and BT-40 (mutant [V600E] BRAF). BT-40 xenografts were highly sensitive to AZD6244, whereas BT-35 xenografts progressed on AZD6244 treatment.
At the dose and schedule of administration used, AZD6244 as a single agent had limited in vitro and in vivo activity against the PPTP tumor panels despite inhibition of MEK1/2 activity. However, AZD6244 was highly active against BT-40 JPA xenografts that harbor constitutively activated BRAF, causing complete regressions.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; AZD6244
Defects in apoptotic pathways can promote cancer cell survival and also confer resistance to antineoplastic drugs. One pathway being targeted for antineoplastic therapy is the anti-apoptotic B-cell lymphoma-2 (Bcl-2) family of proteins (Bcl-2, Bcl-XL, Bcl-w, Mcl-1, Bfl1/A-1, and Bcl-B) that bind to and inactivate BH3-domain pro-apoptotic proteins. Signals transmitted by cellular damage (including antineoplastic drugs) or cytokine deprivation can initiate apoptosis via the intrinsic apoptotic pathway. It is controversial whether some BH3-domain proteins (Bim or tBid) directly activate multidomain pro-apoptotic proteins (e.g., Bax and Bak) or act via inhibition of those anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 proteins (Bcl-2, Bcl-XL, Bcl-w, Mcl-1, Bfl1/A-1, and Bcl-B) that stabilize pro-apoptotic proteins. Overexpression of anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members has been associated with chemotherapy resistance in various human cancers, and preclinical studies have shown that agents targeting anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members have preclinical activity as single agents and in combination with other antineoplastic agents. Clinical trials of several investigational drugs targeting the Bcl-2 family (oblimersen sodium, AT-101, ABT-263, GX15-070) are ongoing. Here, we review the role of the Bcl-2 family in apoptotic pathways and those agents that are known and/or designed to inhibit the anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family of proteins.
Seneca Valley virus (NTX-010) is a non-recombinant, replication competent RNA virus that is undergoing phase 1 clinical trials in adults for tumors with neuroendocrine characteristics. Here we have evaluated the antitumor activity of NTX-010 administered systemically.
In vitro NTX-010 was tested against 23 cell lines exposed for 96 hours at 1 × 10−4 to 104 viral particles (vp)/cell. In vivo NTX-010 was administered intravenously once at 3 × 1012 vp/kg. Three measures of antitumor activity were used: 1) an objective response measure modeled after the clinical setting; 2) a treated to control (T/C) tumor volume measure; and 3) a time to event (4-fold increase in tumor volume for solid tumor models), measure based on the median event-free survival (EFS) of treated and control animals for each xenograft.
In vitro NTX-010 demonstrated a marked cytotoxic effect in a subset of the cell lines from the neuroblastoma, Ewing sarcoma, and rhabdomyosarcoma panels. In vivo the most consistent activity was observed for the rhabdomyosarcoma and the neuroblastoma panels, with all four of the alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma xenografts and 4 of 5 neuroblastoma xenografts achieving CR or maintained CR. Objective responses were also observed in the rhabdoid tumor, Wilms tumor, and glioblastoma panels.
NTX-010 demonstrated a high level of activity both in vitro and in vivo. Further analysis of existing testing and molecular characterization data may help define the biological characteristics of cancer cells that are associated with response to NTX-010.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; Seneca Valley virus (NTX-010)
MLN8237 is a small molecule inhibitor of Aurora Kinase A (AURKA) that is currently in early phase clinical testing. AURKA plays a pivotal role in centrosome maturation and spindle formation during mitosis.
MLN8237 was tested against the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program (PPTP) in vitro panel at concentrations ranging from 1.0 nM to 10 μM and was tested against the PPTP in vivo panels at a dose of 20 mg/kg administered orally twice daily × 5 days. Treatment duration was 6 weeks for solid tumor xenografts and 3 weeks for ALL xenografts.
MLN8237 had a median IC50 of 61 nM against the PPTP in vitro panel. The ALL cell lines were more sensitive and the rhabdomyosarcoma cell lines less sensitive than the remaining PPTP cell lines. In vivo, MLN8237 induced significant differences in event-free survival (EFS) distributions compared to controls in 32/40 (80%) solid tumor models and all (6/6) ALL models. Maintained complete responses (CRs) were observed in 3 of 7 neuroblastoma xenografts, and all 6 evaluable ALL xenografts achieved CR (n=4) or maintained CR (n=2) status. Maintained CRs were observed among single xenografts in other panels, including the Wilms tumor, rhabdoid tumor, rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, osteosarcoma, and medulloblastoma.
