Imaging guided trials of the angiogenesis inhibitor sunitinib in mouse models predict efficacy in pancreatic neuroendocrine but not ductal carcinoma.
ABSTRACT: Preclinical trials in mice represent a critical step in the evaluation of experimental therapeutics. Genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) represent a promising platform for the evaluation of drugs, particularly those targeting the tumor microenvironment. We evaluated sunitinib, an angiogenesis inhibitor that targets VEGF and PDGF receptor signaling, in two GEMMs of pancreatic cancer. Sunitinib did not reduce tumor burden in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), whereas tumor burden was reduced in the pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (PNET) model, the latter results confirming and extending previous studies. To explore the basis for the lack of pathologic response in PDAC, we used noninvasive microbubble contrast-enhanced ultrasound imaging, which revealed that sunitinib reduced blood flow both in PDAC and in PNET, concomitant with a reduction in vessel density; nevertheless, PDAC tumors continued to grow, whereas PNET were growth impaired. These results parallel the response in humans, where sunitinib recently garnered FDA and European approval in PNET, whereas two antiangiogenic drugs failed to demonstrate efficacy in PDAC clinical trials. The demonstration of on-target activity but with discordant benefit in the PDAC and PNET GEMMs illustrates the potential value of linked preclinical and clinical trials.
Project description:Although oncolytic adenoviruses are promising cancer therapy agents, for effective oncolytic activity, viruses need to specifically infect and effectively replicate in cancer cells but not in normal cells. We have previously identified a pancreatic cancer-targeting ligand, SYENFSA (SYE), by screening an adenovirus library displaying random peptides against human pancreatic cancer cells and reported that a survivin promoter-regulated adenovirus, displaying the SYE ligand (AdSur-SYE), provided effective oncolysis of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) in a preclinical study. As we examined the infectivity of AdSur-SYE in human surgical specimens of various pancreatic tumors, we unexpectedly found that AdSur-SYE showed high gene transduction efficiency for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs) as well as for PDAC, 9.1- and 6.2-fold, respectively, compared to that of the nontargeting virus (AdSur). The infectivity of both vectors was almost the same in other cancers and organs such as the pancreas. Immunostaining indicated that the cells infected with AdSur-SYE were PNET cells but not stromal cells. AdSur-SYE showed a significantly higher oncolytic potency than that of AdSur in human PNET cell lines, and intratumoral infection with AdSur-SYE completely diminished subcutaneous tumors in a murine model, in which AdSur-SYE effectively proliferated and spread. AdSur-SYE exerted a stronger oncolytic effect in primary PNET cells cocultured with mouse embryonic fibroblasts than AdSur did. Thus, AdSur-SYE shows promise as a next-generation therapy for PNET.
Project description:Preclinical trials of cancer drugs in animal models are important for drug development. The Rip1Tag2 (RT2) transgenic mouse, a model of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (PNET), has provided immense knowledge about PNET biology, although tumour progression occurs in a location inaccessible for real-time monitoring. To overcome this hurdle we have developed a novel platform for intravital 3D imaging of RT2 tumours to facilitate real-time studies of cancer progression. Pre-oncogenic islets retrieved from RT2 mice were implanted into the anterior chamber of the eye (ACE) of host mice, where they engrafted on the iris, recruited blood vessels and showed continuous growth. Noninvasive confocal and two-photon laser-scanning microscopy through the transparent cornea facilitated high-resolution imaging of tumour growth and angiogenesis. RT2 tumours in the ACE expanded up to 8-fold in size and shared hallmarks with tumours developing in situ in the pancreas. Genetically encoded fluorescent reporters enabled high-resolution imaging of stromal cells and tumour cell migration. Sunitinib treatment impaired RT2 tumour angiogenesis and growth, while overexpression of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-B increased tumour angiogenesis though tumour growth was impaired. In conclusion, we present a novel platform for intravital high-resolution and 3D imaging of PNET biology and cancer drug assessment.
Project description:The receptor for hyaluronic acid-mediated motility (RHAMM) is upregulated in various cancers. We previously screened genes upregulated in human hepatocellular carcinomas for their metastatic function in a mouse model of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor (PNET) and identified that human RHAMMB promoted liver metastasis. It was unknown whether RHAMMB is upregulated in pancreatic cancer or contributes to its progression. In this study, we found that RHAMM protein was frequently upregulated in human PNETs. We investigated alternative splicing isoforms, RHAMMA and RHAMMB, by RNA-Seq analysis of primary PNETs and liver metastases. RHAMMB, but not RHAMMA, was significantly upregulated in liver metastases. RHAMMB was crucial for in vivo metastatic capacity of mouse and human PNETs. RHAMMA, carrying an extra 15-amino acid-stretch, did not promote metastasis in spontaneous and experimental metastasis mouse models. Moreover, RHAMMB was substantially higher than RHAMMA in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). RHAMMB, but not RHAMMA, correlated with both higher EGFR expression and poorer survival of PDAC patients. Knockdown of EGFR abolished RHAMMB-driven PNET metastasis. Altogether, our findings suggest a clinically relevant function of RHAMMB, but not RHAMMA, in promoting PNET metastasis in part through EGFR signaling. RHAMMB can thus serve as a prognostic factor for pancreatic cancer.
