Triolimus is a first-in-class, multi-drug loaded micelle containing paclitaxel, rapamycin and 17-AAG. In this study, we examine the anti-tumor mechanisms of action, efficacy and toxicity of Triolimus in vitro and in vivo. In vitro cytotoxicity testing of Triolimus was conducted using two aggressive adenocarcinomas including the lung cancer cell line, A549, and breast cancer cell line, MDA-MB-231. The three-drug combination of paclitaxel, rapamycin and 17-AAG displayed potent cytotoxic synergy in both A549 and MDA-MB-231 cell lines. Mechanistically, the drug combination inhibited both the Ras/Raf/MAPK and PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathways. Triolimus was advanced into tumor xenograft models for assessment of efficacy, toxicity and mechanisms of action. In vivo, a three-infusion schedule of Triolimus inhibited A549 and MDA-MB-231 tumor growth far more potently than paclitaxel-containing micelles and effected tumor cures in MDA-MB-231 tumor-bearing animals. Tumor growth delays resulted from a doubling in tumor cell apoptosis and a 50% reduction in tumor cell proliferation compared to paclitaxel-containing micelles. Enhanced anti-tumor efficacy was achieved without clinically significant increases in acute toxicity. Thus, Triolimus displays potent synergistic activity in vitro and anti-tumor activity in vivo with comparable toxicity to paclitaxel. These observations provide strong support for further development of Triolimus and an important proof of concept for safe, effective nanoparticle-based delivery of three complementary anti-cancer agents.
Multi-targeting; Hsp90; mTOR; paclitaxel; micelles
The human double minute (HDM)-2 E3 ubiquitin ligase plays a key role in p53 turnover, and has been validated pre-clinically as a target in multiple myeloma (MM) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL). HDM-2 inhibitors are entering clinical trials, and we therefore sought to understand potential mechanisms of resistance in lymphoid models. Wild-type p53 H929 MM and Granta-519 MCL cells resistant to MI-63 or Nutlin were generated by exposing them to increasing drug concentrations. MI-63-resistant H929 and Granta-519 cells were resistant to Nutlin, while Nutlin-resistant cells displayed cross-resistance to MI-63. These cells also showed cross-resistance to bortezomib, doxorubicin, cisplatin, and melphalan, but remained sensitive to the small molecule inhibitor RITA. HDM-2 inhibitor-resistant cells harbored increased p53 levels, but neither genotoxic nor non-genotoxic approaches to activate p53 induced HDM-2 or p21. Resequencing revealed wild-type HDM-2, but mutations were found in the p53 DNA binding and dimerization domains. In resistant cells, RITA induced a G2/M arrest, up-regulation of p53 targets HDM-2, PUMA, and NOXA, and PARP cleavage. Combination regimens with RITA and MI-63 resulted in enhanced cell death compared to RITA alone. These findings support the possibility that p53 mutation could be a primary mechanism of acquired resistance to HDM-2 inhibitors in MCL and MM. Furthermore, they suggest that simultaneous restoration of p53 function and HDM-2 inhibition is a rational strategy for clinical translation.
HDM-2; p53; Multiple Myeloma; Mantle Cell Lymphoma; MI-63; Nutlin; RITA
The importance of the blood-brain barrier in preventing effective pharmacotherapy of glioblastoma has been controversial. The controversy stems from the fact that vascular endothelial cell tight junctions are disrupted in the tumor, allowing some systemic drug delivery. P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) efflux drugs from brain capillary endothelial cells into the blood. We tested the hypothesis that although the tight junctions are “leaky” in the core of glioblastomas, active efflux limits drug delivery to tumor-infiltrated normal brain and consequently, treatment efficacy. Malignant gliomas were induced by oncogene transfer into wild-type (WT) mice or mice deficient for Pgp and BCRP (KO). Glioma-bearing mice were orally dosed with dasatinib, a kinase inhibitor and dual BCRP/PgP substrate that is being tested in clinical trials. KO mice treated with dasatinib survived over twice as long as WT mice. Microdissection of the tumor core, invasive rim, and normal brain revealed 2-3 fold enhancement in dasatinib brain concentrations in KO mice relative to WT. Analysis of signaling demonstrated that poor drug delivery correlated with the lack of inhibition of a dasatinib target, especially in normal brain. A majority of human glioma xenograft lines tested expressed BCRP or PgP and were sensitized to dasatinib by a dual BCRP/Pgp inhibitor, illustrating a second barrier to drug delivery intrinsic to the tumor itself. These data demonstrate that active efflux is a relevant obstacle to treating glioblastoma and provide a plausible mechanistic basis for the clinical failure of numerous drugs that are BCRP/Pgp substrates.
