Thymidylate Synthase as a Predictive Biomarker for Pemetrexed Response in NSCLC.
ABSTRACT: In recent years, major strides in cancer research have made it possible to select personalized chemotherapy recommendations based on an individual patient's tumor biology. The prognostic and/or predictive ability of biomarkers seeks to tailor the use of targeted chemotherapy and can result in improved clinical outcomes with reduced toxicity. A proliferation of new technology and pharmacotherapeutics in the setting of current FDA Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) standards has resulted in a recent surge in direct-to-physician biomarker tests. However, in the absence of clinical validation, there is the concern that the biomarkers may be utilized prematurely, resulting in improper chemotherapy selection and patient harm. Thymidylate synthase (TS) has been marketed as a predictive biomarker for the use of pemetrexed in NSCLC. We will examine the evidence behind the use of TS as a predictive biomarker to predict response to pemetrexed in NSCLC. At this time, the evidence does not currently support using TS assays to guide chemotherapy selection outside of a clinical research protocol.
Project description:Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for 80-85% of lung cancer cases, and almost half of newly diagnosed patients have metastatic disease. Pemetrexed is a widely used drug for NSCLC and inhibits several folate-dependent enzymes including thymidylate synthase (TS). Increased expression of TS confers resistance to pemetrexed in vitro and predicts poor response to pemetrexed. Rapamycin is an mTOR inhibitor and suppresses cap-dependent synthesis of specific mRNA species. Here, we show that the combination of rapamycin and pemetrexed synergistically inhibits proliferation of NSCLC cells. Although pemetrexed as a single agent induced TS, pretreatment with rapamycin suppressed pemetrexed-induced TS expression. In vivo, the combination of rapamycin and pemetrexed inhibited growth of NSCLC xenografts, which correlated with decreased mTOR activity and suppression of pemetrexed-induced TS expression. The ability of rapamycin to enhance the efficacy of pemetrexed and prevent TS expression has implications for the design of Phase I and/or Phase II NSCLC clinical trials with mTOR inhibitors in combination with pemetrexed.
Project description:ROS1 rearrangement is a novel molecular subgroup of non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). This study aimed to investigate the efficacy of crizotinib and pemetrexed-based chemotherapy in Chinese NSCLC patients with ROS1 rearrangement.A total of 2309 patients received ROS1 fusion detection and 51(2.2%) patients had ROS1 rearrangement. There was no significant difference between ROS1 fusion-positive and fusion-negative cohorts in demographic data. For the ROS1 fusion-positive patients, crizotinb-treated group had a higher overall response rate (ORR, 80.0%), disease control rate (DCR, 90.0%) and longer progression-free survival (PFS, 294 days) compared with the rates in pemetrexed-treated group (ORR, 40.8%; DCR, 71.4%; PFS, 179 days) and non-pemetrexed-treated group (ORR, 25.0%; DCR, 47.7%; PFS, 110 days). Besides, ORR, DCR and PFS were similar in three major ROS1 fusion partners. For the first-line treatment, patients received pemetrexed had a significant longer PFS than those received non-pemetrexed chemotherapy (209 vs. 146 days, P = 0.0107). In pemetrexed-treated cohorts, ROS1-positive patients with low TS expression had a statistically significant longer PFS than those with high TS expression (184 vs. 110 days, P = 0.0105).We retrospectively identified patients with NSCLC who were screened for ROS1 fusion using multiplex reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) from October 2013 to February 2016. The thymidylate synthase (TS) mRNA levels were tested using quantitative real-time RT-PCR.Crizotinib was also highly active at treating Chinese NSCLC patients with ROS1 rearrangement. TS expression could predict the efficacy of pemetrexed-based therapy in ROS1 fusion-positive patients.
