Molecular rationale for the use of PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway inhibitors in combination with crizotinib in ALK-mutated neuroblastoma.
ABSTRACT: Mutations in the ALK tyrosine kinase receptor gene represent important therapeutic targets in neuroblastoma, yet their clinical translation has been challenging. The ALK(F1174L) mutation is sensitive to the ALK inhibitor crizotinib only at high doses and mediates acquired resistance to crizotinib in ALK-translocated cancers. We have shown that the combination of crizotinib and an inhibitor of downstream signaling induces a favorable response in transgenic mice bearing ALK(F1174L)/MYCN-positive neuroblastoma. Here, we investigated the molecular basis of this effect and assessed whether a similar strategy would be effective in ALK-mutated tumors lacking MYCN overexpression. We show that in ALK-mutated, MYCN-amplified neuroblastoma cells, crizotinib alone does not affect mTORC1 activity as indicated by persistent RPS6 phosphorylation. Combined treatment with crizotinib and an ATP-competitive mTOR inhibitor abrogated RPS6 phosphorylation, leading to reduced tumor growth and prolonged survival in ALK(F1174L)/MYCN-positive models compared to single agent treatment. By contrast, this combination, while inducing mTORC1 downregulation, caused reciprocal upregulation of PI3K activity in ALK-mutated cells expressing wild-type MYCN. Here, an inhibitor with potency against both mTOR and PI3K was more effective in promoting cytotoxicity when combined with crizotinib. Our findings should enable a more precise selection of molecularly targeted agents for patients with ALK-mutated tumors.
Project description:The ALK(F1174L) mutation is associated with intrinsic and acquired resistance to crizotinib and cosegregates with MYCN in neuroblastoma. In this study, we generated a mouse model overexpressing ALK(F1174L) in the neural crest. Compared to ALK(F1174L) and MYCN alone, co-expression of these two oncogenes led to the development of neuroblastomas with earlier onset, higher penetrance, and enhanced lethality. ALK(F1174L)/MYCN tumors exhibited increased MYCN dosage due to ALK(F1174L)-induced activation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR and MAPK pathways, coupled with suppression of MYCN pro-apoptotic effects. Combined treatment with the ATP-competitive mTOR inhibitor Torin2 overcame the resistance of ALK(F1174L)/MYCN tumors to crizotinib. Our findings demonstrate a pathogenic role for ALK(F1174L) in neuroblastomas overexpressing MYCN and suggest a strategy for improving targeted therapy for ALK-positive neuroblastoma.
Project description:Activating mutations in the anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene were recently discovered in neuroblastoma, a cancer of the developing autonomic nervous system that is the most commonly diagnosed malignancy in the first year of life. The most frequent ALK mutations in neuroblastoma cause amino acid substitutions (F1174L and R1275Q) in the intracellular tyrosine kinase domain of the intact ALK receptor. Identification of ALK as an oncogenic driver in neuroblastoma suggests that crizotinib (PF-02341066), a dual-specific inhibitor of the ALK and Met tyrosine kinases, will be useful in treating this malignancy. Here, we assessed the ability of crizotinib to inhibit proliferation of neuroblastoma cell lines and xenografts expressing mutated or wild-type ALK. Crizotinib inhibited proliferation of cell lines expressing either R1275Q-mutated ALK or amplified wild-type ALK. In contrast, cell lines harboring F1174L-mutated ALK were relatively resistant to crizotinib. Biochemical analyses revealed that this reduced susceptibility of F1174L-mutated ALK to crizotinib inhibition resulted from an increased adenosine triphosphate-binding affinity (as also seen in acquired resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors). Thus, this effect should be surmountable with higher doses of crizotinib and/or with higher-affinity inhibitors.
Project description:UNLABELLED:Neuroblastomas harboring activating point mutations in anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) are differentially sensitive to the ALK inhibitor crizotinib, with certain mutations conferring intrinsic crizotinib resistance. To overcome this clinical obstacle, our goal was to identify inhibitors with improved potency that can target intractable ALK variants such as F1174L. We find that PF-06463922 has high potency across ALK variants and inhibits ALK more effectively than crizotinib in vitro. Most importantly, PF-06463922 induces complete tumor regression in both crizotinib-resistant and crizotinib-sensitive xenograft mouse models of neuroblastoma, as well as in patient-derived xenografts harboring the crizotinib-resistant F1174L or F1245C mutations. These studies demonstrate that PF-06463922 has the potential to overcome crizotinib resistance and exerts unprecedented activity as a single targeted agent against F1174L and F1245C ALK-mutated xenograft tumors, while also inducing responses in an R1275Q xenograft model. Taken together, these results provide the rationale to move PF-06463922 into clinical trials for treatment of patients with ALK-mutated neuroblastoma. SIGNIFICANCE:The next-generation ALK/ROS1 inhibitor PF-06463922 exerts unparalleled activity in ALK-driven neuroblastoma models with primary crizotinib resistance. Our biochemical and in vivo data provide the preclinical rationale for fast-tracking the development of this agent in children with relapsed/refractory ALK-mutant neuroblastoma.