Project description:Angiogenesis has a pivotal role in the growth and metastasis of pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (PNETs). Apatinib inhibits angiogenesis as a highly selective VEGFR2 inhibitor and has been used to treat advanced gastric cancer and malignancies in clinical settings. However, the efficacy of apatinib in PNETs remains unclear. The aim of this study was to compare the antitumor efficacy of apatinib with that of the standard PNET drug sunitinib in our subcutaneous and liver metastasis models of insulinoma and non-functional PNET. Our results revealed that apatinib had a generally comparable or even superior antitumor effect to that of sunitinib on primary PNET, and it inhibited angiogenesis without directly causing tumor cell cytotoxicity. Apatinib inhibited the tumor in a dose-dependent manner, and the high dose was well tolerated in mice. We also found that the apatinib efficacy in liver metastasis models was cell-type (disease) selective. Although apatinib efficiently inhibited INR1G9-represented non-functional PNET liver metastasis, it led to the emergence of a hypoxic area in the INS-1-represented insulinoma and promoted liver metastasis. Our study demonstrated that apatinib has promise for clinical applications in certain malignant PNETs and the application of anti-angiogenesis drugs to benign insulinomas may require careful consideration.
Project description:A majority of patients with pancreatic malignancies, including both pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (pNETs), present with advanced disease due to a lack of specific symptoms and current diagnostic limitations, making this disease extremely difficult to detect. Our goal was to determine whether urinary matrix metalloproteases (uMMPs) and/or their endogenous inhibitors, urinary tissue inhibitor of metalloproteases (uTIMPs), could be detected in the urine of patients with pancreatic malignancies and whether they may serve as independent predictors of disease status.Retrospective analyses of urine samples (n=139) from PDAC and pNET patients as well as age- and sex-matched controls were conducted. Urinary MMP-2 and uTIMP-1 levels were determined using ELISA and zymography. Biomarker expression in tumour and normal pancreatic tissues was analysed via immunohistochemistry (IHC).Multivariable logistic regression analyses indicated that, when controlling for age and sex, uMMP-2 (P<0.0001) and uTIMP-1 (P<0.0001) but not uMMP-9, were significant independent predictors for distinguishing between PDAC patients and healthy controls. Our data also indicated that uMMP-2 was an independent predictor of the presence of pNET. In addition, uTIMP-1 levels could differentiate the two cancer groups, PDAC and pNET, respectively. Immunohistochemistry analysis confirmed that MMP-2 and TIMP-1 protein expression is significantly upregulated in PDAC tissue compared with the normal pancreas.Taken together, our results suggest that the detection of uMMP-2 and uTIMP-1 may have diagnostic value in the detection of pancreatic malignancies and that uTIMP-1 may be useful in distinguishing between pancreatic adenocarcinoma and neuroendocrine tumours.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Sunitinib prolongs progression-free survival (PFS) in patients with advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours (pNET). Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST)-defined partial responses (PR; classically defined as ?30% size decrease from baseline) are infrequent. METHODS:Individual data of pNET patients from the phase II [NCT00056693] and pivotal phase III [NCT00428597] trials of sunitinib were analysed in this investigator-initiated, post hoc study. The primary objective was to determine the optimal RECIST (v.1.0) response cut-off value to identify patients who were progression-free at 11 months (median PFS in phase III trial); and the most informative time-point (highest area under the curve (AUC) by receiver operating characteristic (ROC) analysis and logistic regression) for prediction of benefit (PFS) from sunitinib. RESULTS:Data for 237 patients (85 placebo; 152 sunitinib (n=66.50?mg '4-weeks on/2-weeks off' schedule; n=86 '37.5?mg continuous daily dosing (CDD)')) and 788 scans were analysed. The median PFS for sunitinib and placebo were 9.3 months (95% CI 7.6-12.2) and 5.4 months (95% CI 3.5-6.01), respectively (hazard ratio (HR) 0.43 (95% CI 0.29-0.62); P<0.001). A PR was seen in 19 patients (13%) on sunitinib; the median change in the sum of the lesions (vs baseline) was -12.8% (range -100 to +36.4). Month 7 was the most informative time-point (AUC 0.78 (95% CI 0.66-0.9); odds ratio 1.05 (95% CI 1.01-1.08), P=0.002). Reduction of 10% (vs baseline) achieved the highest sensitivity (50%) and specificity (82%), amongst cut-offs tested. A 10% reduction in marker lesions was associated with improved PFS in the whole sunitinib population (HR 0.55 (95 CI 0.3-0.9); P=0.04); mostly in patients on sunitinib CDD (HR 0.33 (95% CI 0.2-0.7); P=0.005). A 10% reduction in marker lesions (P=0.034) and sunitinib treatment (P=0.012) independently impacted on PFS (multivariable analysis). CONCLUSIONS:A 10% reduction within marker lesions identifies pNET patients benefiting from sunitinib treatment with implications for maintenance of dose intensity and future trial design.