Blood brain barrier; glioblastoma; kinase inhibitor; efflux; dasatinib
Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) is upregulated in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC). However, how COX-2 promotes PDAC development is unclear. While previous studies have evaluated the efficacy of COX-2 inhibition via the use of non steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or the COX-2 inhibitor celecoxib in PDAC models, none have addressed the cell intrinsic vs. microenvironment roles of COX-2 in modulating PDAC initiation and progression. We tested the cell intrinsic role of COX-2 in PDAC progression, using both loss-of-function and gain-of-function approaches. Cox-2 deletion in Pdx1+ pancreatic progenitor cells significantly delays the development of PDAC in mice with K-ras activation and Pten haploinsufficiency. Conversely, COX-2 over-expression promotes early onset and progression of PDAC in the K-ras mouse model. Loss of PTEN function is a critical factor in determining lethal PDAC onset and overall survival. Mechanistically, COX-2 over-expression increases P-AKT levels in the precursor lesions of Pdx1+;K-rasG12D/+;Ptenlox/+ mice in the absence of Pten LOH. In contrast, Cox-2 deletion in the same setting diminishes P-AKT levels and delays cancer progression. These data suggest an important cell intrinsic role for COX-2 in tumor initiation and progression through activation of the PI3K/AKT pathway. PDAC that is independent of intrinsic COX-2 expression eventually develops with decreased FKBP5 and increased GRP78 expression, two alternate pathways leading to AKT activation. Together, these results support a cell intrinsic role for COX-2 in PDAC development and suggest that, while anti-COX-2 therapy may delay the development and progression of PDAC, mechanisms known to increase chemoresistance through AKT activation must also be overcome.
PTEN; pancreatic cancer; COX-2; GRP78; FKBP5; chemoresistance
Human ribonucleotide reductase (hRR) is the key enzyme involved in de novo dNTP synthesis and thus represents an important therapeutic target against hyperproliferative diseases, most notably cancer. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the ability of non-natural indolyl-2’-deoxynucleoside triphosphates to inhibit the activity of hRR. The structural similarities of these analogs with dATP predicted that they would inhibit hRR activity by binding to its allosteric sites. In silico analysis and in vitro characterization identified one particular analog designated as 5-nitro-indolyl-2'-deoxyribose triphosphate (5-NITP) that inhibits hRR. 5-NITP binding to hRR was determined by isothermal titration calorimetry. X-ray crystal structure of 5-NITP bound to RR1 was determined. Cell-based studies demonstrated the anti-cancer effects of the corresponding non-natural nucleoside against leukemia cells. 5-NITP binds to hRR with micromolar affinity. Binding does not induce hexamerization of hRR1 like dATP, the native allosteric inhibitor of hRR that binds with high affinity to the A-site. The X-ray crystal structure of S. cerevisiae RR1-5-NITP (ScRR1-5-NITP) complex determined to 2.3 Å resolution shows that 5-NITP does not bind to the A-site but rather at the S-site. Regardless, 5-NIdR produces cytostatic and cytotoxic effects against human leukemia cells by altering cell-cycle progression. Our studies provide useful insights towards developing new inhibitors with improved potency and efficacy against hRR.
Ribonucleotide reductase; Cancer chemotherapy; Crystallography; X-ray; Drug design; DNA synthesis; Isothermal titration calorimetry; docking; Cell cycle; Non natural nucleotide
Clinical correlation studies have clearly shown that obesity is associated with breast cancer risk and patient survival. Although several potential mechanisms linking obesity and cancers have been proposed, the detailed molecular mechanism of obesity-mediated breast tumorigenesis has not yet been critically evaluated. In this study, we evaluated the effects of obesity on mammary tumor initiation and progression using mice with genetic and diet-induced obesity bearing mammary tumor xenografts and mouse mammary tumor virusneu transgenic mice that were fed a high-fat diet. We show that obesity promoted mammary tumor growth and development in these animal models. Moreover, the expressions of TNFα, VEGF, IKKβ, and mTOR are upregulated in mammary tumors of obese mice, suggesting that the IKKβ/ mTOR/VEGF signaling pathway is activated by TNFα in the tumors of obese mice. More importantly, inhibitors (rapamycin, bevacizumab, and aspirin) that target members of the pathway suppressed tumorigenesis and prolonged survival more effectively in obese mice than in nonobese mice. Here, we not only identified a specific signaling pathway that contributes to mammary tumorigenesis in obese mice but also a strategy for treating obesity-mediated breast cancer.
Aberrant activation of Cyclin D-Cdk4/6 signaling pathway is commonly found in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). Here, we show that PD-0332991, a highly specific inhibitor for Cdk4 and Cdk6, exerted growth inhibitory effects on three human PDAC cell lines. Microarray analysis revealed that PD-0332991 down-regulated cell-cycle-related genes, but up-regulated genes implicated in extracellular matrix (ECM) remodeling and pancreatic cancer cell invasion and metastasis. Moreover, PD-0332991 enhanced invasion in transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β)-responsive PDAC cell lines that harbor a wild-type SMAD4 gene (COLO-357, PANC-1), but not in TGF-β-resistant AsPC-1 cells that harbor a mutated SMAD4. PD-0332991 also induced epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) in COLO-357 and PANC-1, but not in AsPC-1 cells. Inhibition of CDK4/6 using shRNA mimicked the effects of PD-0332991 on EMT induction. Furthermore, PD-0332991 increased Smad transcriptional activity in luciferase readout assays and activated TGF-β signaling. SB-505124, an inhibitor of the type I TGF-β receptor (TβRI) kinase, completely blocked EMT induction by PD-0332991. When combined with PD-0332991, SB-505124 inhibited the growth of COLO-357 and PANC-1 cells. Taken together, these data suggest that anti-Cdk4/6 therapy could induce EMT and enhance pancreatic cancer cell invasion by activating Smad-dependent TGF-β signaling, and that combining PD-0332991 and SB-505124 may represent a novel therapeutic strategy in PDAC.
