Novel ALK inhibitor AZD3463 inhibits neuroblastoma growth by overcoming crizotinib resistance and inducing apoptosis.
ABSTRACT: 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: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 anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene is overexpressed, mutated or amplified in most neuroblastoma (NB), a pediatric neural crest-derived embryonal tumor. The two most frequent mutations, ALK-F1174L and ALK-R1275Q, contribute to NB tumorigenesis in mouse models, and cooperate with MYCN in the oncogenic process. However, the precise role of activating ALK mutations or ALK-wt overexpression in NB tumor initiation needs further clarification. Human ALK-wt, ALK-F1174L, or ALK-R1275Q were stably expressed in murine neural crest progenitor cells (NCPC), MONC-1 or JoMa1, immortalized with v-Myc or Tamoxifen-inducible Myc-ERT, respectively. While orthotopic implantations of MONC- 1 parental cells in nude mice generated various tumor types, such as NB, osteo/ chondrosarcoma, and undifferentiated tumors, due to v-Myc oncogenic activity, MONC-1-ALK-F1174L cells only produced undifferentiated tumors. Furthermore, our data represent the first demonstration of ALK-wt transforming capacity, as ALK-wt expression in JoMa1 cells, likewise ALK-F1174L, or ALK-R1275Q, in absence of exogenous Myc-ERT activity, was sufficient to induce the formation of aggressive and undifferentiated neural crest cell-derived tumors, but not to drive NB development. Interestingly, JoMa1-ALK tumors and their derived cell lines upregulated Myc endogenous expression, resulting from ALK activation, and both ALK and Myc activities were necessary to confer tumorigenic properties on tumor-derived JoMa1 cells in vitro.
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: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: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: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 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:Neuroblastoma (NB) is an embryonal malignancy derived from the abnormal differentiation of the sympathetic nervous system. The Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK) gene is frequently altered in NB, through copy number alterations and activating mutations, and represents a predisposition in NB-genesis when mutated. Our previously published data suggested that ALK activating mutations may impair the differentiation potential of neural crest (NC) progenitor cells. Here, we demonstrated that the expression of the endogenous ALK gene starts at E10.5 in the developing sympathetic ganglia (SG). To decipher the impact of deregulated ALK signaling during embryogenesis on the formation and differentiation of sympathetic neuroblasts, Sox10-Cre;LSL-ALK-F1174L embryos were produced to restrict the expression of the human ALK-F1174L transgene to migrating NC cells (NCCs). First, ALK-F1174L mediated an embryonic lethality at mid-gestation and an enlargement of SG with a disorganized architecture in Sox10-Cre;LSL-ALK-F1174L embryos at E10.5 and E11.5. Second, early sympathetic differentiation was severely impaired in Sox10-Cre;LSL-ALK-F1174L embryos. Indeed, their SG displayed a marked increase in the proportion of NCCs and a decrease of sympathetic neuroblasts at both embryonic stages. Third, neuronal and noradrenergic differentiations were blocked in Sox10-Cre;LSL-ALK-F1174L SG, as a reduced proportion of Phox2b+ sympathoblasts expressed ?III-tubulin and almost none were Tyrosine Hydroxylase (TH) positive. Finally, at E10.5, ALK-F1174L mediated an important increase in the proliferation of Phox2b+ progenitors, affecting the transient cell cycle exit observed in normal SG at this embryonic stage. Altogether, we report for the first time that the expression of the human ALK-F1174L mutation in NCCs during embryonic development profoundly disturbs early sympathetic progenitor differentiation, in addition to increasing their proliferation, both mechanisms being potential crucial events in NB oncogenesis.
Project description:The crizotinib-resistant ALK(F1174L) mutation arises de novo in neuroblastoma (NB) and is acquired in ALK translocation-driven cancers, lending impetus to the development of novel anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitors with different modes of action. The diaminopyrimidine TAE684 and its derivative ceritinib (LDK378), which are structurally distinct from crizotinib, are active against NB cells expressing ALK(F1174L). Here we demonstrate acquired resistance to TAE684 and LDK378 in ALK(F1174L)-driven human NB cells that is linked to overexpression and activation of the AXL tyrosine kinase and epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT). AXL phosphorylation conferred TAE684 resistance to NB cells through upregulated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling. Inhibition of AXL partly rescued TAE684 resistance, resensitizing these cells to this compound. AXL activation in resistant cells was mediated through increased expression of the active form of its ligand, GAS6, that also served to stabilize the AXL protein. Although ectopic expression of AXL and TWIST2 individually in TAE684-sensitive parental cells led to the elevated expression of mesenchymal markers and invasive capacity, only AXL overexpression induced resistance to TAE684 as well. TAE684-resistant cells showed greater sensitivity to HSP90 inhibition than did their parental counterparts, with downregulation of AXL and AXL-mediated ERK signaling. Our studies indicate that aberrant AXL signaling and development of an EMT phenotype underlie resistance of ALK(F1174L)-driven NB cells to TAE684 and its derivatives. We suggest that the combination of ALK and AXL or HSP90 inhibitors be considered to delay the emergence of such resistance.
Project description:EML4-ALK fusions define a subset of lung cancers that can be effectively treated with anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitors. Unfortunately, the duration of response is heterogeneous and acquired resistance limits their ultimate efficacy. Thus, a better understanding of resistance mechanisms will help to enhance tumor control in EML4-ALK-positive tumors.By applying orthogonal functional mutagenesis screening approaches, we screened for mutations inducing resistance to the aminopyridine PF02341066 (crizotinib) and/or the diaminopyrimidine TAE684.Here, we show that the resistance mutation, L1196M, as well as other crizotinib resistance mutations (F1174L and G1269S), are highly sensitive to the structurally unrelated ALK inhibitor TAE684. In addition, we identified two novel EML4-ALK resistance mutations (L1198P and D1203N), which unlike previously reported mutations, induced resistance to both ALK inhibitors. An independent resistance screen in ALK-mutant neuroblastoma cells yielded the same L1198P resistance mutation but defined two additional mutations conferring resistance to TAE684 but not to PF02341066.Our results show that different ALK resistance mutations as well as different ALK inhibitors impact the therapeutic efficacy in the setting of EML4-ALK fusions and ALK mutations.