Preclinical evaluation of the combination of mTOR and proteasome inhibitors with radiotherapy in malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors.
ABSTRACT: About one half of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) have Neurofibromin 1 (NF1) mutations. NF1 is a tumor suppressor gene essential for negative regulation of RAS signaling. Survival for MPNST patients is poor and we sought to identify an effective combination therapy. Starting with the mTOR inhibitors rapamycin and everolimus, we screened for synergy in 542 FDA approved compounds using MPNST cells with a native NF1 loss in both alleles. We further analyzed the cell cycle and signal transduction. In vivo growth effects of the drug combination with local radiation therapy (RT) were assessed in MPNST xenografts. The synergistic combination of mTOR inhibitors with bortezomib yielded a reduction in MPNST cell proliferation. The combination of mTOR inhibitors and bortezomib also enhanced the anti-proliferative effect of radiation in vitro. In vivo, the combination of mTOR inhibitor (everolimus) and bortezomib with RT decreased tumor growth and proliferation, and augmented apoptosis. The combination of approved mTOR and proteasome inhibitors with radiation showed a significant reduction of tumor growth in an animal model and should be investigated and optimized further for MPNST therapy.
Project description:Purpose:There are no known effective medical treatments for refractory MPNST. Inactivation of the NF1 tumor suppressor in MPNST results in upregulation of mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) signaling and angiogenesis, which contributes to disease progression. We conducted a phase II study for patients (pts) with refractory MPNST combining everolimus (10?mg PO once daily) with bevacizumab (10?mg/kg IV every 2?weeks) to determine the clinical benefit rate (CBR) (complete response, partial response (PR), or stable disease (SD)???4?months). Patients and Methods:Patients ?18?years old with chemotherapy refractory sporadic or NF1 MPNST were eligible. Tumor response was assessed after every 2 cycles (the WHO criteria). A two-stage design targeting a 25% CBR was used: if???1/15 pts in stage 1 responded, enrollment would be expanded by 10 pts, and if???4/25 patients had clinical benefit, the combination would be considered active. Results:Twenty-five pts, 17 with NF1 and 8 with sporadic MPNST, enrolled. One of 15 pts in stage 1 had clinical benefit. Of 10 additional pts enrolled, 2 had clinical benefit. The median number of completed cycles was 3 (range 1-16). Adverse events were similar to those known for this combination. Conclusion:With a CBR of 12% (3/25), the combination of everolimus and bevacizumab did not reach the study's target response rate and is not considered active in refractory MPNST.
Project description:Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common cancer predisposition syndrome in which affected individuals develop benign and malignant nerve tumors. The NF1 gene product neurofibromin negatively regulates Ras and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling, prompting clinical trials to evaluate the ability of Ras and mTOR pathway inhibitors to arrest NF1-associated tumor growth. To discover other downstream targets of neurofibromin, we performed an unbiased cell-based high-throughput chemical library screen using NF1-deficient malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) cells. We identified the natural product, cucurbitacin-I (JSI-124), which inhibited NF1-deficient cell growth by inducing apoptosis. We further showed that signal transducer and activator of transcription-3 (STAT3), the target of cucurbitacin-I inhibition, was hyperactivated in NF1-deficient primary astrocytes and neural stem cells, mouse glioma cells, and human MPNST cells through Ser(727) phosphorylation, leading to increased cyclin D1 expression. STAT3 was regulated in NF1-deficient cells of murine and human origin in a TORC1- and Rac1-dependent manner. Finally, cucurbitacin-I inhibited the growth of NF1-deficient MPNST cells in vivo. In summary, we used a chemical genetics approach to reveal STAT3 as a novel neurofibromin/mTOR pathway signaling molecule, define its action and regulation, and establish STAT3 as a tractable target for future NF1-associated cancer therapy studies.