Project description:The first-in-class inhibitor of ALK, c-MET and ROS1, crizotinib (Xalkori), has shown remarkable clinical efficacy in treatment of ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer. However, in neuroblastoma, activating mutations in the ALK kinase domain are typically refractory to crizotinib treatment, highlighting the need for more potent inhibitors. The next-generation ALK inhibitor PF-06463922 is predicted to exhibit increased affinity for ALK mutants prevalent in neuroblastoma. We examined PF-06463922 activity in ALK-driven neuroblastoma models in vitro and in vivo In vitro kinase assays and cell-based experiments examining ALK mutations of increasing potency show that PF-06463922 is an effective inhibitor of ALK with greater activity towards ALK neuroblastoma mutants. In contrast to crizotinib, single agent administration of PF-06463922 caused dramatic tumor inhibition in both subcutaneous and orthotopic xenografts as well as a mouse model of high-risk neuroblastoma driven by Th-ALK(F1174L)/MYCN Taken together, our results suggest PF-06463922 is a potent inhibitor of crizotinib-resistant ALK mutations, and highlights an important new treatment option for neuroblastoma patients.
Project description:Since the original descriptions of gain-of function mutations in anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK), interest in the role of this receptor tyrosine kinase in neuroblastoma development and as a potential therapeutic target has escalated. As a group, the activating point mutations in full-length ALK, found in approximately 8% of all neuroblastoma tumors, are distributed evenly across different clinical stages. However, the most frequent somatic mutation, F1174L, is associated with amplification of the MYCN oncogene. This combination of features appears to confer a worse prognosis than MYCN amplification alone, suggesting a cooperative effect on neuroblastoma formation by these two proteins. Indeed, F1174L has shown more potent transforming activity in vivo than the second most common activating mutation, R1275Q, and is responsible for innate and acquired resistance to crizotinib, a clinically relevant ALK inhibitor that will soon be commercially available. These advances cast ALK as a bona fide oncoprotein in neuroblastoma and emphasize the need to understand ALK-mediated signaling in this tumor. This review addresses many of the current issues surrounding the role of ALK in normal development and neuroblastoma pathogenesis, and discusses the prospects for clinically effective targeted treatments based on ALK inhibition.
Project description:ALK receptor tyrosine kinase has been shown to be a therapeutic target in neuroblastoma. Germline ALK activating mutations are responsible for the majority of hereditary neuroblastoma and somatic ALK activating mutations are also frequently observed in sporadic cases of advanced NB. Crizotinib, a first-line therapy in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring ALK rearrangements, demonstrates striking efficacy against ALK-rearranged NB. However, crizotinib fails to effectively inhibit the activity of ALK when activating mutations are present within its kinase domain, as with the F1174L mutation. Here we show that a new ALK inhibitor AZD3463 effectively suppressed the proliferation of NB cell lines with wild type ALK (WT) as well as ALK activating mutations (F1174L and D1091N) by blocking the ALK-mediated PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway and ultimately induced apoptosis and autophagy. In addition, AZD3463 enhanced the cytotoxic effects of doxorubicin on NB cells. AZD3463 also exhibited significant therapeutic efficacy on the growth of the NB tumors with WT and F1174L activating mutation ALK in orthotopic xenograft mouse models. These results indicate that AZD3463 is a promising therapeutic agent in the treatment of NB.
Project description:The ALK^F1174L mutation is associated with intrinsic and acquired resistance to crizotinib and cosegregates with MYCN in neuroblastoma. In this study, we generated a mouse model overexpressing ALK^F1174L in the neural crest. Comapred to mice expressing ALK^F1174L or MYCN alone, combined expression of the two aberrations led to development of neuroblastoma with a shorter latency and higher penetrance. Here, we evaluated the transcriptional profiles of MYCN-driven neuroblastomas with or without the expression of ALK^F1174L to determine the pathogenic consequences of the ALK^F1174L/MYCN interaction in neuroblastoma. 10 mice were analysed in this study. Five ALK^F1174L/MYCN tumors were compared with five MYCN tumors. Total RNA was extracted, samples were labeled and processed using the Agilent Low Input Quick Amp two color Cy3(sample) and Cy5 (mouse reference) labeling kit and hybridized to Agilent SurePrint G3 Mouse Gene Expression arrays.
