Enhanced FGFR signalling predisposes pancreatic cancer to the effect of a potent FGFR inhibitor in preclinical models.
ABSTRACT: Fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) signalling has been implicated in pancreas carcinogenesis. We investigated the effect of FGFR inhibition in pancreatic cancer in complementary cancer models derived from cell lines and patient-derived primary tumour explants.The effects of FGFR signalling inhibition in pancreatic cancer were evaluated using anti-FRS2 shRNA and dovitinib. Pancreatic cancers with varying sensitivity to dovitinib were evaluated to determine potential predictive biomarkers of efficacy. Primary pancreatic explants with opposite extreme of biomarker expression were selected from 13 tumours for in vivo dovitinib treatment.Treatment with anti-FRS2 shRNA induced significant in vitro cell kill in pancreatic cancer cells. Dovitinib treatment achieved similar effects and was mediated by Akt/Mcl-1 signalling in sensitive cells. Dovitinib efficacy correlated with FRS2 phosphorylation status, FGFR2 mRNA level and FGFR2 IIIb expression but not phosphorylation status of VEGFR2 and PDGFR?. Using FGFR2 mRNA level, a proof-of-concept study using primary pancreatic cancer explants correctly identified the tumours' sensitivity to dovitinib.Inhibiting FGFR signalling using shRNA and dovitinib achieved significant anti-cancer cancer effects in pancreatic cancer. The effect was more pronounced in FGFR2 IIIb overexpressing pancreatic cancer that may be dependent on aberrant stimulation by stromal-derived FGF ligands.
Project description:The alternative splicing of the extracellular domain of fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR)-2 generates the IIIb and IIIc isoforms. Expression of FGFR-2 IIIb correlates with vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) expression and venous invasion of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). By contrast, FGFR-2 IIIc expression correlates with faster development of liver metastasis after surgery, and increased proliferation rates and invasion of the cancer. In this study, we analyzed the expression and roles of total FGFR-2 (both isoforms) to determine the effectiveness of FGFR-2-targeting therapy for PDAC. Immunohistochemically, FGFR-2 was highly expressed in 25/48 (52.1%) PDAC cases, and correlated with advanced stage cancer. In FISH analysis, FGFR2 was amplified in 3/7 PDAC cell lines. We stably transfected an FGFR-2 shRNA targeting the IIIb and IIIc isoforms into FGFR2-amplified PDAC cells. The proliferation rates, migration, and invasion of FGFR-2-shRNA-transfected cells were lower than those of control cells in vitro. In response to FGF-2, FGFR-2-shRNA-transfected cells showed decreased phosphorylation of ERK compared with control cells. The FGFR-2-shRNA-transfected cells also expressed lower levels of vascular endothelial growth factor-A than control cells, and formed smaller s.c. tumors in nude mice. These findings suggest that FGFR-2 is a therapeutic target for inhibition in PDAC.
Project description:Cholangiocarcinoma is a highly lethal cancer with limited therapeutic options. Recent genomic analysis of cholangiocarcinoma has revealed the presence of fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) fusion proteins in up to 13% of intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (iCCA). FGFR fusions have been identified as a novel oncogenic and druggable target in a number of cancers. In this study, we established a novel cholangiocarcinoma patient derived xenograft (PDX) mouse model bearing an FGFR2-CCDC6 fusion protein from a metastatic lung nodule of an iCCA patient. Using this PDX model, we confirmed the ability of the FGFR inhibitors, ponatinib, dovitinib and BGJ398, to modulate FGFR signaling, inhibit cell proliferation and induce cell apoptosis in cholangiocarcinoma tumors harboring FGFR2 fusions. In addition, BGJ398 appeared to be superior in potency to ponatinib and dovitinib in this model. Our findings provide a strong rationale for the investigation of FGFR inhibitors, particularly BGJ398, as a therapeutic option for cholangiocarcinoma patients harboring FGFR2 fusions.
