Strategies to overcome trastuzumab resistance in HER2-overexpressing breast cancers: focus on new data from clinical trials.
ABSTRACT: Breast cancers over-express the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) in about 15% of patients. This transmembrane tyrosine kinase receptor activates downstream signaling pathways and leads to proliferation of cancer cells. Trastuzumab, an anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody, improves outcome in women with early and metastatic breast cancer. Resistance to trastuzumab involves the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K/mTOR) pathway, truncation of the Her2 receptor or lack of immune response. The last decade has seen major advances in strategies to overcome resistance to trastuzumab. This includes the development of antibody-drug conjugates, dual HER2 inhibition strategies, inhibition of PI3K/mTOR pathway and development of modulators of immune checkpoints.
Project description:A significant fraction of HER2-overexpressing breast cancers exhibit resistance to the HER2 antibody trastuzumab. Hyperactivity of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT pathway confers trastuzumab resistance, and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a major downstream effector of PI3K/AKT. Therefore, we examined whether mTOR inhibitors synergize with trastuzumab.Immunocompetent mice bearing HER2(+) mammary tumors were treated with trastuzumab, the mTOR inhibitor rapamycin, or the combination. Mice were imaged for tumor cell death using an optical Annexin-V probe and with [(18)F]FDG positron emission tomography. The signaling and growth effects of the mTOR inhibitor RAD001 on HER2(+) cells treated with trastuzumab or lapatinib were evaluated.Treatment of mice with trastuzumab plus rapamycin was more effective than single-agent treatments, inducing complete regression of 26 of 26 tumors. The combination induced tumor cell death (Annexin-V binding) and inhibited FDG uptake. Rapamycin inhibited mTOR and tumor cell proliferation as determined by phosphorylated S6 and Ki-67 immunohistochemistry, respectively. In culture, the combination of RAD001 plus trastuzumab inhibited cell growth more effectively than either drug alone. Trastuzumab partially decreased PI3K but not mTOR activity. Knockdown of TSC2 resulted in HER2-independent activation of mTOR and dampened the response to trastuzumab and lapatinib. Treatment with the HER2 inhibitor lapatinib decreased phosphorylated S6 and growth in TSC2-expressing cells but not in TSC2-knockdown cells.Inhibition of PI3K and mTOR are required for the growth-inhibitory effect of HER2 antagonists. These findings collectively support the combined use of trastuzumab and mTOR inhibitors for the treatment of HER2(+) breast cancer.
Project description:Trastuzumab resistance has been linked to activation of the phosphoinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. Phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a dual phosphatase that counteracts the PI3K function; PTEN loss leads to activation of the Akt cascade and the downstream mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Preclinical studies demonstrated that mTOR inhibition sensitized the response to trastuzumab in mice with HER2 overexpressing and PTEN-deficient breast xenografts. Our trial evaluated the safety and efficacy of the combination of everolimus and trastuzumab in women with HER2-overexpressing metastatic breast cancer (MBC) that progressed on trastuzumab-based therapy.This represents a pooled analysis (n = 47), stemming from two trials that occurred concurrently in The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Patients with HER2-overexpressing MBC who had progressed on trastuzumab-based therapy received trastuzumab every 3 weeks in combination with daily everolimus.Among 47 patients, the combination of everolimus and trastuzumab provided partial responses in seven patients (15%) and persistent stable disease (lasting 6 months or longer) in nine patients (19%), resulting in a clinical benefit rate of 34%. The median progression-free survival (PFS) was 4.1 month. Fatigue, infection, and mucositis were the predominant nonhematologic toxicities. Trastuzumab did not have significant influence on the pharmacokinetic profile of everolimus. Patients with PTEN loss demonstrated decreased overall survival (P = .048). However, PFS was not affected by PTEN loss.Inhibition of mTOR results in clinical benefit and disease response in patients with trastuzumab-resistant HER2-overexpressing MBC.