Project description:Activating germline mutations of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) occur in most cases of hereditary neuroblastoma (NB) and the constitutively active kinase activity of ALK promotes cell proliferation and survival in NB. Therefore, ALK kinase is a potential therapeutic target for NB. In this study, we show that the novel ALK inhibitor alectinib effectively suppressed cell proliferation and induces apoptosis in NB cell lines with either wild-type ALK or mutated ALK (F1174L and D1091N) by blocking ALK-mediated PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling. In addition, alectinib enhanced doxorubicin-induced cytotoxicity and apoptosis in NB cells. Furthermore, alectinib induced apoptosis in an orthotopic xenograft NB mouse model. Also, in the TH-MYCN transgenic mouse model, alectinib resulted in decreased tumor growth and prolonged survival time. These results indicate that alectinib may be a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of NB.
Project description:Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) is a transmembrane receptor kinase that belongs to the insulin receptor superfamily and has previously been shown to play a role in cell proliferation, migration and invasion in neuroblastoma. Activating ALK mutations are reported in both hereditary and sporadic neuroblastoma tumours, and several ALK inhibitors are currently under clinical evaluation as novel treatments for neuroblastoma. Overall, mutations at codons F1174, R1275 and F1245 together account for ~85% of reported ALK mutations in neuroblastoma. NBLW and NBLW-R are paired cell lines originally derived from an infant with metastatic MYCN amplified Stage IVS (Evans Criteria) neuroblastoma, at diagnosis and relapse, respectively. Using both Sanger and targeted deep sequencing, this study describes the identification of distinct ALK mutations in these paired cell lines, including the rare R1275L mutation, which has not previously been reported in a neuroblastoma cell line. Analysis of the sensitivity of NBLW and NBLW-R cells to a panel of ALK inhibitors (TAE-684, Crizotinib, Alectinib and Lorlatinib) revealed differences between the paired cell lines, and overall NBLW-R cells with the F1174L mutation were more resistant to ALK inhibitor induced apoptosis compared with NBLW cells. This pair of cell lines represents a valuable pre-clinical model of clonal evolution of ALK mutations associated with neuroblastoma progression.
Project description:Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a neoplasm with inferior prognosis and notorious chemotherapeutic resistance. Targeting aberrantly overexpressed kinases to cure MPM is a promising therapeutic strategy. Here, we examined ALK, MET and mTOR as potential therapeutic targets and determined the combinatorial efficacy of ALK and mTOR targeting on tumor cell growth in vivo. First, ALK overexpression, rearrangement and mutation were studied in primary MPM by qRT-PCR, FISH, immunohistochemistry and sequence analysis; mTOR and MET expression by qRT-PCR and immunohistochemistry. Overexpression of full-length ALK transcripts was observed in 25 (19.5%) of 128 primary MPM, of which ten expressed ALK protein. ALK overexpression was not associated with gene rearrangement, amplification or kinase-domain mutation. mTOR protein was detected in 28.7% MPM, co-expressed with ALK or MET in 5% and 15% MPM, respectively. The ALK/MET inhibitor crizotinib enhanced the anti-tumor effect of the mTOR-inhibitor rapamycin in a patient-derived MPM xenograft with co-activated ALK/mTOR: combined therapy achieved tumor shrinkage in 4/5 tumors and growth stagnation in one tumor. Treatment effects on proliferation, apoptosis, autophagy and pathway signaling were assessed using Ki-67 immunohistochemistry, TUNEL assay, LC3B immunofluorescence, and immunoblotting. Co-treatment significantly suppressed cell proliferation and induced autophagy and caspase-independent, necrotic cell death. Rapamycin/crizotinib simultaneously inhibited mTORC1 (evidenced by S6 kinase and RPS6 dephosphorylation) and ALK signaling (ALK, AKT, STAT3 dephosphorylation), and crizotinib suppressed the adverse AKT activation induced by rapamycin. In conclusion, co-treatment with rapamycin and crizotinib is effective in suppressing MPM tumor growth and should be further explored as a therapeutic alternative in mesothelioma.