Project description:Dysregulation of Fibroblast Growth Factor Receptor (FGFR) signaling through amplifications, mutations, and gene fusions has been implicated in a broad array of cancers (e.g. liver, gastric, ovarian, endometrial, and bladder). ARQ 087 is a novel, ATP competitive, small molecule, multi-kinase inhibitor with potent in vitro and in vivo activity against FGFR addicted cell lines and tumors. Biochemically, ARQ 087 exhibited IC50 values of 1.8 nM for FGFR2, and 4.5 nM for FGFR1 and 3. In cells, inhibition of FGFR2 auto-phosphorylation and other proteins downstream in the FGFR pathway (FRS2?, AKT, ERK) was evident by the response to ARQ 087 treatment. Cell proliferation studies demonstrated ARQ 087 has anti-proliferative activity in cell lines driven by FGFR dysregulation, including amplifications, fusions, and mutations. Cell cycle studies in cell lines with high levels of FGFR2 protein showed a positive relationship between ARQ 087 induced G1 cell cycle arrest and subsequent induction of apoptosis. In addition, ARQ 087 was effective at inhibiting tumor growth in vivo in FGFR2 altered, SNU-16 and NCI-H716, xenograft tumor models with gene amplifications and fusions. ARQ 087 is currently being studied in a phase 1/2 clinical trial that includes a sub cohort for intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma patients with confirmed FGFR2 gene fusions (NCT01752920).
Project description:The fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) signaling pathway is aberrantly activated in approximately 15% to 20% of patients with intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Currently, several FGFR kinase inhibitors are being assessed in clinical trials for patients with FGFR-altered cholangiocarcinoma. Despite evidence of initial responses and disease control, virtually all patients eventually develop acquired resistance. Thus, there is a critical need for the development of innovative therapeutic strategies to overcome acquired drug resistance. Here, we present findings from a patient with FGFR2-altered metastatic cholangiocarcinoma who enrolled in a phase II clinical trial of the FGFR inhibitor, infigratinib (BGJ398). Treatment was initially effective as demonstrated by imaging and tumor marker response; however, after 8 months on trial, the patient exhibited tumor regrowth and disease progression. Targeted sequencing of tumor DNA after disease progression revealed the FGFR2 kinase domain p.E565A and p.L617M single-nucleotide variants (SNV) hypothesized to drive acquired resistance to infigratinib. The sensitivities of these FGFR2 SNVs, which were detected post-infigratinib therapy, were extended to include clinically relevant FGFR inhibitors, including AZD4547, erdafitinib (JNJ-42756493), dovitinib, ponatinib, and TAS120, and were evaluated in vitro Through a proteomics approach, we identified upregulation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway in cells harboring the FGFR2 p.E565A mutation and demonstrated that combination therapy strategies with FGFR and mTOR inhibitors may be used to overcome resistance to FGFR inhibition, specific to infigratinib. Collectively, these studies support the development of novel combination therapeutic strategies in addition to the next generation of FGFR inhibitors to overcome acquired resistance in patients.
Project description:Myxoid liposarcomas account for more than one third of liposarcomas and about 10% of all adult soft tissue sarcomas. The tumors are characterized by specific chromosomal translocations leading to the chimeric oncogenes FUS-DDIT3 or EWS1R-DDIT3. The encoded fusion proteins act as aberrant transcription factors. Therefore, we implemented comparative expression analyses using whole-genome microarrays in tumor and fat tissue samples. We aimed at identifying differentially expressed genes which may serve as diagnostic or prognostic biomarkers or as therapeutic targets. Microarray analyses revealed overexpression of FGFR2 and other members of the FGF/FGFR family. Overexpression of FGFR2 was validated by qPCR, immunohistochemistry and western blot analysis in primary tumor samples. Treatment of the myxoid liposarcoma cell lines MLS 402 and MLS 1765 with the FGFR inhibitors PD173074, TKI258 (dovitinib) and BGJ398 as well as specific siRNAs reduced cell proliferation, induced apoptosis and delayed cell migration. Combination of FGFR inhibitors with trabectedin further increased the effect. Our study demonstrates overexpression of FGFR2 and a functional role of FGFR signaling in myxoid liposarcoma. As FGFR inhibition showed effects on proliferation and cell migration and induced apoptosis in vitro, our data indicate the potential use of FGFR inhibitors as a targeted therapy for these tumors.
