Response to MLN8237 in pancreatic cancer is not dependent on RalA phosphorylation.
ABSTRACT: The high prevalence of KRAS mutations and importance of the RalGEF-Ral pathway downstream of activated K-ras in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) emphasize the importance of identifying novel methods by which to therapeutically target these pathways. It was recently demonstrated that phosphorylation of RalA S194 by Aurora A kinase (AAK) is critical for PDAC tumorigenesis. We sought to evaluate the AAK-selective inhibitor MLN8237 as a potential indirect anti-RalA-targeted therapy for PDAC. We used a site-specific phospho-S194 RalA antibody and determined that RalA S194 phosphorylation levels were elevated in a subset of PDAC cell lines and human tumors relative to unmatched normal controls. Effects of MLN8237 on anchorage-independent growth in PDAC cell lines and growth of patient-derived xenografts (PDX) were variable, with a subset of cell lines and PDX showing sensitivity. Surprisingly, RalA S194 phosphorylation levels in PDAC cell lines or PDX tumors did not correlate with MLN8237 responsiveness. However, we identified Ki67 as a possible early predictive biomarker for response to MLN8237 in PDAC. These results indicate that MLN8237 treatment may be effective for a subset of patients with PDAC independent of RalA S194 phosphorylation. Ki67 may be an effective pharmacodynamic biomarker to identify response early in the course of treatment.
Project description:The small GTPase Ras, which transmits extracellular signals to the cell, and the kinase Aurora-A, which promotes proper mitosis, can both be inappropriately activated in human tumors. Here, we show that Aurora-A in conjunction with oncogenic Ras enhances transformed cell growth. Furthermore, such transformation and in some cases also tumorigenesis depend upon S194 of RalA, a known Aurora-A phosphorylation site. Aurora-A promotes not only RalA activation but also translocation from the plasma membrane and activation of the effector protein RalBP1. Taken together, these data suggest that Aurora-A may converge upon oncogenic Ras signaling through RalA.
Project description:Amplification or over-expression of the mitotic Aurora A kinase (AAK) has been reported in several heme-lymphatic malignancies. MLN8237 (alisertib) is a novel inhibitor of AAK that is being developed for the treatment of advanced malignancies. The objectives of this phase I study were to establish the safety, tolerability, and pharmacokinetic profiles of escalating doses of MLN8237 in patients with relapsed or refractory heme-lymphatic malignancies.Sequential cohorts of patients received MLN8237 orally as either a powder-in-capsule (PIC) or enteric-coated tablet (ECT) formulation. Patients received MLN8237 PIC 25-90 mg for 14 or 21 consecutive days plus 14 or 7 days' rest, respectively, or MLN8237 ECT, at a starting dose of 40 mg/day once-daily (QD) for 14 days plus 14 days' rest, all in 28-day cycles. Subsequent cohorts received MLN8237 ECT 30-50 mg twice-daily (BID) for 7 days plus 14 days' rest in 21-day cycles.Fifty-eight patients were enrolled (PIC n?=?28, ECT n?=?30). The most frequent grade ?3 drug-related toxicities were neutropenia (45 %), thrombocytopenia (28 %), anemia (19 %), and leukopenia (19 %). The maximum tolerated dose on the ECT 7-day schedule was 50 mg BID. The terminal half-life of MLN8237 was approximately 19 h. Six (13 %) patients achieved partial responses and 13 (28 %) stable disease.The recommended phase II dose of MLN8237 ECT is 50 mg BID for 7 days in 21-day cycles, which is currently being evaluated as a single agent in phase II/III trials in patients with peripheral T-cell lymphoma.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Engraftment of primary pancreas ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC) in mice to generate patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models is a promising platform for biological and therapeutic studies in this disease. However, these models are still incompletely characterized. Here, we measured the impact of the murine tumor environment on the gene expression of the engrafted human tumoral cells. METHODS: We have analyzed gene expression profiles from 35 new PDX models and compared them with previously published microarray data of 18 PDX models, 53 primary tumors and 41 cell lines from PDAC. The results obtained in the PDAC system were further compared with public available microarray data from 42 PDX models, 108 primary tumors and 32 cell lines from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We developed a robust analysis protocol to explore the gene expression space. In addition, we completed the analysis with a functional characterization of PDX models, including if changes were caused by murine environment or by serial passing. RESULTS: Our results showed that PDX models derived from PDAC, or HCC, were clearly different to the cell lines derived from the same cancer tissues. Indeed, PDAC- and HCC-derived cell lines are indistinguishable from each other based on their gene expression profiles. In contrast, the transcriptomes of PDAC and HCC PDX models can be separated into two different groups that share some partial similarity with their corresponding original primary tumors. Our results point to the lack of human stromal involvement in PDXs as a major factor contributing to their differences from the original primary tumors. The main functional differences between pancreatic PDX models and human PDAC are the lower expression of genes involved in pathways related to extracellular matrix and hemostasis and the up- regulation of cell cycle genes. Importantly, most of these differences are detected in the first passages after the tumor engraftment. CONCLUSIONS: Our results suggest that PDX models of PDAC and HCC retain, to some extent, a gene expression memory of the original primary tumors, while this pattern is not detected in conventional cancer cell lines. Expression changes in PDXs are mainly related to pathways reflecting the lack of human infiltrating cells and the adaptation to a new environment. We also provide evidence of the stability of gene expression patterns over subsequent passages, indicating early phases of the adaptation process.