Pancreatic cancer; Cdk4/6; PD-0332991; EMT; TGF-β
Mitomycin c (MMC), a quinone-containing anticancer drug, is known to redox cycle and generate reactive oxygen species. A key enzyme mediating MMC redox cycling is cytochrome P450 reductase, a microsomal NADPH-dependent flavoenzyme. In the present studies, CHO cells overexpressing this enzyme (CHO-OR cells) and corresponding control cells (CHO-WT cells) were used to investigate the role of cytochrome P450 reductase in the actions of MMC. In lysates from both cell types, MMC was found to redox cycle and generate H2O2; this activity was greater in CHO-OR cells (Vmax = 1.2 ± 0.1 nmol H2O2/min/mg protein in CHO-WT cells vs. 32.4 ± 3.9 nmol H2O2/min/mg protein in CHO-OR cells). MMC was also more effective in generating superoxide anion and hydroxyl radicals in CHO-OR cells, relative to CHO-WT cells. Despite these differences in MMC redox cycling, MMC-induced cytotoxicity, as measured by growth inhibition, was similar in the two cell types (IC50 = 72 ± 20 nM for CHO-WT and 75 ± 23 nM for CHO-OR cells), as was its ability to induce G2/M and S phase arrest. Additionally, in 9 different tumor cell lines, although a strong correlation was observed between MMC-induced H2O2 generation and cytochrome P450 reductase activity, there was no relationship between redox cycling and cytotoxicity. Hypoxia, which stabilizes MMC radicals generated by redox cycling, also had no effect on the sensitivity of tumor cells to MMC-induced cytotoxicity. These data indicate that NADPH cytochrome P450 reductase-mediated MMC redox cycling is not involved in cytotoxicity of this chemotherapeutic agent.
Redox cycling; hypoxia; bioreduction; cytochrome P450 reductase; mitomycin c
Blockade of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) by EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors is insufficient for effective antitumor activity because of independently activated survival pathways. A multitargeted approach may therefore improve the outcome of anti-EGFR therapies. In the present study, we determined the effects of 3,3’-diindolyl-methane (Bioresponse BR-DIM referred to as B-DIM), a formulated DIM with greater bioavailability on cell viability and apoptosis with erlotinib in vitro and in vivo using an orthotopic animal tumor model. BxPC-3 and MIAPaCa cells with varying levels of EGFR and nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) DNA-binding activity were treated with B-DIM (20 µmol/L), erlotinib (2 µmol/L), and the combination. Cell survival and apoptosis was assessed by 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide and histone-DNA ELISA. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay was used to evaluate NF-κB DNA-binding activity. We found significant reduction in cell viability by both 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide and clonogenic assays, induction of apoptosis, down-regulation of EGFR phosphorylation, NF-κB DNA-binding activity, and expression of antiapoptotic genes in BxPC-3 cells when treated with the combination of erlotinib and B-DIM compared with either agent alone. In contrast, no such effect was observed in MIAPaCa cells by similar treatment. Most importantly, these in vitro results were recapitulated in animal model showing that B-DIM in combination with erlotinib was much more effective as an antitumor agent compared with either agent alone. These results suggest that the utilization of B-DIM could be a useful strategy for achieving better treatment outcome in patients with activated status of EGFR and NF-κB in their tumors.
Renal cell carcinoma (RCC) is an angiogenesis-dependent and hypoxia-driven malignancy. As a result, there has been an increased interest in the use of antiangiogenic agents for the management of RCC in patients. However, the activity of tumor-vascular disrupting agents (tumor-VDA) has not been extensively examined against RCC. In this study, we investigated the therapeutic efficacy of the tumor-VDA ASA404 (DMXAA, 5,6-dimethylxanthenone-4-acetic acid, or vadimezan) in combination with the mTOR inhibitor everolimus (RAD001) against RCC. In vitro studies were carried out using human umbilical vein endothelial cells and in vivo studies using orthotopic RENCA tumors and immunohistochemical patient tumor-derived RCC xenografts. MRI was used to characterize the vascular response of orthotopic RENCA xenografts to combination treatment. Therapeutic efficacy was determined by tumor growth measurements and histopathologic evaluation. ASA404/everolimus combination resulted in enhanced inhibition of endothelial cell sprouting in the 3-dimensional spheroid assay. MRI of orthotopic RENCA xenografts revealed an early increase in permeability 4 hours posttreatment with ASA404, but not with everolimus. Twenty-four hours after treatment, a significant reduction in blood volume was observed with combination treatment. Correlative CD31/NG2 staining of tumor sections confirmed marked vascular damage following combination therapy. Histologic sections showed extensive necrosis and a reduction in the viable rim following combination treatment compared with VDA treatment alone. These results show the potential of combining tumor-VDAs with mTOR inhibitors in RCC. Further investigation into this novel combination strategy is warranted.