Project description:The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a crucial morphological event that occurs during epithelial tumor progression. ZEB1/2 are EMT transcription factors that are positively correlated with EMT phenotypes and breast cancer aggressiveness. ZEB1/2 regulate the alternative splicing and hence isoform switching of fibroblast growth factor receptors (FGFRs) by repressing the epithelial splicing regulatory proteins, ESRP1 and ESRP2. Here, we show that the mesenchymal-like phenotypes of oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) cells are dependent on autocrine FGF-FGFR signaling. Mesenchymal-like OSCC cells express low levels of ESRP1/2 and high levels of ZEB1/2, resulting in constitutive expression of the IIIc-isoform of FGFR, FGFR(IIIc). By contrast, epithelial-like OSCC cells showed opposite expression profiles for these proteins and constitutive expression of the IIIb-isoform of FGFR2, FGFR2(IIIb). Importantly, ERK1/2 was constitutively phosphorylated through FGFR1(IIIc), which was activated by factors secreted autonomously by mesenchymal-like OSCC cells and involved in sustained high-level expression of ZEB1. Antagonizing FGFR1 with either inhibitors or siRNAs considerably repressed ZEB1 expression and restored epithelial-like traits. Therefore, autocrine FGF-FGFR(IIIc) signaling appears to be responsible for sustaining ZEB1/2 at high levels and the EMT phenotype in OSCC cells.
Project description:INTRODUCTION: Targeting receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) with kinase inhibitors is a clinically validated anti-cancer approach. However, blocking one signaling pathway is often not sufficient to cause tumor regression and the effectiveness of individual inhibitors is often short-lived. As alterations in fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) activity have been implicated in breast cancer, we examined in breast cancer models with autocrine FGFR activity the impact of targeting FGFRs in vivo with a selective kinase inhibitor in combination with an inhibitor of PI3K/mTOR or with a pan-ErbB inhibitor. METHODS: Using 4T1 or 67NR models of basal-like breast cancer, tumor growth was measured in mice treated with an FGFR inhibitor (dovitinib/TKI258), a PI3K/mTOR inhibitor (NVP-BEZ235) or a pan-ErbB inhibitor (AEE788) individually or in combination. To uncover mechanisms underlying inhibitor action, signaling pathway activity was examined in tumor lysates and transcriptome analysis carried out to identify pathways upregulated by FGFR inhibition. Anti-phosphotyrosine receptor antibody arrays (P-Tyr RTK) were also used to screen 4T1 tumors. RESULTS: The combination of dovitinib + NVP-BEZ235 causes tumor stasis and strong down-regulation of the FRS2/Erk and PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathways. P-Tyr RTK arrays identified high levels of P-EGFR and P-ErbB2 in 4T1 tumors. Testing AEE788 in the tumor models revealed that the combination of dovitinib + AEE788 resulted in blockade of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, prolonged tumor stasis and in the 4T1 model, a significant decrease in lung metastasis. The results show that in vivo these breast cancer models become dependent upon co-activation of FGFR and ErbB receptors for PI3K pathway activity. CONCLUSIONS: The work presented here shows that in the breast cancer models examined, the combination of dovitinib + NVP-BEZ235 or dovitinib + AEE788 results in strong inhibition of tumor growth and a block in metastatic spread. Only these combinations strongly down-regulate the FGFR/FRS2/Erk and PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathways. The resultant decrease in mitosis and increase in apoptosis was consistently stronger in the dovitinib + AEE788 treatment-group, suggesting that targeting ErbB receptors has broader downstream effects compared to targeting only PI3K/mTOR. Considering that sub-classes of human breast tumors co-express ErbB receptors and FGFRs, these results have implications for targeted therapy.
Project description:We sought to identify fibroblast growth factor receptor 2 (FGFR2) kinase domain mutations that confer resistance to the pan-FGFR inhibitor, dovitinib, and explore the mechanism of action of the drug-resistant mutations. We cultured BaF3 cells overexpressing FGFR2 in high concentrations of dovitinib and identified 14 dovitinib-resistant mutations, including the N550K mutation observed in 25% of FGFR2(mutant) endometrial cancers (ECs). Structural and biochemical in vitro kinase analyses, together with BaF3 proliferation assays, showed that the resistance mutations elevate the intrinsic kinase activity of FGFR2. BaF3 lines were used to assess the ability of each mutation to confer cross-resistance to PD173074 and ponatinib. Unlike PD173074, ponatinib effectively inhibited all the dovitinib-resistant FGFR2 mutants except the V565I gatekeeper mutation, suggesting ponatinib but not dovitinib targets the active conformation of FGFR2 kinase. EC cell lines expressing wild-type FGFR2 were relatively resistant to all inhibitors, whereas EC cell lines expressing mutated FGFR2 showed differential sensitivity. Within the FGFR2(mutant) cell lines, three of seven showed marked resistance to PD173074 and relative resistance to dovitinib and ponatinib. This suggests that alternative mechanisms distinct from kinase domain mutations are responsible for intrinsic resistance in these three EC lines. Finally, overexpression of FGFR2(N550K) in JHUEM-2 cells (FGFR2(C383R)) conferred resistance (about five-fold) to PD173074, providing independent data that FGFR2(N550K) can be associated with drug resistance. Biochemical in vitro kinase analyses also show that ponatinib is more effective than dovitinib at inhibiting FGFR2(N550K). We propose that tumors harboring mutationally activated FGFRs should be treated with FGFR inhibitors that specifically bind the active kinase.