Project description:N-of-1 trials target actionable mutations, yet such approaches do not test genomically-informed therapies in patient tumor models prior to patient treatment. To address this, we developed patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models from fine needle aspiration (FNA) biopsies (FNA-PDX) obtained from primary pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) at the time of diagnosis. Here, we characterize PDX models established from one primary and two metastatic sites of one patient. We identified an activating KRAS G12R mutation among other mutations in these models. In explant cells derived from these PDX tumor models with a KRAS G12R mutation, treatment with inhibitors of CDKs (including CDK9) reduced phosphorylation of a marker of CDK9 activity (phospho-RNAPII CTD Ser2/5) and reduced viability/growth of explant cells derived from PDAC PDX models. Similarly, a CDK inhibitor reduced phospho-RNAPII CTD Ser2/5, increased apoptosis, and inhibited tumor growth in FNA-PDX and patient-matched metastatic-PDX models. In summary, PDX models can be constructed from FNA biopsies of PDAC which in turn can enable genomic characterization and identification of potential therapies.
Project description:Alisertib (MLN8237) is an investigational, oral, selective, Aurora A kinase (AAK) inhibitor. In this phase 2 trial, 57 patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) or high-grade myelodysplastic syndrome received alisertib 50 mg BID for 7 days in 21-day cycles. Responses in 6/35 AML patients (17% response rate with an additional 49% stable disease, 34% transfusion independence) included 1 complete response lasting >1 year. No responses were observed in MDS patients. Adverse events >30% included diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, febrile neutropenia, and stomatitis. Results suggest modest activity in AML, supporting further research to better understand how AAK inhibition may induce leukemic cell senescence.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an extremely aggressive malignancy with very limited treatment options. Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) are promising cytotoxic agents capable of highly selective delivery. Aspartate-?-hydroxylase (ASPH) is a type II transmembrane protein highly expressed in PDACs (97.1%) but not normal pancreas. We investigated anti-tumor effects of an ADC guided by a human monoclonal antibody (SNS-622) against ASPH in human PDAC cell lines and derived subcutaneous (s.c.) xenograft as well as a patient-derived xenograft (PDX) murine model with spontaneous pulmonary metastasis. The cytotoxic effects exhibited by several candidate payloads linked to SNS-622 antibody targeting ASPH+ PDACs were analyzed. After i.v. administration of SNS-622-emtansine (DM1) ADC, the primary PDAC tumor growth and progression (number and size of pulmonary metastases) were determined. The PDAC cell lines, s.c. and PDX tumors treated with ADC were tested for cell proliferation, cytotoxicity and apoptosis by MTS and immunohistochemistry (IHC) assays. SNS-622-DM1 construct has demonstrated optimal anti-tumor effects in vitro. In the PDX model of human PDAC, SNS-622-DM1 ADC exerted substantially inhibitory effects on tumor growth and pulmonary metastasis through attenuating proliferation and promoting apoptosis.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) remains an unmet clinical problem in urgent need of newer molecularly driven treatment modalities. Calcium signals, particularly those associated with calcium release-activated calcium (CRAC) channels, are known to influence the development, growth, and metastasis of many cancers. This is the first study investigating the impact of CRAC channel inhibition on PDAC cell lines and patient-derived tumor models. PDAC cell lines were exposed to a novel CRAC channel inhibitor, RP4010, in the presence or absence of standard of care drugs such as gemcitabine and nab-paclitaxel. The in vivo efficacy of RP4010 was evaluated in a hyaluronan-positive PDAC patient-derived xenograft (PDx) in the presence or absence of chemotherapeutic agents. Treatment of PDAC cell lines with single-agent RP4010 decreased cell growth, while the combination with gemcitabine/nab-paclitaxel exhibited synergy at certain dose combinations. Molecular analysis showed that RP4010 modulated the levels of markers associated with CRAC channel signaling pathways. Further, the combination treatment was observed to accentuate the effect of RP4010 on molecular markers of CRAC signaling. Anti-tumor activity of RP4010 was enhanced in the presence of gemcitabine/nab-paclitaxel in a PDAC PDx model. Our study indicates that targeting CRAC channel could be a viable therapeutic option in PDAC that warrants further clinical evaluation.
