Antitumor activity of the ERK inhibitor SCH772984 [corrected] against BRAF mutant, NRAS mutant and wild-type melanoma.
ABSTRACT: In melanoma, dysregulation of the MAPK pathway, usually via BRAF(V600) or NRAS(Q61) somatic mutations, leads to constitutive ERK signaling. While BRAF inhibitors are initially effective for BRAF-mutant melanoma, no FDA-approved targeted therapies exist for BRAF-inhibitor-resistant BRAF(V600), NRAS mutant, or wild-type melanoma.The 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) of SCH772984, a novel inhibitor of ERK1/2, was determined in a panel of 50 melanoma cell lines. Effects on MAPK and AKT signaling by western blotting and cell cycle by flow cytometry were determined.Sensitivity fell into three groups: sensitive, 50% inhibitory concentration (IC50) < 1 ?M; intermediately sensitive, IC50 1-2 ?M; and resistant, >2 ?M. Fifteen of 21 (71%) BRAF mutants, including 4 with innate vemurafenib resistance, were sensitive to SCH772984. All three (100%) BRAF/NRAS double mutants, 11 of 14 (78%) NRAS mutants and 5 of 7 (71%) wild-type melanomas were sensitive. Among BRAF(V600) mutants with in vitro acquired resistance to vemurafenib, those with MAPK pathway reactivation as the mechanism of resistance were sensitive to SCH772984. SCH772984 caused G1 arrest and induced apoptosis.Combining vemurafenib and SCH722984 in BRAF mutant melanoma was synergistic in a majority of cell lines and significantly delayed the onset of acquired resistance in long term in vitro assays. Therefore, SCH772984 may be clinically applicable as a treatment for non-BRAF mutant melanoma or in BRAF-mutant melanoma with innate or acquired resistance, alone or in combination with BRAF inhibitors.
Project description:Following mutations in BRAF and NRAS, the RAC1 c.85C>T single-nucleotide variant (SNV) encoding P29S amino acid change represents the next most frequently observed protein-coding hotspot mutation in melanoma. However, the biologic and clinical significance of the RAC1 P29S somatic mutation in approximately 4% to 9% of patients remains unclear. Here, we demonstrate that melanoma cell lines possessing the RAC1 hotspot variant are resistant to RAF inhibitors (vemurafenib and dabrafenib). Enforced expression of RAC1 P29S in sensitive BRAF-mutant melanoma cell lines confers resistance manifested by increased viability, decreased apoptosis, and enhanced tumor growth in vivo upon treatment with RAF inhibitors. Conversely, RNAi-mediated silencing of endogenous RAC1 P29S in a melanoma cell line with a co-occurring BRAF V600 mutation increased sensitivity to vemurafenib and dabrafenib. Our results suggest RAC1 P29S status may offer a predictive biomarker for RAF inhibitor resistance in melanoma patients, where it should be evaluated clinically.
Project description:The sustained clinical activity of the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib (PLX4032/RG7204) in patients with BRAF(V600) mutant melanoma is limited primarily by the development of acquired resistance leading to tumor progression. Clinical trials are in progress using MEK inhibitors following disease progression in patients receiving BRAF inhibitors. However, the PI3K/AKT pathway can also induce resistance to the inhibitors of MAPK pathway.The sensitivity to vemurafenib or the MEK inhibitor AZD6244 was tested in sensitive and resistant human melanoma cell lines exploring differences in activation-associated phosphorylation levels of major signaling molecules, leading to the testing of co-inhibition of the AKT/mTOR pathway genetically and pharmacologically. There was a high degree of cross-resistance to vemurafenib and AZD6244, except in two vemurafenib-resistant cell lines that acquired a secondary mutation in NRAS. In other cell lines, acquired resistance to both drugs was associated with persistence or increase in activity of AKT pathway. siRNA-mediated gene silencing and combination therapy with an AKT inhibitor or rapamycin partially or completely reversed the resistance.Primary and acquired resistance to vemurafenib in these in vitro models results in frequent cross resistance to MEK inhibitors, except when the resistance is the result of a secondary NRAS mutation. Resistance to BRAF or MEK inhibitors is associated with the induction or persistence of activity within the AKT pathway in the presence of these drugs. This resistance can be potentially reversed by the combination of a RAF or MEK inhibitor with an AKT or mTOR inhibitor. These combinations should be available for clinical testing in patients progressing on BRAF inhibitors.