Role of prostate apoptosis response-4 (PAR-4) has been well described in prostate cancer. However, its significance in other cancers has not been fully elucidated. For the current study, we selected four pancreatic cancer cell lines (BxPC-3, Colo-357, L3.6pl, and HPAC) that showed differential endogenous expression of PAR-4. We found that nonpeptidic small-molecule inhibitors (SMI) of Bcl-2 family proteins (apogossypolone and TW-37; 250 nmol/L and 1 μmol/L, respectively) could induce PAR-4-dependent inhibition of cell growth and induction of apoptosis. Sensitivity to apoptosis was directly related to the expression levels of PAR-4 (R = 0.92 and R2 = 0.95). Conversely, small interfering RNA against PAR-4 blocked apoptosis, confirming that PAR-4 is a key player in the apoptotic process. PAR-4 nuclear localization is considered a prerequisite for cells to undergo apoptosis, and we found that the treatment of Colo-357 and L3.6pl cells with 250 nmol/L SMI leads to nuclear localization of PAR-4 as confirmed by 4′,6-diamidino-2-phenylindole staining. In combination studies with gemcitabine, pretreatment with SMI leads to sensitization of Colo-357 cells to the growth-inhibitory and apoptotic action of a therapeutic drug, gemcitabine. In an in vivo setting, the maximum tolerated dose of TW-37 in xenograft of severe combined immuno-deficient mice (40 mg/kg for three i.v. injections) led to significant tumor inhibition. Our results suggest that the observed antitumor activity of SMIs is mediated through a novel pathway involving induction of PAR-4. To our knowledge, this is the first study reporting SMI-mediated apoptosis involving PAR-4 in pancreatic cancer. [Mol Cancer Ther 2008;7(9):2884–93]
Medulloblastoma is a malignant pediatric brain tumor. Current treatment following patient stratification into standard and high-risk groups using clinical features, has improved survival. However, a subset of patients with standard-risk features have unanticipated aggressive disease, underscoring the need for a better understanding of tumor biology and development of novel treatments. Poor differentiation, a hallmark of medulloblastomas is associated with elevated expression levels of the repressor of neuronal differentiation REST. Here, we assessed if elevated REST expression levels had prognostic significance and if its pharmacological manipulation would promote neurogenesis and block tumor cell growth. REST levels in patient tumors were measured by immunohistochemistry (IHC) and stratified into low/moderate- (+/++/+++) and high-REST (+++++) groups. Kaplan-Meier curves revealed that patients with high-REST tumors had worse overall and event-free survival compared to patients with REST-negative or REST-low tumors. Since histone deacetylases (HDACs), are required for REST-dependent repression of neurogenesis, we evaluated a panel of HDAC inhibitors (HDACIs) for their effects on growth and differentiation of established and primary REST-positive cell lines. MS-275, trichostatin-A (TSA), valproic acid (VPA) and suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid (SAHA) upregulated expression of the REST-target neuronal differentiation gene, Syn1, suggesting a potential effect of these HDACIs on REST function. Interestingly, VPA and TSA substantially increased histone acetylation at the REST promoter and activated its transcription, whereas SAHA unexpectedly promoted its proteasomal degradation. A REST-dependent decrease in cell growth was also observed following SAHA treatment. Thus, our studies suggest that HDACIs may have therapeutic potential for patients with REST-positive tumors. This warrants further investigation.
REST; medulloblastoma; HDAC inhibitor; prognosis; differentiation
The Eph family of receptors is the largest family of receptor tyrosine kinases, but it remains poorly studied in lung cancer. Our aim was to systematically explore the human Eph receptors and their ligands, the ephrins, in lung adenocarcinoma. The prognostic impact of Eph receptor and ephrin gene expression was analyzed using 2 independent cohorts of lung adenocarcinoma. Gene expression profiles in lung adenocarcinoma versus normal adjacent lung were studied in 3 independent cohorts and in cell lines. Gene expression profiles were validated with quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) and Western blotting in cell lines. Functional studies to assess the role of Eph receptor A4 (EphA4) were performed in vitro. The biological effects of EphA4 in lung cancer cell lines were assayed following overexpression and knockdown. Of the 11 Eph receptors and 8 ephrins analyzed, only EphA4 and ephrin A1 gene expression were consistently associated with an improved outcome in patients with lung adenocarcinoma. Expression levels of EphA4 by microarray correlated well with expression levels measured by qPCR and Western blotting. EphA4 overexpression reduced cell migration and invasion but did not affect cell cycle, apoptosis, or drug sensitivity. Surprisingly, EphA4 was expressed at higher levels in cancer versus non-cancer tissues and cell lines. EphA4 gene expression is associated with an improved outcome in patients with resected lung adenocarcinoma, likely by affecting cancer cell migration and invasion.