Project description:Our recent studies established essential and distinct roles for RalA and RalB small GTPase activation in K-Ras mutant pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cell line tumorigencity, invasion, and metastasis. However, the mechanism of Ral GTPase activation in PDAC has not been determined. There are four highly related mammalian RalGEFs (RalGDS, Rgl1, Rgl2, and Rgl3) that can serve as Ras effectors. Whether or not they share distinct or overlapping functions in K-Ras-mediated growth transformation has not been explored. We found that plasma membrane targeting to mimic persistent Ras activation enhanced the growth-transforming activities of RalGEFs. Unexpectedly, transforming activity did not correlate directly with total cell steady-state levels of Ral activation. Next, we observed elevated Rgl2 expression in PDAC tumor tissue and cell lines. Expression of dominant negative Ral, which blocks RalGEF function, as well as interfering RNA suppression of Rgl2, reduced PDAC cell line steady-state Ral activity, growth in soft agar, and Matrigel invasion. Surprisingly, the effect of Rgl2 on anchorage-independent growth could not be rescued by constitutively activated RalA, suggesting a novel Ral-independent function for Rgl2 in transformation. Finally, we determined that Rgl2 and RalB both localized to the leading edge, and this localization of RalB was dependent on endogenous Rgl2 expression. In summary, our observations support nonredundant roles for RalGEFs in Ras-mediated oncogenesis and a key role for Rgl2 in Ral activation and Ral-independent PDAC growth.
Project description:Analysis of primary PDAC cells established from Pdx-1CreAPCL/+p53L/L and Pdx-1Crep53L/L mice. APC haploinsufficiency combined with P53 loss in the pancreas drives MCN progression in mice. Results provide insight into molecular mechanisms invloved in the MCN formation of Pdx-1Cre APCL/+P53L/L mice. Pdx-1CreAPC+/LP53L/L PDAC cell lines and 2 Pdx-1CreP53L/L ductal cell lines were analyzed.
Project description:The Jak/STAT pathway is activated in human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) and cooperates with mutant Kras to drive initiation and progression of PDAC in murine models. We hypothesized that the small-molecule Jak2 inhibitor (BMS-911543) would elicit anti-tumor activity against PDAC and decrease immune suppressive features of the disease. We used an aggressive genetically engineered PDAC model with mutant KrasG12D, tp53R270H, and Brca1 alleles (KPC-Brca1 mice). Mice with confirmed tumor burden were treated orally with vehicle or 30 mg/kg BMS-911543 daily for 14 days. Histologic analysis of pancreata from treated mice revealed fewer foci of adenocarcinoma and significantly decreased Ki67+ cells versus controls. In vivo administration of BMS-911543 significantly reduced pSTAT5 and FoxP3 positive cells within the pancreas, but did not alter STAT3 phosphorylation. Continuous dosing of KPC-Brca1 mice with BMS-911543 resulted in a median survival of 108 days, as compared to a median survival of 87 days in vehicle treated animals, a 23% increase (p = 0.055). In vitro experiments demonstrated that PDAC cell lines were poorly sensitive to BMS-911543, requiring high micromolar concentrations to achieve targeted inhibition of Jak/STAT signaling. Similarly, BMS-911543 had little in vitro effect on the viability of both murine and human PDAC-derived stellate cell lines. However, BMS-911543 potently inhibited phosphorylation of pSTAT3 and pSTAT5 at low micromolar doses in human PBMC and reduced in vitro differentiation of Foxp3+ T regulatory cells. These results indicate that single agent Jak2i deserves further study in preclinical models of PDAC and has distinct inhibitory effects on STAT5 mediated signaling.