FDG-PET is a good biomarker of both early response and acquired resistance in BRAFV600 mutant melanomas treated with vemurafenib and the MEK inhibitor GDC-0973.
ABSTRACT: The BRAF inhibitor, vemurafenib, has recently been approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma in patients harboring BRAFV600 mutations. Currently, dual BRAF and MEK inhibition are ongoing in clinical trials with the goal of overcoming the acquired resistance that has unfortunately developed in some vemurafenib patients. FDG-PET measures of metabolic activity are increasingly employed as a pharmacodynamic biomarker for guiding single-agent or combination therapies by gauging initial drug response and monitoring disease progression. However, since tumors are inherently heterogeneous, investigating the effects of BRAF and MEK inhibition on FDG uptake in a panel of different melanomas could help interpret imaging outcomes.18 F-FDG uptake was measured in vitro in cells with wild-type and mutant (V600) BRAF, and in melanoma cells with an acquired resistance to vemurafenib. We treated the cells with vemurafenib alone or in combination with MEK inhibitor GDC-0973. PET imaging was used in mice to measure FDG uptake in A375 melanoma xenografts and in A375 R1, a vemurafenib-resistant derivative. Histological and biochemical studies of glucose transporters, the MAPK and glycolytic pathways were also undertaken.We demonstrate that vemurafenib is equally effective at reducing FDG uptake in cell lines harboring either heterozygous or homozygous BRAFV600 but ineffective in cells with acquired resistance or having WT BRAF status. However, combination with GDC-0973 results in a highly significant increase of efficacy and inhibition of FDG uptake across all twenty lines. Drug-induced changes in FDG uptake were associated with altered levels of membrane GLUT-1, and cell lines harboring RAS mutations displayed enhanced FDG uptake upon exposure to vemurafenib. Interestingly, we found that vemurafenib treatment in mice bearing drug-resistant A375 xenografts also induced increased FDG tumor uptake, accompanied by increases in Hif-1α, Sp1 and Ksr protein levels. Vemurafenib and GDC-0973 combination efficacy was associated with decreased levels of hexokinase II, c-RAF, Ksr and p-MEK protein.We have demonstrated that 18 F-FDG-PET imaging reflects vemurafenib and GDC-0973 action across a wide range of metastatic melanomas. A delayed post-treatment increase in tumor FDG uptake should be considered carefully as it may well be an indication of acquired drug resistance.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01271803.
Project description:Vemurafenib, a RAF inhibitor, extends survival in patients with BRAF(V600)-mutant melanoma but activates extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling in RAS-mutant cells. In a patient with a BRAF(V600K)-mutant melanoma responding to vemurafenib, we observed accelerated progression of a previously unrecognized NRAS-mutant leukemia. We hypothesized that combining vemurafenib with a MAP-ERK kinase (MEK) inhibitor would inhibit ERK activation in the melanoma and prevent ERK activation by vemurafenib in the leukemia, and thus suppress both malignancies. We demonstrate that intermittent administration of vemurafenib led to a near-complete remission of the melanoma, and the addition of the MEK inhibitor cobimetinib (GDC-0973) caused suppression of vemurafenib-induced leukemic proliferation and ERK activation. Antimelanoma and antileukemia responses have been maintained for nearly 20 months, as documented by serial measurements of tumor-derived DNA in plasma in addition to conventional radiographic and clinical assessments of response. These data support testing of intermittent ERK pathway inhibition in the therapy for both RAS-mutant leukemia and BRAF-mutant melanoma.
