Differential inhibitor sensitivity of anaplastic lymphoma kinase variants found in neuroblastoma.
ABSTRACT: Activating mutations in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene were recently discovered in neuroblastoma, a cancer of the developing autonomic nervous system that is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in the first year of life. The most frequent ALK mutations in neuroblastoma cause amino acid substitutions (F1174L and R1275Q) in the intracellular tyrosine kinase domain of the intact ALK receptor. Identification of ALK as an oncogenic driver in neuroblastoma suggests that crizotinib (PF-02341066), a dual-specific inhibitor of the ALK and Met tyrosine kinases, will be useful in treating this malignancy. Here, we assessed the ability of crizotinib to inhibit proliferation of neuroblastoma cell lines and xenografts expressing mutated or wild-type ALK. Crizotinib inhibited proliferation of cell lines expressing either R1275Q-mutated ALK or amplified wild-type ALK. In contrast, cell lines harboring F1174L-mutated ALK were relatively resistant to crizotinib. Biochemical analyses revealed that this reduced susceptibility of F1174L-mutated ALK to crizotinib inhibition resulted from an increased adenosine triphosphate-binding affinity (as also seen in acquired resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors). Thus, this effect should be surmountable with higher doses of crizotinib and/or with higher-affinity inhibitors.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Neuroblastomas harboring activating point mutations in anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) are differentially sensitive to the ALK inhibitor crizotinib, with certain mutations conferring intrinsic crizotinib resistance. To overcome this clinical obstacle, our goal was to identify inhibitors with improved potency that can target intractable ALK variants such as F1174L. We find that PF-06463922 has high potency across ALK variants and inhibits ALK more effectively than crizotinib in vitro. Most importantly, PF-06463922 induces complete tumor regression in both crizotinib-resistant and crizotinib-sensitive xenograft mouse models of neuroblastoma, as well as in patient-derived xenografts harboring the crizotinib-resistant F1174L or F1245C mutations. These studies demonstrate that PF-06463922 has the potential to overcome crizotinib resistance and exerts unprecedented activity as a single targeted agent against F1174L and F1245C ALK-mutated xenograft tumors, while also inducing responses in an R1275Q xenograft model. Taken together, these results provide the rationale to move PF-06463922 into clinical trials for treatment of patients with ALK-mutated neuroblastoma. SIGNIFICANCE:The next-generation ALK/ROS1 inhibitor PF-06463922 exerts unparalleled activity in ALK-driven neuroblastoma models with primary crizotinib resistance. Our biochemical and in vivo data provide the preclinical rationale for fast-tracking the development of this agent in children with relapsed/refractory ALK-mutant neuroblastoma.
Project description:The anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene is overexpressed, mutated or amplified in most neuroblastoma (NB), a pediatric neural crest-derived embryonal tumor. The two most frequent mutations, ALK-F1174L and ALK-R1275Q, contribute to NB tumorigenesis in mouse models, and cooperate with MYCN in the oncogenic process. However, the precise role of activating ALK mutations or ALK-wt overexpression in NB tumor initiation needs further clarification. Human ALK-wt, ALK-F1174L, or ALK-R1275Q were stably expressed in murine neural crest progenitor cells (NCPC), MONC-1 or JoMa1, immortalized with v-Myc or Tamoxifen-inducible Myc-ERT, respectively. While orthotopic implantations of MONC- 1 parental cells in nude mice generated various tumor types, such as NB, osteo/ chondrosarcoma, and undifferentiated tumors, due to v-Myc oncogenic activity, MONC-1-ALK-F1174L cells only produced undifferentiated tumors. Furthermore, our data represent the first demonstration of ALK-wt transforming capacity, as ALK-wt expression in JoMa1 cells, likewise ALK-F1174L, or ALK-R1275Q, in absence of exogenous Myc-ERT activity, was sufficient to induce the formation of aggressive and undifferentiated neural crest cell-derived tumors, but not to drive NB development. Interestingly, JoMa1-ALK tumors and their derived cell lines upregulated Myc endogenous expression, resulting from ALK activation, and both ALK and Myc activities were necessary to confer tumorigenic properties on tumor-derived JoMa1 cells in vitro.