Project description:Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is an autosomal dominant disease that predisposes individuals to develop benign neurofibromas and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs). Due to the lack of information on the molecular mechanism of NF1-associated tumor pathogenesis or biomarkers/therapeutic targets, an effective treatment for NF1 tumors has not been established. In this study, the novel NF1-associated protein, translationally controlled tumor protein (TCTP), was identified by integrated proteomics and found to be up-regulated via activated MAPK/PI3K-AKT signaling in response to growth factors in NF1-deficient Schwann cells. Immunohistochemical analysis of NF1-associated tumors revealed that the TCTP expression level correlated with tumorigenicity. In NF1-deficient MPNST cells, TCTP protein but not mRNA was down-regulated by NF1 GTPase-activating protein-related domain or MAPK/PI3K inhibitors, and this correlated with suppression of mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling. mTOR inhibition by rapamycin also down-regulated TCTP protein expression, whereas knockdown or overexpression of TCTP suppressed or activated mTOR signaling, respectively, and affected cell viability. These results suggest that a positive feedback loop between TCTP and mTOR contributes to NF1-associated tumor formation. Last, the anti-tumor effect of artesunate, which binds to and degrades TCTP, was evaluated. Artesunate significantly suppressed the viability of MPNST cells but not normal Schwann cells, and the TCTP level inversely correlated with artesunate sensitivity. Moreover, combinational use of artesunate and rapamycin enhanced the cytotoxic effect on MPNST cells. These findings suggest that TCTP is functionally implicated in the progression of NF1-associated tumors and could serve as a biological target for their therapy.
Project description:Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST) is a type of soft-tissue sarcoma strongly associated with dysfunction in neurofibromin; an inhibitor of the RAS pathway. We performed high-throughput screening of an array of FDA approved and promising agents in clinical development both alone and in combination at physiologically achievable concentrations against a panel of established MPNST cell line models. We found that drugs targeting a variety of factors in the RAS pathway can effectively lead to cell death in vitro with considerable drug combination synergy in regimens that target MEK or mTOR. We observed that the degree of relative sensitivity to chemotherapeutic agents was associated with the status of neurofibromin in these cell line models. Using a combination of agents that target MEK and mTORC1/2, we effectively silenced RAS/PI3K/MEK/mTOR signaling in vitro. Moreover, we employed RNAi against NF1 to establish that MPNST drug sensitivity is directly proportional to relative level of intracellular neurofibromin. Thus, two-drug combinations that target MEK and mTORC1/2 are most effective in halting the RAS signaling cascade, and the relative success of this and related small molecule interventions in MPNSTs may be predicated upon the molecular status of neurofibromin.
Project description:Approximately 30-50% of individuals with Neurofibromatosis type 1 develop benign peripheral nerve sheath tumors, called plexiform neurofibromas (PNFs). PNFs can undergo malignant transformation to highly metastatic malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) in 5-10% of NF1 patients, with poor prognosis. No effective systemic therapy is currently available for unresectable tumors. In tumors, the NF1 gene deficiency leads to Ras hyperactivation causing the subsequent activation of the AKT/mTOR and Raf/MEK/ERK pathways and inducing multiple cellular responses including cell proliferation. In this study, three NF1-null MPNST-derived cell lines (90-8, 88-14 and 96-2), STS26T sporadic MPNST cell line and PNF-derived primary Schwann cells were used to test responses to AZD8055, an ATP-competitive "active-site" mTOR inhibitor. In contrast to rapamycin treatment which only partially affected mTORC1 signaling, AZD8055 induced a strong inhibition of mTORC1 and mTORC2 signaling in MPNST-derived cell lines and PNF-derived Schwann cells. AZD8055 induced full blockade of mTORC1 leading to an efficient decrease of global protein synthesis. A higher cytotoxic effect was observed with AZD8055 compared to rapamycin in the NF1-null MPNST-derived cell lines with IC50 ranging from 70 to 140 nM and antiproliferative effect was confirmed in PNF-derived Schwann cells. Cell migration was impaired by AZD8055 treatment and cell cycle analysis showed a G0/G1 arrest. Combined effects of AZD8055 and PD0325901 MEK inhibitor as well as BRD4 (BromoDomain-containing protein 4) inhibitors showed a synergistic antiproliferative effect. These data suggest that NF1-associated peripheral nerve sheath tumors are an ideal target for AZD8055 as a single molecule or in combined therapies.
Project description:Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a hereditary tumor syndrome characterized by an increased risk of malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST). Chemotherapy of MPNST is still insufficient. In this study, we investigated whether human tumor Schwann cells derived from NF1 associated MPNST respond to all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA). We analyzed effects of ATRA and MEK inhibitor (MEKi) combination therapy.MPNST cell lines S462, T265, NSF1 were treated with ATRA and MEKi U0126 and PD0325901. We assessed cell viability, proliferation, migration, apoptosis and differentiation as well as mRNA expression of RAR and RXR subtypes and ATRA target genes such as CRABP2, CYP26A1, RARB and PDK1. We also analyzed CRABP2 methylation in cell lines and performed immunohistochemistry of human MPNST specimens.ATRA therapy reduced viability and proliferation in S462 and T265 cells, accompanied by differentiation, apoptosis and reduced migration. NSF1 cells which lacked RXRG expression did not respond to ATRA. We furthermore demonstrated that ATRA signaling was functional for common targets, and that mRNA expression of CRABP2 and its targets was raised by ATRA therapy, whereas alternative pathways via FABP5 were not induced. Finally, combination of ATRA and MEKi demonstrated additively reduced viability of T265 and S462 cells.We observed therapeutic effects in two of three MPNST cell lines pronounced by combination therapy. These data point to a potentially successful treatment of MPNST by combined application of ATRA and MEK inhibitors such as U0126 or PD0325901.