Project description:In patients with BRAFV600 mutated unresectable stage IIIc or metastatic melanoma, molecular targeted therapy with combined BRAF/MEK-inhibitor vemurafenib plus cobimetinib has shown a significantly improved progression-free survival and overall survival compared to treatment with vemurafenib alone. Nevertheless, the majority of BRAFV600 mutation-positive melanoma patients will eventually develop resistance to treatment. Molecular imaging with 18F-Fluorodeoxyglucose (18F-FDG) PET has been used to monitor response to vemurafenib in some BRAFV600 mutated metastatic melanoma patients, showing a rapid decline of 18F-FDG uptake within 2 weeks following treatment. Furthermore, preliminary results suggest that metabolic alterations might predict the development of resistance to treatment. 18F-Fluoro-3'-deoxy-3'L-fluorothymidine (18F-FLT), a PET-tracer visualizing proliferation, might be more suitable to predict response or resistance to therapy than 18F-FDG.This phase II, open-label, multicenter study evaluates whether metabolic response to treatment with vemurafenib plus cobimetinib in the first 7 weeks as assessed by 18F-FDG/18F-FLT PET can predict progression-free survival and whether early changes in 18F-FDG/18F-FLT can be used for early detection of treatment response compared to standard response assessment with RECISTv1.1 ceCT at 7 weeks. Ninety patients with BRAFV600E/K mutated unresectable stage IIIc/IV melanoma will be included. Prior to and during treatment all patients will undergo 18F-FDG PET/CT and in 25 patients additional 18F-FLT PET/CT is performed. Histopathological tumor characterization is assessed in a subset of 40 patients to unravel mechanisms of resistance. Furthermore, in all patients, blood samples are taken for pharmacokinetic analysis of vemurafenib/cobimetinib. Outcomes are correlated with PET/CT-imaging and therapy response.The results of this study will help in linking PET measured metabolic alterations induced by targeted therapy of BRAFV600 mutated melanoma to molecular changes within the tumor. We will be able to correlate both 18F-FDG and 18F-FLT PET to outcome and decide on the best modality to predict long-term remissions to combined BRAF/MEK-inhibitors. Results coming from this study may help in identifying responders from non-responders early after the initiation of therapy and reveal early development of resistance to vemurafenib/cobimetinib. Furthermore, we believe that the results can be fundamental for further optimizing individual patient treatment.Clinicaltrials.gov identifier: NCT02414750. Registered 10 April 2015, retrospectively registered.
Project description:BRAF is a serine/threonine protein kinase activating the MAP kinase/ERK-signaling pathway. About 50 % of melanomas harbors activating BRAF mutations (over 90 % V600E). BRAFV600E has been implicated in different mechanisms underlying melanomagenesis, most of which due to the deregulated activation of the downstream MEK/ERK effectors. The first selective inhibitor of mutant BRAF, vemurafenib, after highly encouraging results of the phase I and II trial, was compared to dacarbazine in a phase III trial in treatment-naïve patients (BRIM-3). The study results showed a relative reduction of 63 % in risk of death and 74 % in risk of tumor progression. Considering all trials so far completed, median overall survival reached approximately 16 months for vemurafenib compared to less than 10 months for dacarbazine treatment. Vemurafenib has been extensively tested on melanoma patients expressing the BRAFV600E mutated form; it has been demonstrated to be also effective in inhibiting melanomas carrying the V600K mutation. In 2011, both FDA and EMA therefore approved vemurafenib for metastatic melanoma carrying BRAFV600 mutations. Some findings suggest that continuation of vemurafenib treatment is potentially beneficial after local therapy in a subset of patients with disease progression (PD). Among who continued vemurafenib >30 days after local therapy of PD lesion(s), a median overall survival was not reached, with a median follow-up of 15.5 months from initiation of BRAF inhibitor therapy. For patients who did not continue treatment, median overall survival from the time of disease progression was 1.4 months. A clinical phase I/II trial is evaluating the safety, tolerability and efficacy of vemurafenib in combination with the CTLA-4 inhibitor mAb ipilimumab. In the BRIM-7 trial vemurafenib is tested in association with GDC-0973, a potent and highly selective inhibitor of MEK1/2. Preliminary data seem to indicate that an additional inhibitor of mutated BRAF, GSK2118436, might be also active on a wider range of BRAF mutations (V600E-K-D-R); actually, treatment with such a compound is under evaluation in a phase III study among stage III-IV melanoma patients positive for BRAF mutations. Overall, BRAF inhibitors were well tolerated; common adverse events are arthralgia, rash, fatigue, alopecia, keratoacanthoma or cutaneous squamous-cell carcinoma, photosensitivity, nausea, and diarrhea, with some variants between different inhibitors.
