Synergistic combination of novel tubulin inhibitor ABI-274 and vemurafenib overcome vemurafenib acquired resistance in BRAFV600E melanoma.
ABSTRACT: Acquired clinical resistance to vemurafenib, a selective BRAF(V600E) inhibitor, arises frequently after short-term chemotherapy. Because inhibitions of targets in the RAF-MEK-ERK pathway result in G(0)-G(1) cell-cycle arrest, vemurafenib-resistant cancer cells are expected to escape this cell-cycle arrest and progress to the subsequent G(2)-M phase. We hypothesized that a combined therapy using vemurafenib with a G(2)-M phase blocking agent will trap resistant cells and overcome vemurafenib resistance. To test this hypothesis, we first determined the combination index (CI) values of our novel tubulin inhibitor ABI-274 and vemurafenib on parental human A375 and MDA-MB-435 melanoma cell lines to be 0.32 and 0.1, respectively, suggesting strong synergy for the combination. We then developed an A375RF21 subline with significant acquired resistance to vemurafenib and confirmed the strong synergistic effect. Next, we studied the potential mechanisms of overcoming vemurafenib resistance. Flow cytometry confirmed that the combination of ABI-274 and vemurafenib synergistically arrested cells in the G(1)-G(2)-M phase, and significantly increased apoptosis in both parental A375 and the vemurafenib-resistant A375RF21 cells. Western blot analysis revealed that the combination treatment effectively reduced the level of phosphorylated and total AKT, activated the apoptosis cascade, and increased cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP, but had no significant influence on the level of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation. Finally, in vivo coadministration of vemurafenib with ABI-274 showed strong synergistic efficacy in the vemurafenib-resistant xenograft model in nude mice. Overall, these results offer a rational combination strategy to significantly enhance the therapeutic benefit in patients with melanoma who inevitably become resistant to current vemurafenib therapy.
Project description: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:Resistance to BRAF inhibition is a major cause of treatment failure for BRAF-mutated metastatic melanoma patients. Abemaciclib, a cyclin-dependent kinase 4 and 6 inhibitor, overcomes this resistance in xenograft tumours and offers a promising drug combination. The present work aims to characterise the quantitative pharmacology of the abemaciclib/vemurafenib combination using a semimechanistic pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic modelling approach and to identify an optimum dosing regimen for potential clinical evaluation.A PK/biomarker model was developed to connect abemaciclib/vemurafenib concentrations to changes in MAPK and cell cycle pathway biomarkers in A375 BRAF-mutated melanoma xenografts. Resultant tumour growth inhibition was described by relating (i) MAPK pathway inhibition to apoptosis, (ii) mitotic cell density to tumour growth and, under resistant conditions, (iii) retinoblastoma protein inhibition to cell survival.The model successfully described vemurafenib/abemaciclib-mediated changes in MAPK pathway and cell cycle biomarkers. Initial tumour shrinkage by vemurafenib, acquisition of resistance and subsequent abemaciclib-mediated efficacy were successfully captured and externally validated. Model simulations illustrate the benefit of intermittent vemurafenib therapy over continuous treatment, and indicate that continuous abemaciclib in combination with intermittent vemurafenib offers the potential for considerable tumour regression.The quantitative pharmacology of the abemaciclib/vemurafenib combination was successfully characterised and an optimised, clinically-relevant dosing strategy was identified.
Project description:Melanoma is a type of malignant tumor derived from melanocytes, most of which occur in the skin, and a few occur in the mucosa and choroid. BRAF mutations occur in approximately 50% of melanoma patients. Vemurafenib is a specific and potent BRAF inhibitor that significantly prolongs progression-free survival in patients with BRAF mutant melanoma. But most patients have tumor recurrence after 7-9 months. Drug resistance severely limits the long-term clinical effects of targeted drugs. To explore the mechanism of melanoma resistance to Vemurafenib, the transcripts of Vemurafenib-resistant melanoma A375R cells and the parental A375 cells were sequenced. For more insight please see Transcripts 202 and 205 of IL-6 confer resistance to Vemurafenib by reactivating the MAPK pathway in BRAF(V600E) mutant melanoma cells . RNA-seq data has been uploaded to Sequence Read Archive (SRA), which allows researchers to obtain RNA sequence data for these cells.