Project description:The extent to which efficacy of the HER2 antibody Trastuzumab in brain metastases is limited by access of antibody to brain lesions remains a question of significant clinical importance. We investigated the uptake and distribution of trastuzumab in brain and mammary fat pad grafts of HER2-positive breast cancer to evaluate the relationship of these parameters to the anti-tumor activity of trastuzumab and trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1).Mouse transgenic breast tumor cells expressing human HER2 (Fo2-1282 or Fo5) were used to establish intracranial and orthotopic tumors. Tumor uptake and tissue distribution of systemically administered 89Zr-trastuzumab or muMAb 4D5 (murine parent of trastuzumab) were measured by PET and ELISA. Efficacy of muMAb 4D5, the PI3K/mTOR inhibitor GNE-317, and T-DM1 was also assessed.89Zr-trastuzumab and muMAb 4D5 exhibited robust uptake into Fo2-1282 brain tumors, but not normal brains. Uptake into brain grafts was similar to mammary grafts. Despite this, muMAb 4D5 was less efficacious in brain grafts. Co-administration of muMAb 4D5 and GNE-317, a brain-penetrant PI3K/mTOR inhibitor, provided longer survival in mice with brain lesions than either agent alone. Moreover, T-DM1 increased survival in the Fo5 brain metastasis model.In models of HER2-positive breast cancer brain metastasis, trastuzumab efficacy does not appear to be limited by access to intracranial tumors. Anti-tumor activity improved with the addition of a brain-penetrant PI3K/mTOR inhibitor, suggesting that combining targeted therapies is a more effective strategy for treating HER2-positive breast cancer brain metastases. Survival was also extended in mice with Fo5 brain lesions treated with T-DM1.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>HER2-overexpressing metastatic breast cancers are challenging practice in oncology when they become resistant to anti-HER2 therapies such as trastuzumab. In these clinical situations, HER2-overexpression persists in metastatic localizations, and can thus be used for active targeting using innovative therapeutic approaches. Functionalized gold nanoparticles with anti-HER2 antibody can be stimulated by near-infrared light to induce hyperthermia.<h4>Methods</h4>Here, hybrid anti-HER2 gold nanoshells were engineered for photothermal therapy to overcome trastuzumab resistance in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer xenografts.<h4>Results</h4>When gold nanoshells were administered in HER2-tumor xenografts, no toxicity was observed. A detailed pharmacokinetic study showed a time-dependent accumulation of gold nanoshells within the tumors, significantly greater with functionalized gold nanoshells at 72?h. This enabled us to optimize the treatment protocol and irradiate the mice when the anti-HER2 gold nanoshells had accumulated most in the tumors. After weekly injections of anti-HER2 gold nanoshells, and repeated irradiations with a femtosecond-pulsed laser over four weeks, tumor growth was significantly inhibited. Detailed tissue microscopic analyses showed that the tumor growth inhibition was due to an anti-angiogenic effect, coherent with a preferential distribution of the nanoshells in tumor microvessels. We also showed a direct tumor cell effect with apoptosis and inhibition of proliferation, coherent with an immune-mediated targeting of tumor cells by anti-HER2 nanoshells.<h4>Conclusion</h4>This preclinical study thus supports the use of anti-HER2 gold nanoshells and photothermal therapy to overcome trastuzumab resistance in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer.
Project description:Trastuzumab, a monoclonal antibody to human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2), has improved survival in patients with HER2-positive advanced gastric or gastroesophageal junction cancer (AGC). The inevitable development of resistance to trastuzumab remains a problem, however, with several treatment strategies that have proven effective in breast cancer having failed to show clinical benefit in AGC. In this review, we summarize the mechanisms underlying resistance to HER2-targeted therapy and outline past and current challenges in the treatment of HER2-positive AGC refractory to trastuzumab. We further describe novel agents such as HER2 antibody-drug conjugates that are under development and have shown promising antitumor activity in early studies.
Project description:Trastuzumab is a monoclonal antibody targeted against the HER2 tyrosine kinase receptor. Although trastuzumab is a very active agent in HER2-overexpressing breast cancer, the majority of patients with metastatic HER2-overexpressing breast cancer who initially respond to trastuzumab develop resistance within 1 year of initiation of treatment and, in the adjuvant setting, progress despite trastuzumab-based therapy. The antibody-drug conjugate trastuzumab-DM1 (T-DM1) was designed to combine the biological activity of trastuzumab with the targeted delivery of a highly potent antimicrotubule agent, DM1 (N-methyl-N-[3-mercapto-1-oxopropyl]-l-alanine ester of maytansinol), a maytansine derivative, to HER2-overexpressing breast cancer cells. T-DM1 is the first antibody-drug conjugate with a nonreducible thioether linker in clinical trials. Phase I and II clinical trials of T-DM1 as a single agent and in combination with paclitaxel, docetaxel and pertuzumab have shown clinical activity and a favorable safety profile in patients with HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer. Two randomized phase III trials of T-DM1 are awaiting final results; the EMILIA trial is evaluating T-DM1 compared with lapatinib plus capecitabine, and early positive results have been reported. The MARIANNE trial is evaluating T-DM1 plus placebo versus T-DM1 plus pertuzumab versus trastuzumab plus a taxane. Here, we summarize evidence from clinical studies and discuss the potential clinical implications of T-DM1.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Src is a non-receptor tyrosine kinase involved in signalling and crosstalk between growth-promoting pathways. We aim to investigate the relationship of active Src in response to trastuzumab of HER2-positive breast carcinomas. METHODS: We selected 278 HER2-positive breast cancer patients with (n=154) and without (n=124) trastuzumab treatment. We performed immunohistochemistry on paraffin-embedded tissue microarrays of active Src and several proteins involved in the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway, PIK3CA mutational analysis and in vitro studies (SKBR3 and BT474 cancer cells). The results were correlated with clinicopathological factors and patients' outcome. RESULTS: Increased pSrc-Y416 was demonstrated in trastuzumab-resistant cells and in 37.8% of tumours that correlated positively with tumour size, necrosis, mitosis, metastasis to the central nervous system, p53 overexpression and MAPK activation but inversely with EGFR and p27. Univariate analyses showed an association of increased active Src with shorter survival in patients at early stage with HER2/hormone receptor-negative tumours treated with trastuzumab. CONCLUSIONS: Src activation participates in trastuzumab mechanisms of resistance and indicates poor prognosis, mainly in HER2/hormone receptor-negative breast cancer. Therefore, blocking this axis may be beneficial in those patients.