Project description:Patients with neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) carry approximately a 10% lifetime risk of developing a malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor (MPNST). Although the molecular mechanisms underlying NF1 to MPNST malignant transformation remain unclear, alterations of both the RAS/RAF/MAPK and PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathways have been implicated. In a series of genetically engineered murine models, we perturbed RAS/RAF/MAPK or/and PTEN/PI3K/AKT pathway, individually or simultaneously, via conditional activation of K-ras oncogene or deletion of Nf1 or Pten tumor suppressor genes. Only K-Ras activation in combination with a single Pten allele deletion led to 100% penetrable development of NF lesions and subsequent progression to MPNST. Importantly, loss or decrease in PTEN expression was found in all murine MPNSTs and a majority of human NF1-associated MPNST lesions, suggesting that PTEN dosage and its controlled signaling pathways are critical for transformation of NFs to MPNST. Using noninvasive in vivo PET-CT imaging, we demonstrated that FDG can be used to identify the malignant transformation in both murine and human MPNSTs. Our data suggest that combined inhibition of RAS/RAF/MAPK and PTEN/PI3K/AKT pathways may be beneficial for patients with MPNST.
Project description:The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), a vital component of signaling pathways involving PI3K/AKT, is an attractive therapeutic target in breast cancer. Everolimus, an allosteric mTOR inhibitor that inhibits the mTOR functional complex mTORC1, is approved for treatment of estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer. Other mTOR inhibitors show interesting differences in target specificities: BEZ235 and GSK2126458 are ATP competitive mTOR inhibitors targeting both PI3K and mTORC1/2; AZD8055, AZD2014 and KU-0063794 are ATP competitive mTOR inhibitors targeting both mTORC1 and mTORC2; and GDC-0941 is a pan-PI3K inhibitor. We have addressed the question of whether mTOR inhibitors may be more effective in combination than singly in inhibiting the proliferation of breast cancer cells. We selected a panel of 30 human breast cancer cell lines that included ER and PR positive, HER2 over-expressing, and "triple negative" variants, and determined whether signaling pathway utilization was related to drug-induced inhibition of proliferation. A significant correlation (p = 0.005) was found between everolimus IC50 values and p70S6K phosphorylation, but not with AKT or ERK phosphorylation, consistent with the mTOR pathway being a principal target. We then carried out combination studies with four everolimus resistant triple-negative breast cancer cell lines, and found an unexpectedly high degree of synergy between everolimus and the other inhibitors tested. The level of potentiation of everolimus inhibitory activity (measured by IC50 values) was found to be cell line-specific for all the kinase inhibitors tested. The results suggest that judicious combination of mTOR inhibitors with different modes of action could have beneficial effects in the treatment of breast cancer.
Project description:Multikinase inhibitors (MKI) and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors prolong progression-free (PFS) and overall survival (OS) in the treatment of metastatic renal cell carcinoma (mRCC) by reducing angiogenesis and tumor growth. In this regard, the MKI lenvatinib and the mTOR inhibitor everolimus proved effective when applied alone, but more effective when they were administered combined. Recently, both drugs were included in clinical trials, resulting in international clinical guidelines for the treatment of mRCC. In May 2016, lenvatinib was approved by the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the use in combination with everolimus, as treatment of advanced renal cell carcinoma following one prior antiangiogenic therapy. A major problem of treating mRCC with lenvatinib and everolimus is the serious adverse event (AE) of arterial hypertension. During the treatment with everolimus and lenvatinib combined, 42% of the patients developed hypertension, while 10% of the patients treated with everolimus alone and 48% of the of the lenvatinib only treated patients developed hypertension. Lenvatinib carries warnings and precautions for hypertension, cardiac failure, and other adverse events. Therefore, careful monitoring of the patients is necessary.