Project description:Clinical PI3K inhibition has been somewhat disappointing, due to both inadequate patient stratification and compensatory cell signalling through bypass mechanisms. As such, investigation of PI3K-MEK co-targeted inhibition has been recommended. With high mortality rates and a clear need for new therapeutic intervention strategies, non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is an important setting to investigate the effectiveness of this approach.Here, 174 NSCLC tumours were screened for 150 mutations by Fluidigm technology, with 15 patients being profiled for phosphoprotein expression. The effects of GDC-0941 (a pan PI3K inhibitor), GDC-0980 (a dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor) and GDC-0973 (a MEK inhibitor) alone and in combination were assessed in 3 NSCLC cell lines.PIK3CA was mutated in 5.17% of NSCLC patients. GDC-0941 and GDC-0980 treatment induced anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic responses across all NSCLC cell lines, while GDC-0973 treatment induced only anti-proliferative responses. GDC-0980 and GDC-0973 combined treatment led to significant increases in apoptosis and synergistic reductions in proliferation across the panel of cell lines.This study found that the PI3K/MEK co-targeted inhibition strategy is synergistic in all 3 molecular subtypes of NSCLC investigated. Consequently, we would advocate clinical trials for NSCLC patients combining GDC-0980 and GDC-0973, each of which are separately under clinical investigation currently.
Project description:Four distinct MAP kinase signaling pathways involving 7 MEK enzymes have been identified. MEK1 and MEK2 are the prototype members of MEK family proteins. Several MEK inhibitors are in clinical trials. Trametinib is being evaluated by FDA for the treatment of metastatic melanoma with BRAF V600 mutation. Selumetinib has been studied in combination with docetaxel in phase II randomized trial in previously treated patients with advanced lung cancer. Selumetinib group had better response rate and progression-free survival. This review also summarized new MEK inhibitors in clinical development, including pimasertib, refametinib, PD-0325901, TAK733, MEK162 (ARRY 438162), RO5126766, WX-554, RO4987655 (CH4987655), GDC-0973 (XL518), and AZD8330.
Project description:Vemurafenib is a BRAF inhibitor with specificity for the most common BRAF mutant encountered in melanomas (BRAFV600E). Vemurafenib suppresses the proliferation of BRAF mutant human melanoma cells by suppressing downstream activation of the MEK/ERK mitogen activated protein kinases. We used microarrays to examine the transcriptional response of a vemurafenib-sensitive BRAFV600E human melanoma cell line (A375) to vemurafenib in order to further delineate the mechanisms by which BRAFV600E drives cell proliferation and energy metabolism in human melanoma. BRAFV600E A375 human melanoma cells were treated with vehicle (0.1% DMSO) or 10 uM vemurafenib for 24 h after which total RNA was extracted. Cells were prepared and RNA was extracted in 3 separate batches (three different cell stocks on three separate days) providing three independent replicates (n=3). Paired replicates (prepared from the same stock of cells on the same day) are denoted by A, B and C.
Project description:Most patients with late-stage high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC) initially respond to chemotherapy but inevitably relapse and develop resistance, highlighting the need for novel therapies to improve patient outcomes. The MEK/ERK pathway is activated in a large subset of HGSOC, making it an attractive therapeutic target. Here, we systematically evaluated the extent of MEK/ERK pathway activation and efficacy of pathway inhibition in a large panel of well-annotated HGSOC patient-derived xenograft models. The vast majority of models were nonresponsive to the MEK inhibitor cobimetinib (GDC-0973) despite effective pathway inhibition. Proteomic analyses of adaptive responses to GDC-0973 revealed that GDC-0973 upregulated the proapoptotic protein BIM, thus priming the cells for apoptosis regulated by BCL2-family proteins. Indeed, combination of both MEK inhibitor and dual BCL-2/XL inhibitor (ABT-263) significantly reduced cell number, increased cell death, and displayed synergy in vitro in most models. In vivo, GDC-0973 and ABT-263 combination was well tolerated and resulted in greater tumor growth inhibition than single agents. Detailed proteomic and correlation analyses identified two subsets of responsive models-those with high BIM at baseline that was increased with MEK inhibition and those with low basal BIM and high pERK levels. Models with low BIM and low pERK were nonresponsive. Our findings demonstrate that combined MEK and BCL-2/XL inhibition has therapeutic activity in HGSOC models and provide a mechanistic rationale for the clinical evaluation of this drug combination as well as the assessment of the extent to which BIM and/or pERK levels predict drug combination effectiveness in chemoresistant HGSOC.