Project description:In HER2-overexpressing mammary epithelial cells, transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) activated phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt and enhanced survival and migration. Treatment with TGF-beta or expression of an activated TGF-beta type I receptor (Alk5 with the mutation T204D [Alk5(T204D)]) induced phosphorylation of TACE/ADAM17 and its translocation to the cell surface, resulting in increased secretion of TGF-alpha, amphiregulin, and heregulin. In turn, these ligands enhanced the association of p85 with ErbB3 and activated PI3K/Akt. RNA interference of TACE or ErbB3 prevented TGF-beta-induced activation of Akt and cell invasiveness. Treatment with TGF-beta or expression of Alk5(T204D) in HER2-overexpressing cells reduced their sensitivity to the HER2 antibody trastuzumab. Inhibition of Alk5, PI3K, TACE, or ErbB3 restored sensitivity to trastuzumab. A gene signature induced by Alk5(T204D) expression correlated with poor clinical outcomes in patients with invasive breast cancer. These results suggest that by acting on ErbB ligand shedding, an excess of TGF-beta may result in (i) conditioning of the tumor microenvironment with growth factors that can engage adjacent stromal and endothelial cells; (ii) potentiation of signaling downstream ErbB receptors, thus contributing to tumor progression and resistance to anti-HER2 therapies; and (iii) poor clinical outcomes in women with breast cancer.
Project description:BACKGROUND:HER2-positive gastric cancer (GC) affects 7%-34% of patients with GC. Trastuzumab-based first-line treatment has become the standard of care for HER2-positive advanced gastric cancer (AGC). However, there are no clinically validated biomarkers for resistance to HER2-targeted therapies. Upregulation of PI3K pathway and tyrosine kinase receptor (TKR) alterations have been noted as molecular mechanisms of resistance in breast cancer. Our study aimed to perform a molecular characterization of HER2-positive AGC and investigate the role of PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway activation and TKR gene copy number (GCN) gains as predictive biomarkers in HER2-positive AGC treated with trastuzumab. PATIENTS AND METHODS:Forty-two HER2-positive GC samples from patients treated with trastuzumab-based first-line chemotherapy were selected. DNA samples were sequenced. PTEN and MET immunohistochemistry were also performed. RESULTS:Concurrent genetic alterations were detected in 97.1% of HER2-positive AGC. We found activation of PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway in 52.4% of patients and TKR GCN gains in 38.1%. TKR GCN gains did not correlate with overall survival (OS) or progression-free survival (PFS). Multivariate Cox models showed that PI3K/Akt/mTOR activation negatively affects the effectiveness of trastuzumab-based chemotherapy in terms of OS and PFS. CONCLUSION:Our results provide for the first time a detailed molecular profile of concurrent genetic alterations in HER2-positive AGC. PI3K pathway activation could be used as a predictive marker of worse outcome in this patient population. In addition, gains in copy number of other TKR genes in this subgroup may also influence the survival benefit obtained with trastuzumab. IMPLICATIONS FOR PRACTICE:This article reports, for the first time, a detailed molecular profile of genomic alterations in patients with HER2-positive advanced gastric cancer (AGC). PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway activation seems to have a differentially negative effect on overall survival and progression-free survival in AGC treated with trastuzumab-based chemotherapy. Combining different targeted agents could be a successful therapeutic strategy to improve the prognosis of HER2-positive AGC.
Project description:HER2-targeting antibodies (trastuzumab, pertuzumab) and a HER2-directed antibody-drug conjugate (trastuzumab emtansine: T-DM1) are used for the treatment of HER2-overexpressing breast cancer. However, these treatments eventually become ineffective due to acquired resistance and there is an urgent need for alternative therapies. TAS0728 is a small-molecule, irreversible selective HER2 kinase inhibitor. In the present study, we established new in vivo models of cancer resistance by continuous exposure to a combination of trastuzumab and pertuzumab or to T-DM1 for evaluating the effect of TAS0728 on HER2 antibody-resistant populations. Treatment with trastuzumab and pertuzumab or with T-DM1 initially induced tumor regression in NCI-N87 xenografts. However, tumor regrowth during treatment indicated loss of drug effectiveness. In tumors with acquired resistance to trastuzumab and pertuzumab or to T-DM1, HER2-HER3 phosphorylation was retained. Switching to TAS0728 resulted in a significant anti-tumor effect associated with HER2-HER3 signal inhibition. No alternative receptor tyrosine kinase activation was observed in these resistant tumors. Furthermore, in a patient-derived xenograft model derived from breast cancer refractory to both trastuzumab/pertuzumab and T-DM1, TAS0728 exerted a potent anti-tumor effect. These results suggest that tumors with acquired resistance to trastuzumab and pertuzumab and to T-DM1 are still dependent on oncogenic HER2-HER3 signaling and are vulnerable to HER2 signal inhibition by TAS0728. These results provide a rationale for TAS0728 therapy for breast cancers that are refractory to established anti-HER2 therapies.