Project description:Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is a receptor tyrosine kinase that, when genetically altered by mutation, amplification, chromosomal translocation or inversion, has been shown to play an oncogenic role in certain cancers. Small molecule inhibitors targeting the kinase activity of ALK have proven to be effective therapies in certain ALK-driven malignancies and one such inhibitor, crizotinib, is now approved for the treatment of EML4-ALK-driven, non-small cell lung cancer. In neuroblastoma, activating point mutations in the ALK kinase domain can drive disease progression, with the two most common mutations being F1174L and R1275Q. We report here crystal structures of the ALK kinase domain containing the F1174L and R1275Q mutations. Also included are crystal structures of ALK in complex with novel small molecule ALK inhibitors, including a classic type II inhibitor, that stabilize previously unobserved conformations of the ALK activation loop. Collectively, these structures illustrate a different series of activation loop conformations than has been observed in previous ALK crystal structures and provide insight into the activating nature of the R1275Q mutation. The novel active site topologies presented here may also aid the structure-based drug design of a new generation of ALK inhibitors.
Project description:Mutations in the ALK tyrosine kinase receptor gene represent important therapeutic targets in neuroblastoma, yet their clinical translation has been challenging. The ALK(F1174L) mutation is sensitive to the ALK inhibitor crizotinib only at high doses and mediates acquired resistance to crizotinib in ALK-translocated cancers. We have shown that the combination of crizotinib and an inhibitor of downstream signaling induces a favorable response in transgenic mice bearing ALK(F1174L)/MYCN-positive neuroblastoma. Here, we investigated the molecular basis of this effect and assessed whether a similar strategy would be effective in ALK-mutated tumors lacking MYCN overexpression. We show that in ALK-mutated, MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells, crizotinib alone does not affect mTORC1 activity as indicated by persistent RPS6 phosphorylation. Combined treatment with crizotinib and an ATP-competitive mTOR inhibitor abrogated RPS6 phosphorylation, leading to reduced tumor growth and prolonged survival in ALK(F1174L)/MYCN-positive models compared to single agent treatment. By contrast, this combination, while inducing mTORC1 downregulation, caused reciprocal upregulation of PI3K activity in ALK-mutated cells expressing wild-type MYCN. Here, an inhibitor with potency against both mTOR and PI3K was more effective in promoting cytotoxicity when combined with crizotinib. Our findings should enable a more precise selection of molecularly targeted agents for patients with ALK-mutated tumors.
Project description:Since the original descriptions of gain-of function mutations in anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), interest in the role of this receptor tyrosine kinase in neuroblastoma development and as a potential therapeutic target has escalated. As a group, the activating point mutations in full-length ALK, found in approximately 8% of all neuroblastoma tumors, are distributed evenly across different clinical stages. However, the most frequent somatic mutation, F1174L, is associated with amplification of the MYCN oncogene. This combination of features appears to confer a worse prognosis than MYCN amplification alone, suggesting a cooperative effect on neuroblastoma formation by these two proteins. Indeed, F1174L has shown more potent transforming activity in vivo than the second most common activating mutation, R1275Q, and is responsible for innate and acquired resistance to crizotinib, a clinically relevant ALK inhibitor that will soon be commercially available. These advances cast ALK as a bona fide oncoprotein in neuroblastoma and emphasize the need to understand ALK-mediated signaling in this tumor. This review addresses many of the current issues surrounding the role of ALK in normal development and neuroblastoma pathogenesis, and discusses the prospects for clinically effective targeted treatments based on ALK inhibition.
Project description:Neuroblastoma, an embryonal tumour of the peripheral sympathetic nervous system, accounts for approximately 15% of all deaths due to childhood cancer. High-risk neuroblastomas are rapidly progressive; even with intensive myeloablative chemotherapy, relapse is common and almost uniformly fatal. Here we report the detection of previously unknown mutations in the ALK gene, which encodes a receptor tyrosine kinase, in 8% of primary neuroblastomas. Five non-synonymous sequence variations were identified in the kinase domain of ALK, of which three were somatic and two were germ line. The most frequent mutation, F1174L, was also identified in three different neuroblastoma cell lines. ALK complementary DNAs encoding the F1174L and R1275Q variants, but not the wild-type ALK cDNA, transformed interleukin-3-dependent murine haematopoietic Ba/F3 cells to cytokine-independent growth. Ba/F3 cells expressing these mutations were sensitive to the small-molecule inhibitor of ALK, TAE684 (ref. 4). Furthermore, two human neuroblastoma cell lines harbouring the F1174L mutation were also sensitive to the inhibitor. Cytotoxicity was associated with increased amounts of apoptosis as measured by TdT-mediated dUTP nick end labelling (TUNEL). Short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-mediated knockdown of ALK expression in neuroblastoma cell lines with the F1174L mutation also resulted in apoptosis and impaired cell proliferation. Thus, activating alleles of the ALK receptor tyrosine kinase are present in primary neuroblastoma tumours and in established neuroblastoma cell lines, and confer sensitivity to ALK inhibition with small molecules, providing a molecular rationale for targeted therapy of this disease.