The in vivo activity observed against the neuroblastoma panel far exceeds that observed for standard agents evaluated against the panel by the PPTP. High levels of in vivo activity were also observed against the ALL xenograft panel. These data support expedited clinical development of MLN8237 in childhood cancer.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; MLN8237
Research on parental understanding of informed consent for pediatric randomized clinical trials (RCTs) has highlighted weaknesses in understanding of key aspects of informed consent. The goals of the current study were to assess the feasibility of and parental satisfaction with a video intervention to improve informed consent for pediatric leukemia RCTs and to compare parental question asking during informed consent conferences (ICCs) for parents in the current study with historical control data.
A 20-minute video was produced. Utilizing the principles of anticipatory guidance, it included information delivered by nurses and physicians about leukemia and key aspects of informed consent. Parents were encouraged to be active participants in ICCs. Participants included 12 parents of children newly diagnosed with pediatric leukemia. The video was viewed by local pediatric oncologists prior to utilization with families.
Ninety-two percent of parents reported that the video made it easier to understand information that their child’s physician later provided; 83% of parents reported that it helped them to think of questions to ask the physician; and 67% of parents indicated that the video made them feel more comfortable with asking questions of the physician. Results of a t-test comparing question asking during ICCs revealed that parents who participated in the intervention asked a higher rate of questions than parents from a historical control sample (t = 1.95, p = 0.05).
Our study supports the feasibility and potential efficacy of a brief video intervention employing anticipatory guidance to prepare parents for future discussions about RCTs.
informed consent; pediatric leukemia; ethics
One of the challenges of incorporating molecularly targeted drugs into multi-agent chemotherapy (backbone) regimens is defining dose limiting toxicities (DLTs) of the targeted agent against the background of toxicities of the backbone regimen. An international panel of 22 pediatric acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL) experts addressed this issue (www.ALLNA.org). Two major questions surrounding DLT assessment were explored: 1) how toxicities can be best defined, assessed, and attributed; and 2) how effective dosing of new agents incorporated into multi-agent ALL clinical trials can be safely established in the face of disease- and therapy-related systemic toxicities. The consensus DLT definition incorporates tolerance of resolving Grade 3 and some resolving Grade 4 toxicities with stringent safety monitoring. This functional DLT definition is being tested in two Children’s Oncology Group (COG) ALL clinical trials.
ALL; ALL relapse; developmental therapeutics; dose-limiting toxicity; maximum tolerated dose
Many childhood malignancies including sarcomas, neuroblastoma and Wilms tumor show the presence of both, active, type-1-insulin-like growth factor receptor (IGF-1R), and the autocrine production of its ligands IGF-1/IGF-2. IMC-A12 is a fully human IgG1 antibody that prevents ligand binding to the IGF-1R.
IMC-A12 was evaluated against the 23 cell lines of the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program (PPTP) in vitro panel using 96 hour exposure at concentrations ranging from 0.01 nM to 0.1 μM. IMC-A12 was tested in vivo at a dose of 1 mg/mouse administered intraperitoneally twice weekly for six weeks.
In vitro, IMC-A12 induced T/C values less than 50% in only three cell lines, a rhabdomyosarcoma cell line (Rh41) and two Ewing sarcoma cell lines (TC-71 and CHLA-9). In vivo, IMC-A12 induced significant differences in EFS distribution compared to control in 24 of 34 (71%) evaluable solid tumor xenografts. Using the PPTP “time to event” activity measure, IMC-A12 induced intermediate (n=13) or high (n=1) activity in 33 xenografts evaluable for this activity measure, including 6 of 6 rhabdomyosarcoma xenografts, 3 of 5 osteosarcoma xenografts, 2 of 5 neuroblastoma xenografts, and 1 of 5 Ewing sarcoma xenografts. The only objective response observed was observed in a rhabdomyosarcoma xenograft (Rh28) that achieved a maintained complete response.
IMC-A12 demonstrated broad antitumor activity against the PPTP’s in vivo solid tumor panels, with the activity primarily being tumor growth inhibition rather than tumor regression. IMC-A12 showed its greatest activity in vivo against the PPTP’s rhabdomyosarcoma xenografts.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; IMC-A12
Topotecan is a small molecule DNA topoisomerase I poison, that has been successful in clinical trials against pediatric solid tumors and leukemias. Topotecan was evaluated against the PPTP tumor panels as part of a validation process for these preclinical models.