Project description:Folate receptor alpha (FRA) regulates cellular uptake of folates and antifolates. Information about FRA protein expression in metastatic non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is limited. We investigated FRA as a biomarker for pemetrexed-based chemotherapy and compared it with thymidylate synthase (TS), the main target of pemetrexed.Pretreatment tumor specimens from 207 patients with advanced NSCLC were assessed for FRA and TS protein expression by immunohistochemistry using the H-score (range, 0-300) and correlated to patients' clinicopathological data, radiographic response, progression-free survival (PFS), and overall survival (OS).Low total (cytoplasmic and nuclear) TS protein expression (H-score < 210) was associated with improved PFS (median: 5.6 versus 3.5 months; hazard ratio [HR] = 0.6379, p = 0.0131) and prolonged OS (median: 22.5 versus 11.5 months; HR = 0.5680,p = 0.0107). An association between lower TS levels and response to pemetrexed-based therapy was found-mean H-score 187 ± 5, median 180 for responders versus mean H-score 201 ± 4, median 210, for non-responders, p = 0.0244. High intracellular FRA expression (H-score ?110) was associated with prolonged OS (28.9 versus 11.7 months, HR = 0.5316, p = 0.0040) and a trend for association with PFS (5.6 versus 4.1 months, HR = 0.7395, p = 0.0801) was noted. Membranous FRA expression was seen in 83% of patients, moreover, high membranous expression (H-score ?20) was associated with improved PFS (5.6 versus 3.7 months, HR = 0.6445, p = 0.0306) and OS (22.1 versus 11.5 months, HR = 0.5378, p = 0.0131).A large number of NSCLC patients have high expression of FRA and/or a low level of TS expression. Expression levels of FRA and TS were associated with clinical benefit from pemetrexed therapy.
Project description:Inhibition of thymidylate synthase (TS) results in a transient "flare" in DNA thymidine salvage pathway activity measurable with FLT ([18F]thymidine)-positron emission tomography (PET). Here we characterize this imaging strategy for potential clinical translation in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Since pemetrexed acts by inhibiting TS, we defined the kinetics of increases in thymidine salvage pathway mediated by TS inhibition following treatment with pemetrexed in vitro. Next, using a mouse model of NSCLC, we validated the kinetics of the pemetrexed-mediated "flare" in thymidine salvage pathway activity in vivo using FLT-PET imaging. Finally, we translated our findings into a proof-of-principle clinical trial of FLT-PET in a human NSCLC patient. In NSCLC cells in vitro, we identified a burst in pemetrexed-mediated thymidine salvage pathway activity, assessed by 3H-thymidine assays, thymidine kinase 1 (TK1) expression, and equilibrative nucleoside transporter 1 (ENT1) mobilization to the cell membrane, that peaked at 2hrs. This 2hr time-point was also optimal for FLT-PET imaging of pemetrexed-mediated TS inhibition in murine xenograft tumors and was demonstrated to be feasible in a NSCLC patient. FLT-PET imaging of pemetrexed-induced TS inhibition is optimal at 2hrs from therapy start; this timing is feasible in human clinical trials.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide. Pemetrexed, a multi-target folate antagonist, has demonstrated efficacy in NSCLC histological subtypes characterized by low thymidylate synthase (TS) expression. Among many other potential targets, histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACi) modulate TS expression, potentially sensitizing to the cytotoxic action of anti-cancer drugs that target the folate pathway, such as pemetrexed. Since high levels of TS have been linked to clinical resistance to pemetrexed in NSCLC, herein we investigated the molecular and functional effects of combined pemetrexed and ITF2357, a pan-HDACi currently in clinical trials as an anti-cancer agent. RESULTS: In NSCLC cell lines, HDAC inhibition by ITF2357 induced histone and tubulin acetylation and downregulated TS expression at the mRNA and protein level. In combination experiments in vitro ITF2357 and pemetrexed demonstrated sequence-dependent synergistic growth-inhibitory effects, with the sequence pemetrexed followed by ITF2357 inducing a strikingly synergistic reduction in cell viability and induction of both apoptosis and autophagy in all cell line models tested, encompassing both adenocarcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma. Conversely, simultaneous administration of both drugs achieved frankly antagonistic effects, while the sequence of ITF2357 followed by pemetrexed had additive to slightly synergistic growth-inhibitory effects only in certain cell lines. Similarly, highly synergistic growth inhibition was also observed in patient-derived lung cancer stem cells (LCSC) exposed to pemetrexed followed by ITF2357. In terms of molecular mechanisms of interaction, the synergistic growth-inhibitory effects observed were only partially related to TS modulation by ITF2357, as genetic silencing of TS expression potentiated growth inhibition by either pemetrexed or ITF2357 and, to a lesser extent, by their sequential combination. Genetic and pharmacological approaches provided an interesting link between the autophagic and apoptotic pathways, and showed that sequential pemetrexed/ITF2357 causes a toxic form of autophagy with consequent activation of a caspase-dependent apoptotic program. In vivo experiments in NSCLC xenografts confirmed that sequential pemetrexed/ITF2357 is feasible and results in increased inhibition of tumor growth and increased mice survival. CONCLUSIONS: Overall, these data provide a strong rationale for the clinical development of sequential schedules employing pemetrexed followed by HDACi in NSCLC.