non-small cell lung cancer; adenocarcinoma; Eph receptor; ephrin; prognosis
New pharmacologic targets are needed for lung cancer. One candidate pathway to target is composed of the E1-like ubiquitin-activating enzyme (UBE1L) that associates with interferon-stimulated gene 15 (ISG15), which complexes with and destabilizes cyclin D1. Ubiquitin protease 43 (UBP43/USP18) removes ISG15 from conjugated proteins. This study reports that gain of UBP43 stabilized cyclin D1, but not other D-type cyclins or cyclin E. This depended on UBP43 enzymatic activity; an enzymatically inactive UBP43 did not affect cyclin D1 stability. As expected, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) that reduced UBP43 expression also decreased cyclin D1 levels and increased apoptosis in a panel of lung cancer cell lines. Forced cyclin D1 expression rescued UBP43 apoptotic effects, which highlighted the importance of cyclin D1 in conferring this. Short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated reduction of UBP43 significantly increased apoptosis and reduced murine lung cancer growth in vitro and in vivo after transplantation of these cells into syngeneic mice. These cells also exhibited increased response to all-trans-retinoic acid (RA), interferon (IFN), or cisplatin treatments. Notably, gain of UBP43 expression antagonized these effects. Normal-malignant human lung tissue arrays were examined independently for UBP43, cyclin D1, and cyclin E immunohistochemical expression. UBP43 was significantly (P < 0.01) increased in the malignant versus normal lung. A direct relationship was found between UBP43 and cyclin D1 (but not cyclin E) expression. Differential UBP43 expression was independently detected in a normal-malignant tissue array with diverse human cancers. Taken together, these findings uncovered UBP43 as a previously unrecognized anti-neoplastic target.
UBP43/USP18; cyclin D1; lung cancer
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a lethal malignancy, with most patients facing an adverse clinical outcome. Aberrant Notch pathway activation has been implicated in the initiation and progression of PDAC, specifically the aggressive phenotype of the disease. We used a panel of human PDAC cell lines, as well as patient-derived PDAC xenografts to determine whether pharmacological targeting of Notch pathway could inhibit PDAC growth and potentiate gemcitabine sensitivity. MRK-003, a potent and selective γ-secretase inhibitor, treatment is effective against PDAC as evidenced by the down-regulation of nuclear Notch1 intracellular domain (N1ICD), inhibition of anchorage independent growth, and reduction of tumor-initiating cells capable of extensive self-renewal. Pre-treatment of PDAC cells with MRK-003 in cell culture significantly inhibited the subsequent engraftment in immunocompromised mice. MRK-003 monotherapy significantly blocked tumor growth in 5 of 9 (56%) PDAC xenografts. A combination of MRK-003 and gemcitabine showed enhanced antitumor effects compared to gemcitabine in 4 of 9 (44%) PDAC xenografts, reduced tumor cell proliferation and induced both apoptosis and intra-tumoral necrosis. Gene expression analysis of untreated tumors indicated that up-regulation of nuclear factor kappa B (NFκB) pathway components were predictive of sensitivity to MRK-003, while up-regulation in B-cell receptor (BCR) signaling and nuclear factor erythroid-derived 2-like 2 (NRF2) pathway correlated with response to the combination of MRK-003 with gemcitabine. Our findings strengthen the rationale for small molecule inhibition of Notch signaling as a therapeutic strategy in PDAC.
Notch; MRK-003; gamma-secretase inhibitor; pancreatic cancer; chemotherapy
Platinum agents are the backbone of cancer chemotherapy. Recently we identified and replicated the role of a single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP, rs1649942) in predicting platinum sensitivity both in vitro and in vivo. Using the CEU samples from the International HapMap Project, we found the same SNP to be a master regulator of multiple gene expression phenotypes, prompting us to investigate whether rs1649942-mediated regulation of microRNAs (miRNAs) may in part contribute to variation in platinum sensitivity. To these ends, sixty unrelated HapMap CEU I/II samples were utilized for our discovery-phase study using high-throughput genome-wide miRNA and gene expression profiling. Examining the relationships among rs1649942, its gene expression targets, genome-wide miRNA expression and cellular sensitivity to carboplatin and cisplatin, we identified 2 platinum-associated miRNAs (miR-193b* and miR-320) that inhibit the expression of five platinum-associated genes (CRIM1, IFIT2, OAS1, KCNMA1 and GRAMD1B). We further replicated the relationship between the expression of miR-193b*, CRIM1, IFIT2, KCNMA1 and GRAMD1B, and platinum sensitivity in a separate HapMap CEU III dataset. We then showed that over-expression of miR-193b* in a randomly selected HapMap cell line results in resistance to both carboplatin and cisplatin. This relationship was also found in 7 ovarian cancer cell lines from NCI60 dataset and confirmed in an ovarian cancer cell line (OVCAR-3) that over-expression of miR-193b* leads to increased resistance to carboplatin. Our findings highlight a potential mechanism of action for a previously observed genotype-survival outcome association. Further examination of miR-193b* in platinum sensitivity in ovarian cancer is warranted.