In vivo three measures of antitumor activity were used: 1) an objective response measure modeled after the clinical setting; 2) a treated to control (T/C) tumor volume measure; and 3) a time to event (4-fold increase in tumor volume for solid tumor models, or ≥25% human CD45+ cells in the peripheral blood for ALL models) measure based on the median event-free survival (EFS) of treated and control animals for each xenograft.
Topotecan inhibited cell growth in vitro with IC50 values between 0.71 nM and 489 nM. Topotecan significantly increased EFS in 32 of 37 (87%) solid tumor xenografts and in all 8 of the ALL xenografts. Seventy five percent of solid tumors met EFS T/C activity criteria for intermediate (n=17) or high activity (n=7). Objective responses were noted in 8 solid tumor xenografts (Wilms, rhabdomyosarcoma, Ewing sarcoma, neuroblastoma). Among the 6 neuroblastomas, three achieved a PR. For the ALL panel, two maintained CRs, three CRs, and two PRs were observed.
Topotecan demonstrated broad activity in vitro and in vivo against both the solid tumor and ALL panels, with significant tumor growth delay generated in all the panels. These results further demonstrate the validity of the PPTP panel for preclinical testing of new drugs.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; topotecan
The survival rate among patients with intermediate-risk neuroblastoma who receive dose-intensive chemotherapy is excellent, but the survival rate among patients who receive reduced doses of chemotherapy for shorter periods of time is not known.
We conducted a prospective, phase 3, nonrandomized trial to determine whether a 3-year estimated overall survival of more than 90% could be maintained with reductions in the duration of therapy and drug doses, using a tumor biology-based therapy assignment. Eligible patients had newly diagnosed, intermediate-risk neuroblastoma without MYCN amplification; these patients included infants (<365 days of age) who had stage 3 or 4 disease, children (≥365 days of age) who had stage 3 tumors with favorable histopathological features, and infants who had stage 4S disease with a diploid DNA index or unfavorable histopathological features. Patients who had disease with favorable histopathological features and hyperdiploidy were assigned to four cycles of chemotherapy, and those with an incomplete response or either unfavorable feature were assigned to eight cycles.
Between 1997 and 2005, a total of 479 eligible patients were enrolled in this trial (270 patients with stage 3 disease, 178 with stage 4 disease, and 31 with stage 4S disease). A total of 323 patients had tumors with favorable biologic features, and 141 had tumors with unfavorable biologic features. Ploidy, but not histopathological features, was significantly predictive of the outcome. Severe adverse events without disease progression occurred in 10 patients (2.1%), including secondary leukemia (in 3 patients), death from infection (in 3 patients), and death at surgery (in 4 patients). The 3-year estimate (±SE) of overall survival for the entire group was 96±1%, with an overall survival rate of 98±1% among patients who had tumors with favorable biologic features and 93±2% among patients who had tumors with unfavorable biologic features.
A very high rate of survival among patients with intermediate-risk neuroblastoma was achieved with a biologically based treatment assignment involving a substantially reduced duration of chemotherapy and reduced doses of chemotherapeutic agents as compared with the regimens used in earlier trials. These data provide support for further reduction in chemotherapy with more refined risk stratification. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT00003093.)
To gain a greater understanding of the potential of the Aurora kinase A inhibitor MLN8237 in the treatment of pediatric malignancies.
The activity of MLN8237 was evaluated against 28 neuroblastoma and Ewing sarcoma cell lines, and its in vivo efficacy was studied over a range of doses against 12 pediatric tumor xenograft models. Pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, and genomic studies were undertaken.
In vitro neuroblastoma cell lines were generally more sensitive to MLN8237 than Ewing sarcoma lines. MLN8237 demonstrated significant activity in vivo against solid tumor models at the maximum tolerated dose (MTD); however, only 2 of 6 neuroblastoma models had objective responses at 0.25MTD. In contrast, MLN8237 induced objective responses at its MTD and at 0.5MTD in three ALL models and in two out of three at 0.25MTD. Pharmacokinetic studies at 0.5MTD demonstrated a Tmax of 0.5 h, Cmax of 24.8 μM, AUC(0–24) of 60.3 μM h, and 12 h trough level of 1.2 μM. Mitotic indices increased 6–12 h after MLN8237 administration. AURKA copy number variation was frequent in xenografts, and expression was highly correlated with copy number.