Project description:BRAF is the most frequently mutated gene in melanoma. Constitutive activation of mutant BRAFV600E leads to aberrant Ras-independent MAPK signaling and cell transformation. Inhibition of mutant BRAF is a current frontline therapy for such cases, with improved survival compared with chemotherapy. Unfortunately, reactivation of MAPK signaling by several mechanisms has been shown to cause drug resistance and disease recurrence. In this work, we describe the co-occurrence of an in-frame deletion within an amplified BRAFV600E locus and a missense point mutation of the transcriptional repressor BCORL1 in vemurafenib-resistant A375 melanoma cells. Functional data confirmed that truncated p47BRAFV600E and mutant BCORL1Q1076H both contribute to resistance. Interestingly, either endogenous BCORL1 silencing or ectopic BCORL1Q1076H expression mimicked the effects of a CRISPR/Cas9-edited BCORL1Q1076H locus, suggesting a complex mixture of loss- and gain-of-function effects caused by the mutation. Transcriptomic data confirmed this hypothesis. Finally, we show that the pan-RAF inhibitor sorafenib is not affected by expression of BRAF deletion variant and effectively synergizes with vemurafenib to block resistant cells, suggesting a possible intervention for this class of mutants.
Project description:Melanoma harboring BRAF mutations frequently develop resistance to BRAF inhibitors, limiting the impact of treatment. Here, we establish a mechanism of resistance and subsequently identified a suitable drug combination to overcome the resistance. Single treatment of BRAF mutant melanoma cell lines with vemurafenib or dabrafenib (BRAF inhibitors) alone or in combination with trametinib (MEK1/2 inhibitor) resulted in overexpression of Mcl-1. Overexpression of Mcl-1 in A375 and SK-MEL-28 by transfection completely blocked BRAF and MEK1/2 inhibitor-mediated inhibition of cell survival and apoptosis. Melanoma cells resistant to BRAF inhibitors showed massive expression of Mcl-1 as compared to respective sensitive cell lines. Silencing of Mcl-1 using siRNA completely sensitized resistant melanoma cells to growth suppression and induction of apoptosis by BRAF inhibitors. In vivo, vemurafenib resistant A375 xenografts implanted in athymic nude mice showed substantial tumor growth inhibition when treated with a combination of vemurafenib and Mcl-1 inhibitor or siRNA. Immunohistochemistry and western blot analyses demonstrated enhanced expression of Mcl-1 and activation of ERK1/2 in vemurafenib-resistant tumors whereas level of Mcl-1 or p-ERK1/2 was diminished in the tumors of mice treated with either of the combination. Biopsied tumors from the patients treated with or resistant to BRAF inhibitors revealed overexpression of Mcl-1. These results suggest that the combination of BRAF inhibitors with Mcl-1 inhibitor may have therapeutic advantage to melanoma patients with acquired resistance to BRAF inhibitors alone or in combination with MEK1/2 inhibitors.
Project description:The majority of human melanomas bears BRAF mutations and thus is treated with inhibitors of BRAF, such as vemurafenib. While patients with BRAF mutations often demonstrate an initial dramatic response to vemurafenib, relapse is extremely common. Thus, novel agents are needed for the treatment of these aggressive melanomas. Honokiol is a small molecule compound derived from Magnolia grandiflora that has activity against solid tumors and hematopoietic neoplasms. In order to increase the lipophilicity of honokiol, we have synthesized honokiol DCA, the dichloroacetate ester of honokiol. In addition, we synthesized a novel fluorinated honokiol analog, bis-trifluoromethyl-bis-(4-hydroxy-3-allylphenyl) methane (hexafluoro). Both compounds exhibited activity against A375 melanoma in vivo, but honokiol DCA was more active. Gene arrays comparing treated with vehicle control tumors demonstrated induction of the respiratory enzyme succinate dehydrogenase B (SDHB) by treatment, suggesting that our honokiol analogs induce respiration in vivo. We then examined its effect against a pair of melanomas, LM36 and LM36R, in which LM36R differs from LM36 in that LM36R has acquired vemurafenib resistance. Honokiol DCA demonstrated in vivo activity against LM36R (vemurafenib resistant) but not against parental LM36. Honokiol DCA and hexafluoro inhibited the phosphorylation of DRP1, thus stimulating a phenotype suggestive of respiration through mitochondrial normalization. Honokiol DCA may act in vemurafenib resistant melanomas to increase both respiration and reactive oxygen generation, leading to activity against aggressive melanoma in vivo.