microRNA; gene expression; platinum; HapMap; SNP
Src kinase is elevated in breast tumors that are ER/PR negative and do not overexpress HER2 but clinical trials with Src inhibitors have demonstrated little activity. The present study evaluated preclinical efficacy of a novel peptidomimetic compound, KX-01 (KX2-391), that exhibits dual action as a Src and pretubulin inhibitor. KX-01 was evaluated as a single agent and in combination with paclitaxel in MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-157, and MDA-MB-468 human ER/PR/HER2-negative breast cancer cells. Treatments were evaluated by growth/apoptosis, isobologram analysis, migration/invasion assays, tumor xenograft volume, metastasis, and measurement of Src, FAK, microtubules, Ki67, and microvessel density. KX-01 inhibited cell growth in vitro and in combination with paclitaxel resulted in synergistic growth inhibition. KX-01 resulted in a dose dependent inhibition of MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-157 tumor xenografts (1 and 5 mg/kg, BID). KX-01 inhibited activity of Src and downstream mediator FAK in tumors that was coincident with reduced proliferation and angiogenesis, and increased apoptosis. KX01 also resulted in microtubule disruption in tumors. Combination of KX-01 with paclitaxel resulted in significant regression of MDA-MB-231 tumors and reduced metastasis to mouse lung and liver. KX-01 is a potently active Src/pretubulin inhibitor that inhibits breast tumor growth and metastasis. As ER/PR/HER2-negative patients are candidates for paclitaxel therapy, combination with KX-01 may potentiate antitumor efficacy in management of this aggressive breast cancer subtype.
Breast cancer; KX-01 (KX2-391); paclitaxel; microtubule; src; preclinical
Individuals with an inherited BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation have an elevated risk of developing breast cancer (BC). The resulting tumors typically lack homologous recombination repair, as do a subset of sporadic tumors with acquired BRCA deficiency. Clinical responses to monotherapy with platinum drugs or poly(ADP)ribose polymerase (PARP) inhibitors (PARPi) have been demonstrated for BRCA-associated cancers. However, there is limited data on combination therapy with PARPi and platinum drugs, the mechanism of action of this combination and the role of BRCA1 or BRCA2 in chemosensitivity. We compared the efficacy of ABT-888 (a PARPi) with that of cisplatin or carboplatin (platinum drugs) alone or in combinations by examining survival of treated Brca-proficient and -deficient mouse embryonic stem cells (mESC). In addition, drug-induced growth inhibition of a BRCA1 and a BRCA2 null cell line were compared to their isogenic BRCA-complemented lines. Whereas each monotherapy killed or inhibited proliferation of Brca/BRCA-deficient cells, an enhanced effect was observed after treatment with ABT-888 in combination with carboplatin. Moreover, the ABT-888/carboplatin combination delayed tumor growth in Brca2 xenografts. The drugs caused DNA damage, apoptosis and greater PARP activity in Brca/BRCA-deficient cells, and these effects correlated with increased chemosensitivity. Our data suggest that ABT-888 and carboplatin combination treatment will be more successful than monotherapy in addressing many BRCA-associated cancers. A randomized phase II trial has recently been initiated to test this hypothesis to assist in the discovery of more effective therapies for BRCA patients.
BRCA1; BRCA2; Chemotherapy; PARP inhibitor; Platinum Drugs
Androgen-insensitive DU145 and PC3 human prostate cancer cells express high levels of specificity protein (Sp) transcription factors Sp1, Sp3 and Sp4, and treatment of cells with methyl 2-cyano-3,11-dioxo-18β-olean-1,12-dien-30-oate (CDODA-Me) inhibited cell growth and downregulated Sp1, Sp3 and Sp4 expression. CDODA-Me (15 mg/kg/d) was a potent inhibitor of tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model (PC3 cells) and also decreased expression of Sp transcription factors in tumors. CDODA-Me-mediated downregulation of Sp1, Sp3 and Sp4 was due to induction of the transcriptional repressor ZBTB4 which competitively binds and displaces Sp transcription factors from GC-rich sites in Sp1, Sp3, Sp4 and Sp-regulated gene promoters. ZBTB4 levels are relatively low in DU145 and PC3 cells due to suppression by microRNA (miR) paralogs that are members of the miR-17-92 (miR-20a/17-5p) and miR-106b-25 (miR-106b/93) clusters. Examination of publically available prostate cancer patient array data showed an inverse relationship between ZBTB4 and miRs-20a/17-5p/106b/93 expression, and increased ZBTB4 in prostate cancer patients was a prognostic factor for increased survival. CDODA-Me induces ZBTB4 in prostate cancer cells through disruption of miR-ZBTB4 interactions and this results in downregulation of pro-oncogenic Sp transcription factors and Sp-regulated genes.