Project description:The NRAS and BRAF genes are frequently mutated in melanoma, suggesting that the NRAS-BRAF-MEK-ERK signaling pathway is an important target for therapy. Two classes of drugs, one targeting activated BRAF and one targeting MEK, are currently undergoing clinical evaluation. We have analysed the NRAS and BRAF mutational status of a series of 44 early passage lines developed from New Zealand patients with metastatic melanoma. 41% of the lines analysed had BRAF mutations, 23% had NRAS mutations, and 36% had neither. We then determined IC50 values (drug concentrations for 50% growth inhibition) for CI-1040, a commonly used inhibitor of MEK kinase; trametinib, a clinical agent targeting MEK kinase; and vemurafenib, an inhibitor of mutant BRAF kinase. Cell lines with activating BRAF mutations were significantly more sensitive to vemurafenib than lines with NRAS mutations or lines lacking either mutation (p < 0.001). IC50 values for CI-1040 and trametinib were strongly correlated (r = 0.98) with trametinib showing ~100-fold greater potency. Cell lines sensitive to vemurafenib were also sensitive to CI-1040 and trametinib, but there was no relationship between IC50 values and NRAS mutation status. A small number of lines lacking a BRAF mutation were sensitive to CI-1040 but resistant to vemurafenib. We used western blotting to investigate the effect on ERK phosphorylation of CI-1040 in four lines, of vemurafenib in two lines and of trametinib in two lines. The results support the view that MEK inhibitors might be combined with BRAF inhibitors in the treatment of melanomas with activated BRAF. The high sensitivity to trametinib of some lines with wildtype BRAF status also suggests that MEK inhibitors could have a therapeutic effect against some melanomas as single agents.
Project description:<h4>Purpose</h4>BRAF V600E mutation is seen in 5% to 8% of patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) and is associated with poor prognosis. Vemurafenib, an oral BRAF V600 inhibitor, has pronounced activity in patients with metastatic melanoma, but its activity in patients with BRAF V600E-positive metastatic CRC was unknown.<h4>Patients and methods</h4>In this multi-institutional, open-label study, patients with metastatic CRC with BRAF V600 mutations were recruited to an expansion cohort at the previously determined maximum-tolerated dose of 960 mg orally twice a day.<h4>Results</h4>Twenty-one patients were enrolled, of whom 20 had received at least one prior metastatic chemotherapy regimen. Grade 3 toxicities included keratoacanthomas, rash, fatigue, and arthralgia. Of the 21 patients treated, one patient had a confirmed partial response (5%; 95% CI, 1% to 24%) and seven other patients had stable disease by RECIST criteria. Median progression-free survival was 2.1 months. Patterns of concurrent mutations, microsatellite instability status, CpG island methylation status, PTEN loss, EGFR expression, and copy number alterations were not associated with clinical benefit. In contrast to prior expectations, concurrent KRAS and NRAS mutations were detected at low allele frequency in a subset of the patients' tumors (median, 0.21% allele frequency) and were apparent mechanisms of acquired resistance in vemurafenib-sensitive patient-derived xenograft models.<h4>Conclusion</h4>In marked contrast to the results seen in patients with BRAF V600E-mutant melanoma, single-agent vemurafenib did not show meaningful clinical activity in patients with BRAF V600E mutant CRC. Combination strategies are now under development and may be informed by the presence of intratumor heterogeneity of KRAS and NRAS mutations.
Project description:BRAF mutations occur in 10-15% of colorectal cancers (CRCs) and confer adverse outcome. While RAF inhibitors such as vemurafenib (PLX4032) have proven effective in BRAF mutant melanoma, they are surprisingly ineffective in BRAF mutant CRCs, and the reason for this disparity remains unclear. Compared to BRAF mutant melanoma cells, BRAF mutant CRC cells were less sensitive to vemurafenib, and P-ERK suppression was not sustained in response to treatment. Although transient inhibition of phospho-ERK by vemurafenib was observed in CRC, rapid ERK re-activation occurred through EGFR-mediated activation of RAS and CRAF. BRAF mutant CRCs expressed higher levels of phospho-EGFR than BRAF mutant melanomas, suggesting that CRCs are specifically poised for EGFR-mediated resistance. Combined RAF and EGFR inhibition blocked reactivation of MAPK signaling in BRAF mutant CRC cells and markedly improved efficacy in vitro and in vivo. These findings support evaluation of combined RAF and EGFR inhibition in BRAF mutant CRC patients.BRAF valine 600 (V600) mutations occur in 10% to 15% of colorectal cancers, yet these tumors show a surprisingly low clinical response rate (~5%) to selective RAF inhibitors such as vemurafenib, which have produced dramatic response rates (60%–80%) in melanomas harboring the identical BRAF V600 mutation. We found that EGFR-mediated MAPK pathway reactivation leads to resistance to vemurafenib in BRAF-mutant colorectal cancers and that combined RAF and EGFR inhibition can lead to sustained MAPK pathway suppression and improved efficacy in vitro and in tumor xenografts.