Project description:Previous studies using transgenic Pax3cre mice have revealed roles for fibroblast growth factor receptors (Fgfrs) and Fgfr substrate 2? (Frs2?) signaling in early metanephric mesenchyme patterning and in ureteric morphogenesis. The role of Fgfr/Frs2? signaling in nephron progenitors is unknown. Thus, we generated mouse models using BAC transgenic Six2EGFPcre (Six2cre) mediated deletion of Fgfrs and/or Frs2? in nephron progenitors. Six2cre mediated deletion of Fgfr1 or Fgfr2 alone led to no obvious kidney defects. Six2creFgfr1(flox/flox)Fgfr2(flox/flox) (Fgfr1/2(NP-/-)) mice generate a discernable kidney; however, they develop nephron progenitor depletion starting at embryonic day 12.5 (E12.5) and later demonstrate severe cystic dysplasia. To determine the role of Frs2? signaling downstream of Fgfr2 in Fgfr1/2(NP-/-) mice, we generated Six2cre(,)Fgfr1(flox/flox)Fgfr2(LR/LR) (Fgfr1(NP-/-)Fgfr2(LR/LR)) mice that have point mutations in the Frs2? binding site of Fgfr2. Like Fgfr1/2(NP-/-) mice, Fgfr1(NP-/-)Fgfr2(LR/LR) develop nephron progenitor depletion, but it does not start until E14.5 and older mice have less severe cystic dysplasia than Fgfr1/2(NP-/-) To determine the role of Frs2? alone in nephron progenitors, we generated Six2creFrs2'A(flox/flox) (Frs2a(NP-/-)) mice. Frs2a(NP-/-)mice also develop nephron progenitor depletion and renal cysts, although these occurred later and were less severe than in the other Six2cre mutant mice. The nephron progenitor loss in all Six2cre mutant lines was associated with decreased Cited1 expression and increased apoptosis versus controls. FAC-sorted nephron progenitors in Six2cre Frs2'A(flox/flox) mice demonstrated evidence of increased Notch activity versus controls, which likely drives the progenitor defects. Thus, Fgfr1 and Fgfr2 have synergistic roles in maintaining nephron progenitors; furthermore, Fgfr signaling in nephron progenitors appears to be mediated predominantly by Frs2?.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) signaling pathway is activated in multiple tumor types through gene amplifications, single base substitutions, or gene fusions. Multiple small molecule kinase inhibitors targeting FGFR are currently being evaluated in clinical trials for patients with FGFR chromosomal translocations. Patients with novel gene fusions involving FGFR may represent candidates for kinase inhibitors. METHODS:A targeted RNA-sequencing assay identified a KLK2-FGFR2 fusion gene in two patients with metastatic prostate cancer. NIH3T3 cells were transduced to express the KLK2-FGFR2 fusion. Migration assays, Western blots, and drug sensitivity assays were performed to functionally characterize the fusion. RESULTS:Expression of the KLK2-FGFR2 fusion protein in NIH3T3 cells induced a profound morphological change promoting enhanced migration and activation of downstream proteins in FGFR signaling pathways. The KLK2-FGFR2 fusion protein was determined to be highly sensitive to the selective FGFR inhibitors AZD-4547, BGJ398, JNJ-42756943, the irreversible inhibitor TAS-120, and the non-selective inhibitor Ponatinib. The KLK2-FGFR2 fusion did not exhibit sensitivity to the non-selective inhibitor Dovitinib. CONCLUSIONS:Importantly, the KLK2-FGFR2 fusion represents a novel target for precision therapies and should be screened for in men with prostate cancer.