Project description:The ALK kinase inhibitor crizotinib (PF-02341066) is clinically effective in patients with ALK-translocated cancers, but its efficacy will ultimately be limited by acquired drug resistance. Here we report the identification of a secondary mutation in ALK, F1174L, as one cause of crizotinib resistance in a patient with an inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor (IMT) harboring a RANBP2-ALK translocation who progressed while on crizotinib therapy. When present in cis with an ALK translocation, this mutation (also detected in neuroblastomas) causes an increase in ALK phosphorylation, cell growth, and downstream signaling. Furthermore, the F1174L mutation inhibits crizotinib-mediated downregulation of ALK signaling and blocks apoptosis in RANBP2-ALK Ba/F3 cells. A chemically distinct ALK inhibitor, TAE684, and the HSP90 inhibitor 17-AAG are both effective in models harboring the F1174L ALK mutation. Our findings highlight the importance of studying drug resistance mechanisms in order to develop effective clinical treatments for patients with ALK-translocated cancers.
Project description:The ALK(F1174L) mutation is associated with intrinsic and acquired resistance to crizotinib and cosegregates with MYCN in neuroblastoma. In this study, we generated a mouse model overexpressing ALK(F1174L) in the neural crest. Compared to ALK(F1174L) and MYCN alone, co-expression of these two oncogenes led to the development of neuroblastomas with earlier onset, higher penetrance, and enhanced lethality. ALK(F1174L)/MYCN tumors exhibited increased MYCN dosage due to ALK(F1174L)-induced activation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPK pathways, coupled with suppression of MYCN pro-apoptotic effects. Combined treatment with the ATP-competitive mTOR inhibitor Torin2 overcame the resistance of ALK(F1174L)/MYCN tumors to crizotinib. Our findings demonstrate a pathogenic role for ALK(F1174L) in neuroblastomas overexpressing MYCN and suggest a strategy for improving targeted therapy for ALK-positive neuroblastoma.
Project description:ALK receptor tyrosine kinase has been shown to be a therapeutic target in neuroblastoma. Germline ALK activating mutations are responsible for the majority of hereditary neuroblastoma and somatic ALK activating mutations are also frequently observed in sporadic cases of advanced NB. Crizotinib, a first-line therapy in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring ALK rearrangements, demonstrates striking efficacy against ALK-rearranged NB. However, crizotinib fails to effectively inhibit the activity of ALK when activating mutations are present within its kinase domain, as with the F1174L mutation. Here we show that a new ALK inhibitor AZD3463 effectively suppressed the proliferation of NB cell lines with wild type ALK (WT) as well as ALK activating mutations (F1174L and D1091N) by blocking the ALK-mediated PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway and ultimately induced apoptosis and autophagy. In addition, AZD3463 enhanced the cytotoxic effects of doxorubicin on NB cells. AZD3463 also exhibited significant therapeutic efficacy on the growth of the NB tumors with WT and F1174L activating mutation ALK in orthotopic xenograft mouse models. These results indicate that AZD3463 is a promising therapeutic agent in the treatment of NB.
Project description:Neuroblastoma is a childhood extracranial solid tumour that is associated with a number of genetic changes. Included in these genetic alterations are mutations in the kinase domain of the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK), which have been found in both somatic and familial neuroblastoma. In order to treat patients accordingly requires characterisation of these mutations in terms of their response to ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs). Here, we report the identification and characterisation of two novel neuroblastoma ALK mutations (A1099T and R1464STOP), which we have investigated together with several previously reported but uncharacterised ALK mutations (T1087I, D1091N, T1151M, M1166R, F1174I and A1234T). In order to understand the potential role of these ALK mutations in neuroblastoma progression, we have employed cell culture-based systems together with the model organism Drosophila as a readout for ligand-independent activity. Mutation of ALK at position 1174 (F1174I) generates a gain-of-function receptor capable of activating intracellular targets such as ERK (extracellular signal regulated kinase) and STAT3 (signal transducer and activator of transcription 3) in a ligand-independent manner. Analysis of these previously uncharacterised ALK mutants and comparison with ALK(F1174) mutants suggests that ALK mutations observed in neuroblastoma fall into three classes. These classes are: (i) gain-of-function ligand-independent mutations such as ALK(F1174l), (ii) kinase-dead ALK mutants, e.g. ALK(I1250T) (Schönherr et al., 2011a) and (iii) ALK mutations that are ligand-dependent in nature. Irrespective of the nature of the observed ALK mutants, in every case the activity of the mutant ALK receptors could be abrogated by the ALK inhibitor crizotinib (Xalkori/PF-02341066), albeit with differing levels of sensitivity.