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:The BRAF inhibitor, vemurafenib, has demonstrated improved progression-free and overall survival compared with chemotherapy in a randomized trial, and represents a new standard of care in patients with advanced melanoma harboring a BRAF-V600 mutation. A BRAF-V600 mutation is identified in approximately half of patients with cutaneous melanoma, and is unequivocally a biomarker predictive of profound clinical benefit for these patients. However, acquired vemurafenib resistance is a major clinical challenge and therapy is not yet curative. A substantial body of translational research has been performed alongside clinical trials of vemurafenib, providing key insights into the molecular basis of response and resistance. This review summarizes the development of vemurafenib for the treatment of BRAF-V600 mutant melanoma and discusses how knowledge of critical signaling pathways will be applied for its optimal clinical use in future.
Project description:Vemurafenib, a selective inhibitor of BRAF(V600), has shown significant activity in BRAF(V600) melanoma but not in less than 10% of metastatic BRAF(V600) colorectal cancers (CRC), suggesting that studies of the unique hypermethylated phenotype and concurrent oncogenic activation of BRAF(mut) CRC may provide combinatorial strategies.We conducted comparative proteomic analysis of BRAF(V600E) melanoma and CRC cell lines, followed by correlation of phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway activation and sensitivity to the vemurafenib analogue PLX4720. Pharmacologic inhibitors and siRNA were used in combination with PLX4720 to inhibit PI3K and methyltransferase in cell lines and murine models.Compared with melanoma, CRC lines show higher levels of PI3K/AKT pathway activation. CRC cell lines with mutations in PTEN or PIK3CA were less sensitive to growth inhibition by PLX4720 (P = 0.03), and knockdown of PTEN expression in sensitive CRC cells reduced growth inhibition by the drug. Combined treatment of PLX4720 with PI3K inhibitors caused synergistic growth inhibition in BRAF-mutant CRC cells with both primary and secondary resistance. In addition, methyltransferase inhibition was synergistic with PLX4720 and decreased AKT activation. In vivo, PLX4720 combined with either inhibitors of AKT or methyltransferase showed greater tumor growth inhibition than PLX4720 alone. Clones with acquired resistance to PLX4720 in vitro showed PI3K/AKT activation with EGF receptor (EGFR) or KRAS amplification.We show that activation of the PI3K/AKT pathway is a mechanism of both innate and acquired resistance to BRAF inhibitors in BRAF(V600E) CRC and suggest combinatorial approaches to improve outcomes in this poor prognosis subset of patients.
Project description:The Ras/MEK/ERK pathway has been the primary focus of targeted therapies in melanoma; it is aberrantly activated in almost 80% of human cutaneous melanomas (≈50% <i>BRAF</i>V600 mutations and ≈30% <i>NRAS</i> mutations). While drugs targeting the MAPK pathway have yielded success in <i>BRAF</i>V600 mutant melanoma patients, such therapies have been ineffective in patients with <i>NRAS</i> mutant melanomas in part due to their cytostatic effects and primary resistance. Here, we demonstrate that increased Rho/MRTF-pathway activation correlates with high intrinsic resistance to the MEK inhibitor, trametinib, in a panel of <i>NRAS</i> mutant melanoma cell lines. A combination of trametinib with the Rho/MRTF-pathway inhibitor, CCG-222740, synergistically reduced cell viability in <i>NRAS</i> mutant melanoma cell lines in vitro. Furthermore, the combination of CCG-222740 with trametinib induced apoptosis and reduced clonogenicity in SK-Mel-147 cells, which are highly resistant to trametinib. These findings suggest a role of the Rho/MRTF-pathway in intrinsic trametinib resistance in a subset of <i>NRAS</i> mutant melanoma cell lines and highlight the therapeutic potential of concurrently targeting the Rho/MRTF-pathway and MEK in <i>NRAS</i> mutant melanomas.
Project description:Most patients with BRAF(V600)-mutant metastatic melanoma develop resistance to selective RAF kinase inhibitors. The spectrum of clinical genetic resistance mechanisms to RAF inhibitors and options for salvage therapy are incompletely understood. We performed whole-exome sequencing on formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded tumors from 45 patients with BRAF(V600)-mutant metastatic melanoma who received vemurafenib or dabrafenib monotherapy. Genetic alterations in known or putative RAF inhibitor resistance genes were observed in 23 of 45 patients (51%). Besides previously characterized alterations, we discovered a "long tail" of new mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway alterations (MAP2K2, MITF) that confer RAF inhibitor resistance. In three cases, multiple resistance gene alterations were observed within the same tumor biopsy. Overall, RAF inhibitor therapy leads to diverse clinical genetic resistance mechanisms, mostly involving MAPK pathway reactivation. Novel therapeutic combinations may be needed to achieve durable clinical control of BRAF(V600)-mutant melanoma. Integrating clinical genomics with preclinical screens may model subsequent resistance studies.