Project description:Pemetrexed-based chemotherapy represents the standard of care in first-line treatment of advanced malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM). However, there are no established predictors of clinical benefit. Pemetrexed inhibits multiple enzymes involved in pyrimidine and purine synthesis, but the main target is thymidylate synthase (TS). After cellular uptake pemetrexed is converted into more effective polyglutamated forms by folylpoly-?-glutamate synthetase (FPGS). We hypothesized that FPGS and TS protein expressions are associated with clinical outcome after pemetrexed-based chemotherapy.Pretreatment tumor samples from 84 patients with histologically confirmed MPM, who received pemetrexed combined with platinum (79 of 84) or single-agent pemetrexed (5 of 84) as first-line treatment, were retrospectively analyzed. FPGS and TS protein expressions were semiquantitatively assessed by using the Hybrid (H)-scoring system (range, 0-300). H-scores were correlated with radiological response according to modified Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors, progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS).Median H-score of the entire cohort was 230 for FPGS (range, 100-300), and 210 for TS (range, 100-300). High FPGS protein expression was significantly associated with longer PFS (pCOX = 0.0337), better objective tumor response (partial response versus stable disease + progressive disease; pKW = 0.003), and improved disease-control rate (partial response + stable disease versus progressive disease; pKW = 0.0208), but not with OS. In addition, high TS protein expression was associated with progressive disease under pemetrexed-based therapy (p = 0.0383), and shorter OS (pCOX = 0.0071), but no association with PFS was observed.FPGS and TS expressions were associated with clinical response and outcome to pemetrexed-based first-line chemotherapy in MPM. Prospective evaluation of FPGS and TS expressions and their prognostic/predictive power in MPM patients is warranted.
Project description:Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer death worldwide and the therapeutic strategies include surgery, chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs) account for around 85% of cases of lung cancers. Pemetrexed is an antifolate agent that is currently used as the second line chemotherapy drug in the treatment of advanced NSCLC patients with a response rate of 20-40%. The search for any combination therapy to improve the efficacy of pemetrexed is required. The existence of cancer stem cells (CSCs) is considered as the main reason for drug resistance of cancers. In this study, we first found that pemetrexed-resistant NSCLC cells derived from A549 cells displayed higher CSC activity in comparison to the parental cells. The expression of CSC related proteins, such as BMI1 or CD44, and the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) signature was elevated in pemetrexed-resistant NSCLC cells. We next discovered that the overexpression of BMI1 in A549 cells caused the pemetrexed resistance and inhibition of BMI1 by a small molecule inhibitor, PTC-209, or transducing of BMI1-specific shRNAs suppressed cell growth and the expression of thymidylate synthase (TS) in pemetrexed-resistant A549 cells. We further identified that BMI1 positively regulated SP1 expression and treatment of mithramycin A, a SP1 inhibitor, inhibited cell proliferation, as well as TS expression, of pemetrexed-resistant A549 cells. Furthermore, overexpression of BMI1 in A549 cells also caused the activation of EMT in and the enhancement of CSC activity. Finally, we demonstrated that pretreatment of PTC-209 in mice bearing pemetrexed-resistant A549 tumors sensitized them to pemetrexed treatment and the expression of Ki-67, BMI1, and SP1 expression in tumor tissues was observed to be reduced. In conclusion, BMI1 expression level mediates pemetrexed sensitivity of NSCLC cells and the inhibition of BMI1 will be an effective strategy in NSCLC patients when pemetrexed resistance has developed.