Project description:Endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and its consequent unfolded protein response (UPR) are believed to be associated with progression, survival and chemoresistance of a variety of tumor cells through multiple cellular processes, including autophagy. Therefore, the ER stress-autophagy pathway presents a potential molecular target for therapeutic intervention. The objective of this study was to evaluate the therapeutic efficacy of ER stress and autophagy modulators in the context of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC).We first targeted IRE1?, an important regulator of the UPR, through STF-083010 treatment in PDAC cell lines in vitro. Chloroquine was then used to target autophagy and an optimal combination treatment was developed using chloroquine, sunitinib and gemcitabine. Apoptosis was analyzed using TUNEL assay, autophagy was estimated using lysotracker staining and electron microscopy, and UPR was analyzed using anti-GRP78 immunostaining and XBP1 splicing. Transplantation of PDAC derived KPCP1 and Panc02 cells in mouse pancreas were performed to study treatment efficacy in vivo.Suppression of the IRE1? by STF-083010 alone resulted in increased lysosomes and reduced viability of PDAC cells. Chloroquine treatment alone inhibited downstream autophagy but was insufficient in reducing PDAC cell growth. However, combining STF-083010 and chloroquine had additive anti-tumor efficacy when used with gemcitabine. Sunitinib alone caused abnormal maturation of the autolysosomes with increased intracellular multivesicular bodies and increased apoptosis evident in PDAC cells. Sunitinib showed a synergistic effect with chloroquine in reducing in vitro PDAC cell viability and significantly increased the efficacy of gemcitabine in human and murine PDAC cell lines. The anti-proliferative effect of gemcitabine was significantly increased when used in combination with sunitinib and/or chloroquine in both in vitro and in vivo PDAC models. The addition of sunitinib and/or chloroquine to gemcitabine, resulted in a significantly increased survival of the animals without noticeably increased toxicity. Sunitinib, gemcitabine and chloroquine treated mice showed a significant reduction of GRP78 expression, reduced cell proliferation and increased apoptosis in pancreas, compatible with a tumor response.Sunitinib combined with chloroquine reduces tumor growth through suppression of autophagy and increased apoptosis. Co-administration of modulators of ER stress-mediated autophagy with chemotherapy presents a novel therapeutic approach in PDAC.
Project description:Treatment of the clinically and prognostically heterogeneous neuroendocrine neoplasms (NEN) should be based on a multidisciplinary approach, including surgical, interventional, medical and nuclear medicine-based therapeutic options. Medical therapies include somatostatin analogues, interferon-a, mTOR inhibitors, multikinase inhibitors and systemic chemotherapy. For the selection of the appropriate medical treatment the hormonal activity, primary tumor localization, tumor grading and growth behaviour as well as the extent of the disease must be considered. Somatostatin analogues are mainly indicated in hormonally active tumors for symptomatic relief, but antiproliferative effects have also been demonstrated, especially in well-differentiated intestinal NET. The efficacy of everolimus and sunitinib in patients with pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNET) has been demonstrated in large placebo-controlled clinical trials. pNETs are also chemosensitive. Streptozocin-based chemotherapeutic regimens are regarded as current standard of care. Temozolomide in combination with capecitabine is an alternative that has shown promising results that need to be confirmed in larger trials. Currently, no comparative studies and no molecular markers are established that predict the response to medical treatment. Therefore the choice of treatment for each pNET patient is based on individual parameters taking into account the patient's preference, expected side effects and established response criteria such as proliferation rate and tumor load. Platin-based chemotherapy is still the standard treatment for poorly differentiated neuroendocrine carcinomas. Clearly, there is an unmet need for new systemic treatment options in patients with extrapancreatic neuroendocrine tumors.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma is the most common form of pancreatic tumour, with a very limited survival rate and currently no available disease-modifying treatments. Despite recent advances in the production of genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs), the development of new therapies for pancreatic cancer is still hampered by a lack of reliable and predictive preclinical animal models for this disease. Preclinical models are vitally important for assessing therapies in the first stages of the drug development pipeline, prior to their transition to the clinical arena. GEMMs carry mutations in genes that are associated with specific human diseases and they can thus accurately mimic the genetic, phenotypic and physiological aspects of human pathologies. Here, we discuss different GEMMs of human pancreatic cancer, with a focus on the Lox-Stop-Lox (LSL)-Kras(G12D); LSL-Trp53(R172H); Pdx1-cre (KPC) model, one of the most widely used preclinical models for this disease. We describe its application in preclinical research, highlighting its advantages and disadvantages, its potential for predicting clinical outcomes in humans and the factors that can affect such outcomes, and, finally, future developments that could advance the discovery of new therapies for pancreatic cancer.