ZBTB4; CDODA-Me; Sp; miR-17-92; miR-106b
Ponatinib is a novel tyrosine kinase inhibitor with potent activity against BCR-ABL with mutations including T315I, and also against fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3). We tested interactions between ponatinib at pharmacologically relevant concentrations of 50 to 200 nM and the multidrug resistance-associated ATP-binding cassette (ABC) proteins ABCB1, ABCC1 and ABCG2. Ponatinib enhanced uptake of substrates of ABCG2 and ABCB1, but not ABCC1, in cells overexpressing these proteins, with a greater effect on ABCG2 than on ABCB1. Ponatinib potently inhibited [125I]-IAAP binding to ABCG2 and ABCB1, indicating binding to their drug substrate sites, with IC50s of 0.04 μM and 0.63 μM, respectively. Ponatinib stimulated ABCG2 ATPase activity in a concentration-dependent manner and stimulated ABCB1 ATPase activity at low concentrations, consistent with it being a substrate of both proteins at pharmacologically relevant concentrations. The ponatinib IC50s of BCR-ABL-expressing K562 cells transfected with ABCB1 and ABCG2 were approximately the same as and 2-fold higher than that of K562, respectively, consistent with ponatinib being a substrate of both proteins, but inhibiting its own transport, and resistance was also attenuated to a small degree by ponatinib-induced downregulation of ABCB1 and ABCG2 cell surface expression on resistant K562 cells. Ponatinib at pharmacologically relevant concentrations produced synergistic cytotoxicity with ABCB1 and ABCG2 substrate chemotherapy drugs and enhanced apoptosis induced by these drugs, including daunorubicin, mitoxantrone, topotecan and flavopiridol, in cells overexpressing these transport proteins. Combinations of ponatinib and chemotherapy drugs warrant further testing.
Ponatinib; ABCG2; ABCB1; multidrug resistance; leukemia
The NEDD8 activating enzyme (NAE) is upstream of the 20S proteasome in the ubiquitin/proteasome pathway and catalyzes the first step in the neddylation pathway. NEDD8 modification of cullins is required for ubiquitination of cullin-ring ligases (CRLs), which regulate degradation of a distinct subset of proteins. The more targeted impact of NAE on protein degradation prompted us to study MLN4924, an investigational NAE inhibitor, in preclinical multiple myeloma (MM) models. In vitro treatment with MLN4924 led to dose-dependent decrease of viability (EC50=25–150nM) in a panel of human MM cell lines. MLN4924 was similarly active against a bortezomib-resistant ANBL-6 subline and its bortezomib-sensitive parental cells. MLN4924 had sub-μM activity (EC50 values <500nM) against primary CD138+ MM patient cells and exhibited at least additive effect when combined with dexamethasone, doxorubicin and bortezomib against MM.1S cells. The bortezomib-induced compensatory up-regulation of transcripts for ubiquitin/proteasome was not observed with MLN4924 treatment, suggesting distinct functional roles of NAE vs 20S proteasome. MLN4924 was well tolerated at doses up to 60mg/kg 2x daily and significantly reduced tumor burden in both a subcutaneous and an orthotopic mouse model of MM. These studies provide the framework for the clinical investigation of MLN4924 in MM.
myeloma; cancer; NEDD8; NAE; microenvironment
The poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase (PARP) inhibitor ABT-888 potentiates the antitumor activity of temozolomide (TMZ). TMZ resistance results from increased O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) activity and from mismatch repair (MMR) system mutations. We evaluated the relative importance of MGMT activity, MMR deficiency, nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ), and PARP activity in ABT-888 potentiation of TMZ. MMR-proficient and MMR-deficient leukemia cells with varying MGMT activity, as well as primary leukemia samples, were used to determine TMZ IC50 alone and with ABT-888. ABT-888 effectively inhibited PARP activity and enhanced TMZ growth inhibition in most leukemia cells. ABT-888 potentiation was most effective in MMR-deficient cells with low MGMT activity [potentiation factor (PF) = 21]. ABT-888 also potentiated TMZ activity in MMR-deficient cells with elevated MGMT activity. Unexpectedly, ABT-888 also enhanced TMZ activity in MMR-proficient cells (PF = 3–7). ABT-888 potentiation was unrelated to NHEJ activity. ABT-888 potentiated TMZ (PF = 2–5) in two of four acute myeloid leukemia patient samples but showed little potentiation in primary acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In conclusion, although ABT-888 potentiation of TMZ was most pronounced in MMR-deficient cells with low MGMT activity, neither MMR proficiency nor MGMT overexpression completely abrogated ABT-888 potentiation of TMZ.