Project description:Targeted therapeutics that block signal transduction through the RAS-RAF-MEK and PI3K-AKT-mTOR pathways offer significant promise for the treatment of human malignancies. Dual inhibition of MAP/ERK kinase (MEK) and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) with the potent and selective small-molecule inhibitors GDC-0973 and GDC-0941 has been shown to trigger tumor cell death in preclinical models. Here we have used phosphomotif antibodies and mass spectrometry (MS) to investigate the effects of MEK/PI3K dual inhibition during the period immediately preceding cell death. Upon treatment, melanoma cell lines responded by dramatically increasing phosphorylation on proteins containing a canonical DNA damage-response (DDR) motif, as defined by a phosphorylated serine or threonine residue adjacent to glutamine, [s/t]Q. In total, >2,000 [s/t]Q phosphorylation sites on >850 proteins were identified by LC-MS/MS, including an extensive network of DDR proteins. Linear mixed-effects modeling revealed 101 proteins in which [s/t]Q phosphorylation was altered significantly in response to GDC-0973/GDC-0941. Among the most dramatic changes, we observed rapid and sustained phosphorylation of sites within the ABCDE cluster of DNA-dependent protein kinase. Preincubation of cells with the inhibitors of the DDR kinases DNA-dependent protein kinase or ataxia-telangiectasia mutated enhanced GDC-0973/GDC-0941-mediated cell death. Network analysis revealed specific enrichment of proteins involved in RNA metabolism along with canonical DDR proteins and suggested a prominent role for this pathway in the response to MEK/PI3K dual inhibition.
Project description:BACKGROUND:BRAF inhibitors are effective against selected BRAFV600 -mutated tumors. Preclinical data suggest that BRAF inhibition in conjunction with chemotherapy has increased therapeutic activity. METHODS:Patients with advanced cancers and BRAF mutations were enrolled into a dose-escalation study (3+3 design) to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs). RESULTS:Nineteen patients with advanced cancers and BRAF mutations were enrolled and received vemurafenib (480-720 mg orally twice a day), carboplatin (area under the curve [AUC] 5-6 intravenously every 3 weeks), and paclitaxel (100-135 mg/m2 intravenously every 3 weeks). The MTD was not reached, and vemurafenib at 720 mg twice a day, carboplatin at AUC 5, and paclitaxel at 135 mg/m2 were the last safe dose levels. DLTs included a persistent grade 2 creatinine elevation (n = 1), grade 3 transaminitis (n = 1), and grade 4 thrombocytopenia (n = 1). Non-dose-limiting toxicities that were grade 3 or higher and occurred in more than 2 patients included grade 3/4 neutropenia (n = 5), grade 3/4 thrombocytopenia (n = 5), grade 3 fatigue (n = 4), and grade 3 anemia (n = 3). Of the 19 patients, 5 (26%; all with melanoma) had a partial response (PR; n = 4) or complete response (CR; n = 1); these responses were mostly durable and lasted 3.1 to 54.1 months. Of the 13 patients previously treated with BRAF and/or mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitors, 4 (31%) had a CR (n = 1) or PR (n = 3). Patients not treated with prior platinum therapy had a higher response rate than those who did (45% vs 0%; P = .045). CONCLUSIONS:The combination of vemurafenib, carboplatin, and paclitaxel is well tolerated and demonstrates encouraging activity, predominantly in patients with advanced melanoma and BRAFV600 mutations, regardless of prior treatment with BRAF and/or MEK inhibitors.