Project description:MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are attractive therapeutic targets for various therapy-resistant tumors. However, the association between miRNA and BRAF inhibitor resistance in melanoma remains to be elucidated. We used microarray analysis to comprehensively study the miRNA expression profiling of vemurafenib resistant (VemR) A375 melanoma cells in relation to parental A375 melanoma cells. MicroRNA-7 (miR-7) was identified to be the most significantly down-regulated miRNA in VemR A375 melanoma cells. We also found that miR-7 was down-regulated in Mel-CVR cells (vemurafenib resistant Mel-CV melanoma cells). Reestablishment of miR-7 expression could reverse the resistance of both cells to vemurafenib. We showed that epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), insulin-like growth factor-1 receptor (IGF-1R) and CRAF were over-expressed in VemR A375 melanoma cells. Introduction of miR-7 mimics could markedly decrease the expressions of EGFR, IGF-1R and CRAF and further suppressed the activation of MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathway in VemR A375 melanoma cells. Furthermore, tumor growth was inhibited in an in vivo murine VemR A375 melanoma tumor model transfected with miR-7 mimics. Collectively, our study demonstrated that miR-7 could reverse the resistance to BRAF inhibitors in certain vemurafenib resistant melanoma cell lines. It could advance the field and provide the basis for further studies in BRAF inhibitor resistance in melanoma.
Project description:Purpose: Seek for differential gene expression in vemurafenib-resistant A375 tumors vs. untreated controls to provide a rationale for resistance mechanism Methods: mRNA profiles of vemurafenib-resistant A375 tumors and untreated control tumors were generated by transcriptome sequencing of A375 melanoma bearing mice. Since our xenograft samples contain a mixture of human and mouse RNAs we mapped RNASeq reads against a hybrid human/mouse genome. We than removed reads of potential mouse origin by taking only reads that map uniquely to human chromosomes. On average 23% of reads were removed as potential mouse reads. We than took the remaining reads (on average 77% per sample) to determine the gene expression levels for each sample. Normalized expression levels of 5 resistant samples were compared to 4 untreated control samples to detect differnetially regulated genes which may contribute to vemurfenib resistance Results: Expression levels of several genes were consistently altered in all resistant samples. Expression of e.g. genes encoding SPRY2, SPRY4, DUSP6, CCND1, PIK3R3, FGFR1, EPHA4, MCL1, and IGF1R was down-regulated, whereas expression of PDGFC, VEGFC, ABCB9 and KITLG was increased. Conclusions: Our study reports several differentially expressed genes which may contribute to vemurafenib resistance in A375 tumor bearing mice RNA sequencing of genes expressed in A375 tumors bearing mice treated with vemurafenib until in vivo resistance appeared vs. untreated A375 tumors
Project description:To evaluate abilities of 2-aryl-4-benzoyl-imidazoles (ABI) to overcome multidrug resistance (MDR), define their cellular target, and assess in vivo antimelanoma efficacy.MDR cell lines that overexpressed P-glycoprotein, MDR-associated proteins, and breast cancer resistance protein were used to evaluate ABI ability to overcome MDR. Cell cycle analysis, molecular modeling, and microtubule imaging were used to define ABI cellular target. SHO mice bearing A375 human melanoma xenograft were used to evaluate ABI in vivo antitumor activity. B16-F10/C57BL mouse melanoma lung metastasis model was used to test ABI efficacy to inhibit tumor lung metastasis.ABIs showed similar potency to MDR cells compared to matching parent cells. ABIs were identified to target tubulin on the colchicine binding site. After 31 days of treatment, ABI-288 dosed at 25 mg/kg inhibited melanoma tumor growth by 69%; dacarbazine at 60 mg/kg inhibited growth by 52%. ABI-274 dosed at 25 mg/kg showed better lung metastasis inhibition than dacarbazine at 60 mg/kg.This new class of antimitotic compounds can overcome several clinically important drug resistant mechanisms in vitro and are effective in inhibiting melanoma lung metastasis in vivo, supporting their further development.