Acute lymphocytic leukemia; ALL; acute myeloid leukemia; AML; base excision repair; microsatellite instability; mismatch repair
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by overexpression of Enhancer-of Zeste-Homolog-2 (EZH2), which plays a pivotal role in cancer-stem-cell (CSC) self-renewal through methylation of histone-H3-lysine-27 (H3K27m3). Against this background, EZH2 was identified as an attractive target and we investigated the interaction of the EZH2-inhibitor DZNeP with gemcitabine.
EZH2 expression was detected by quantitative-RT-PCR in 15 PDAC cells, including 7 primary cell cultures, showing expression values correlated with their originator tumors (Spearman-R2=0.89, P=0.01). EZH2 expression in cancer cells was significantly higher than in normal ductal pancreatic cells and fibroblasts.
DZNeP (5 μM, 72-hour-exposure) modulated EZH2 and H3K27m3 protein expression, and synergistically enhanced the antiproliferative activity of gemcitabine, with combination index values of 0.2 (PANC-1), 0.3 (MIA-PaCa-2) and 0.7 (LPC006). The drug combination reduced the percentages of cells in G2/M phase (e.g., from 27 to 19% in PANC-1, P<0.05), and significantly increased apoptosis compared to gemcitabine-alone. Moreover, DZNeP enhanced the mRNA and protein expression of the nucleoside transporters hENT1/hCNT1, possibly because of the significant reduction of deoxynucleotides content (e.g., 25% reduction of deoxycytidine-nucleotides in PANC-1), as detected by LC-MS/MS.
DZNeP decreased cell migration, which was additionally reduced by DZNeP/gemcitabine combination (-20% in LPc006, after 8-hour exposure, P<0.05), and associated with increased E-cadherin mRNA and protein expression. Furthermore, DZNeP and DZNeP/gemcitabine combination significantly reduced the volume of PDAC spheroids growing in CSC-selective-medium, and decreased the proportion of CD133+ cells.
All these molecular mechanisms underlying the synergism of DZNeP/gemcitabine combination support further studies on this novel therapeutic approach for treatment of PDAC.
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma; EZH2; DZNeP; gemcitabine
There is a critical need for efficacious therapeutic strategies to improve the outcome of patients afflicted by malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST). Multiple lines of evidence suggest a role for deregulated PI3K/mTOR signaling in MPNST, making this axis an attractive target for therapeutic manipulation. Based on previous observations obtained from in vitro experimentation, here we aimed to assess the effects of PI3K/mTOR blockade on MPNST growth in vivo. The anti-MPNST impact of XL765, a dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor currently being evaluated in human cancer clinical trials, was tested in two human MPNST xenograft models (STS26T and MPNST724) and an experimental model of pulmonary metastasis (STS26T). XL765 abrogated human MPNST local and metastatic growth in SCID mice. Notably, this therapeutic approach failed to induce apoptosis in MPNST cells but rather resulted in marked productive autophagy. Importantly, genetic and pharmacologic autophagy blockade reversed apoptotic resistance and resulted in significant PI3K/mTOR inhibition-induced MPNST cell death. The addition of the autophagy inhibitor, chloroquine, to the therapeutic regimen of MPNST xenografts after pre-treatment with XL765 resulted in superior anti-tumor effects as compared to either agent alone. Together, pre-clinical studies described here expand our previous findings and suggest that PI3K/mTOR inhibition alone and (most importantly) in combination with autophagy blockade may comprise a novel and efficacious therapy for patients harboring MPNST.
MPNST; Targeted-Therapy; PI3K/mTOR inhibitors; Autophagy; chloroquine
The polo-box domain (PBD) has critical roles in the mitotic functions of PLK1. The REPLACE strategy to develop inhibitors of protein-protein interactions has identified alternatives for the N-terminal tripeptide of a Cdc25C substrate. In addition, a peptide structure activity relationship described key determinants and novel information useful for drug design. Fragment ligated inhibitory peptides (FLIPs) were generated with comparable affinity to peptide PBD inhibitors and possessed anti-proliferative phenotypes in cells consistent with the observed decrease in PLK1 centrosomal localization. These FLIPs demonstrated evidence of enhanced PLK1 inhibition in cells relative to peptides and induced monopolar and multipolar spindles, which stands in contrast to previously reported small molecule PBD inhibitors that display phenotypes only partially representative of PLK1 knockdown. Progress obtained applying REPLACE validates this approach for identifying fragment alternatives for determinants of the Cdc25C binding motif and extends its applicability of the strategy for discovering protein-protein interaction inhibitors. In addition, the described PBD inhibitors retain high specificity for PLK1 over PLK3 and therefore show promise as isotype selective, non-ATP competitive kinase inhibitors that provide new impetus for the development of PLK1 selective anti-tumor therapeutics.
Phosphorylation and proteolysis in cell cycle control; Protein serine-threonine kinases; Molecular modelling; In silico evaluation of targets and design of libraries; Protein/protein interactions; Cell cycle mechanisms of anticancer drug action; Kinase and phosphatase inhibitors; Novel antitumor agents