Objective responses were more frequent in tumors with decreased AURKA copy number (5/8) compared to those with increased gene copy number (2/14). This report confirms the significant activity against both solid tumor and ALL xenografts at the MTD, with a steep dose response. These data support clinical development of MLN8237 in childhood cancer. Because of the steep dose–response relationship, such studies should target achieving trough levels of 1 μM or higher for sustained periods of treatment.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00280-011-1618-8) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Preclinical testing; Developmental therapeutics; MLN8237; Pediatric cancer
Mapatumumab (HGS-ETR1) is a fully human IgG1 agonistic monoclonal antibody that exclusively targets and activates tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptor 1 (TRAIL-R1). It was tested in vitro at concentrations from 0.01 to 100 μg/ml and in vivo at a dose of 10 mg/kg administered intraperitoneally using a twice-weekly schedule. Mapatumumab demonstrated limited activity against the 23 cell lines of the PPTP in vitro panel with no lines achieving 50% growth inhibition. Mapatumumab induced significant differences in event-free survival distribution compared to controls in 9 of 37 evaluable solid tumor xenografts tested, but in none of the 8 ALL xenografts.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; Mapatumumab
Rapamycin demonstrated broad-spectrum tumor growth inhibition activity against the in vivo panels of childhood tumors used in the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program (PPTP). Here we have evaluated rapamycin combined with agents used frequently in the treatment of childhood malignancies.
Rapamycin was tested in vitro against 23 cell lines alone or in combination with melphalan, cisplatin, vincristine, or dexamethasone (leukemic models only). In vivo, the impact of combining rapamycin with a cytotoxic agent was evaluated using two measures: 1) the “therapeutic enhancement” measure, and 2) a linear regression model for time-to-event to formally evaluate for sub- and supra-additivity for the combination compared to the agents used alone.
Combining rapamycin with cytotoxic agents in vitro gave predominantly sub-additive or additive effects, except for dexamethasone in leukemia models for which supra-additive activity was observed. In vivo testing demonstrated that therapeutic enhancement was common for rapamycin in combination with cyclophosphamide and occurred for 4 of 11 evaluable xenografts for the rapamycin and vincristine combination. The combinations of rapamycin with either cyclophosphamide or vincristine were significantly more effective than the respective standard agents used alone at their MTDs for most evaluable xenografts. The combination of rapamycin and cisplatin produced excessive toxicity requiring cisplatin dose reductions, and therapeutic enhancement was not observed for this combination.
Addition of rapamycin to either cyclophosphamide or vincristine at their respective MTDs appears promising, as these combinations are relatively well tolerated and as many of the pediatric preclinical models evaluated demonstrated therapeutic enhancement for these combinations.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; Rapamycin; cyclophosphamide; cisplatin; vincristine
Discovery that the transcriptional output of the human genome is far more complex than predicted by the current set of protein-coding annotations and that most RNAs produced do not appear to encode proteins has transformed our understanding of genome complexity and suggests new paradigms of genome regulation. However, the fraction of all cellular RNA whose function we do not understand and the fraction of the genome that is utilized to produce that RNA remain controversial. This is not simply a bookkeeping issue because the degree to which this un-annotated transcription is present has important implications with respect to its biologic function and to the general architecture of genome regulation. For example, efforts to elucidate how non-coding RNAs (ncRNAs) regulate genome function will be compromised if that class of RNAs is dismissed as simply 'transcriptional noise'.
We show that the relative mass of RNA whose function and/or structure we do not understand (the so called 'dark matter' RNAs), as a proportion of all non-ribosomal, non-mitochondrial human RNA (mt-RNA), can be greater than that of protein-encoding transcripts. This observation is obscured in studies that focus only on polyA-selected RNA, a method that enriches for protein coding RNAs and at the same time discards the vast majority of RNA prior to analysis. We further show the presence of a large number of very long, abundantly-transcribed regions (100's of kb) in intergenic space and further show that expression of these regions is associated with neoplastic transformation. These overlap some regions found previously in normal human embryonic tissues and raises an interesting hypothesis as to the function of these ncRNAs in both early development and neoplastic transformation.
We conclude that 'dark matter' RNA can constitute the majority of non-ribosomal, non-mitochondrial-RNA and a significant fraction arises from numerous very long, intergenic transcribed regions that could be involved in neoplastic transformation.