Project description:The aim of this study was to evaluate the association between thymidylate synthase (TS), methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR) and reduced folate carrier (SLC19A1) gene polymorphisms and the treatment efficacy of pemetrexed-based chemotherapy in advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Advanced NSCLC patients received pemetrexed and cisplatin every three weeks. Polymorphisms in the TS, MTHFR and SLC19A1 genes were detected in peripheral blood samples using DNA sequencing and Taqman PCR. An analysis of gene polymorphisms was performed with respect to the progression-free survival (PFS), response rate (RR) and overall survival (OS) of patients treated with pemetrexed. The median PFS times for patients with the TS 2R/2R, 2R/3C or 3C/3C genotypes were significantly longer than those of patients with the 2R/3G, 3C/3G or 3G/3G genotypes (P=0.036). Patients with the SLC19A1 CC genotype had a significantly longer median OS compared with individuals with the homozygous and heterozygous genotypes (12.2 vs. 8.9 and 7.3 months, respectively; P=0.022). The PFS and OS did not differ for the three genotypes of MTHFR assessed. The RR was higher in patients with the TS 2R/2R, 2R/3C or 3C/3C genotypes than in the other groups (P=0.044). The polymorphisms of the 5'-UTR of the TS gene and exon 6 (2522) C/T of the SLC19A1 gene predict the survival of advanced NSCLC patients treated with pemetrexed. However, a large scale clinical trial is required to validate these findings.
Project description:Although it has been suggested that a high level of thymidylate synthase (TYMS) gene expression in malignant tumors is related to reduced sensitivity to the antifolate drug pemetrexed, no direct evidence for such an association has been demonstrated in routine clinical samples from patients treated with the drug. The purpose of this study was to quantitatively assess the impact of TYMS gene expression in tumor cells as a predictor of the efficacy of pemetrexed therapy in patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) treated at our institution.Sixty-two NSCLC patients were included in this study: 16 patients received platins-pemetrexed as first-line NSCLC, and 46 pemetrexed in monotherapy as second- or subsequent-line treatment. Total mRNA was isolated and the expression of TYMS was analyzed by RT-qPCR. TYMS levels were calibrated against expression in normal lung tissue.TYMS overexpression was detected in 61 % of patients and low expression in 39 %. The response rate for patients with low TYMS expression was 0.29 compared with 0.03 in patients with overexpression (P = 0.025). A significant benefit was observed in patients with low expression both in time to progression (average TTP = 56 vs. 23 months, P = 0.001) and in overall survival (average OS = 60 vs. 25 months, P = 0.002).TYMS overexpression in tumor cells correlated with a reduced response to pemetrexed-containing chemotherapy and might be used as a predictive biomarker in advanced NSCLC patients.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To evaluate the efficacy and safety of pemetrexed, carboplatin and bevacizumab (PCB) followed by maintenance therapy with pemetrexed and bevacizumab (PB) in chemotherapy-naïve patients with stage IV non-squamous non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) through the influence of thymidylate synthase (TS) protein and mRNA expression on several outcomes. The primary endpoints were the overall response rate (ORR), progression-free survival (PFS) and overall survival (OS). METHODS:A cohort of 144 patients were administered pemetrexed (500 mg/m2), carboplatin (AUC, 5.0 mg/ml/min) and bevacizumab (7.5 mg/kg) intravenously every three weeks for up to four cycles. Maintenance PB was administered until disease progression or unacceptable toxicity. RESULTS:One hundred forty-four Colombian patients with a median follow-up of 13.8 months and a median number of 6 maintenance cycles (range, 1-32) were assessed. The ORR among the patients was 66% (95% CI, 47% to 79%). The median PFS and (OS) rates were 7.9 months (95% CI, 5.9-10.0 months) and 21.4 months (95% CI, 18.3 to 24.4 months), respectively. We documented grade 3/4 hematologic toxicities, including anemia (14%), neutropenia (8%), and thrombocytopenia (16%). The identified grade 3/4 non-hematologic toxicities were proteinuria (2%), venous thrombosis (4%), fatigue (11%), infection (6%), nephrotoxicity (2%), and sensory neuropathy (4%). No grade >3 hemorrhagic events or hypertension cases were reported. OS was significantly higher in patients with the lowest TS mRNA levels [median, 29.6 months (95% CI, 26.2-32.9)] compared with those in patients with higher levels [median, 9.3 months (95% CI, 6.6-12.0); p = 0.0001]. TS expression (mRNA levels or protein expression) did not influence the treatment response. CONCLUSION:Overall, PCB followed by maintenance pemetrexed and bevacizumab was effective and tolerable in Hispanic patients with non-squamous NSCLC. This regimen was associated with acceptable toxicity and prolonged OS, particularly in patients with low TS expression. We found a role for Ki67 and TS expression as prognostic factors.