Ispinesib is a highly specific inhibitor of kinesin spindle protein (KSP, HsEg5), a mitotic kinesin required for separation of the spindle poles. Here we report the activity of ispinesib against the in vitro and in vivo panels of the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program (PPTP).
Ispinesib was tested against the PPTP in vitro panel cell lines at concentrations from 0.1 nM to 1 μM and against the in vivo tumor panel xenografts by intraperitoneal administration (5 or 10 mg/kg) every 4 days for 3 doses repeated at day 21.
Ispinesib was highly potent against the PPTP’s in vitro cell lines with a median IC50 of 4.1 nM. Ispinesib (10 mg/kg) induced unexplained toxicity in mice bearing osteosarcoma xenografts and exceeded the MTD in 12 of 40 non-osteosarcoma xenografts. Ispinesib induced significant tumor growth delay in 88% (23/26) of evaluable xenografts. Using a time to event measure of efficacy, ispinesib had intermediate and high levels of activity against 4 (21%) and 5 (26%) of the 19 evaluable solid tumor xenografts, respectively. Ispinesib induced maintained complete responses (CR) in a rhabdoid tumor, a Wilms tumor and a Ewing sarcoma xenograft. Ispinesib (5 mg/kg) produced 2 complete and 2 partial responses among 6 evaluable xenografts in the ALL panel. The in vivo pattern of activity was distinctive from that previously reported for vincristine.
Ispinesib demonstrated broad in vivo antitumor activity, including maintained complete responses for several xenografts, although with high toxicity rates at the doses studied.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; Ispinesib
Lapatinib is a small molecule reversible tyrosine kinase inhibitor of EGFR and ErbB2 that shows in vitro and in vivo activity against a range of EGFR and ErbB2-dependent adult cancer cell lines and that has clinical efficacy against ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer.
Lapatinib was tested against the cell lines of the PPTP in vitro panel at concentrations ranging from 1.0 nM to 10.0 μM. Lapatinib was tested against the xenografts of the PPTP in vivo panels using a twice-daily oral administration schedule for six weeks (5-days on, 2-days off) at a dose of 160 mg/kg (320 mg/kg/day). Lapatinib pharmacokinetic parameters were determined in scid−/− mice.
The median IC50 value for lapatinib against the entire PPTP cell line panel was 6.84 μM (range, 2.08 μM to > 10.0 μM). Lapatinib was well tolerated in vivo, with toxicity in only 1.5% of the treated animals. Lapatinib induced significant differences in EFS distribution compared to controls in 1 of 41 xenografts tested. No objective responses were observed in any of the solid tumor panels or in the ALL panel. Lapatinib systemic exposure was consistent with previously observed values.
Lapatinib has little activity against the xenografts of the PPTP's in vivo panel, and its in vitro activity occurs at concentrations above those associated with specific EGFR/ErbB2 inhibition. These results likely reflect lack of ErbB2 overexpression in the models studied and suggest that adult and pediatric cancers may fundamentally differ in the applicability of EGFR family members as therapeutic targets.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; Lapatinib
Aplidin was tested in vitro at concentrations ranging from from 0.1 nM to 1.0 μM and in vivo at a dose of 0.6 mg/kg administered intraperitoneally on an every 4 days × 3 schedule that was repeated at day 21. In vitro, Aplidin was most active against acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cell lines. In vivo, Aplidin induced significant differences in EFS distribution in 12 of 28 (43%) solid tumor models and 2 of 6 evaluable ALL models. Aplidin showed potent in vitro activity and induced significant in vivo tumor growth inhibition in some xenografts, but did not induce tumor regressions.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; Aplidin
Vorinostat, a histone deacetylase inhibitor, was evaluated against the in vitro and in vivo childhood solid tumor and leukemia models in the Pediatric Preclinical Testing Program (PPTP). In vitro testing was performed by the DIMSCAN cytotoxicity assay. In vivo, vorinostat was administered intraperitoneally to mice bearing xenografts. Vorinostat demonstrated 2-log cell growth inhibitory activity in vitro, but generally at concentrations not sustainable in the clinic. No objective responses were observed for any of the solid tumor or acute lymphoblastic leukemia xenografts. Preclinical studies with appropriate drug combinations may provide direction for further clinical evaluations of vorinostat against selected pediatric cancers.
Preclinical Testing; Developmental Therapeutics; Vorinostat