Project description:Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a highly metastatic cancer among the breast cancer subgroups. A thorny issue for clinical therapy of TNBC is lack of an efficient targeted therapeutic strategy. We previously created a novel sesquiterpene lactone analog (named DETD-35) derived from plant deoxyelephantopin (DET) which exhibits potent effects against human TNBC MDA-MB-231 tumor growth in a xenograft mouse model. Here we studied the mechanisms of both DET and DETD-35 against MDA-MB-231 cells. DETD-35 (3-fold decreased in IC50) exhibited better anti-TNBC cell activity than DET as observed through induction of reactive oxygen species production (within 2 h treatment) and damage to the ER structures, resulting in ER-derived cytoplasmic vacuolation and ubiquitinated protein accumulation in the treated cells. Intriguingly, the effects of both compounds were blockaded by pretreatment with ROS scavengers, N-acetylcysteine and reduced glutathione, and protein synthesis inhibitor, cycloheximide. Further, knockdown of MEK upstream regulator RAF1 and autophagosomal marker LC3, and co-treatment with JNK or ERK1/2 inhibitor resulted in the most significant attenuation of DETD-35-induced morphological and molecular or biochemical changes in cancer cells, while the inhibitory effect of DET was not influenced by MAPK inhibitor treatment. Therefore, DETD-35 exerted both ER stress-mediated paraptosis and apoptosis, which may explain its superior activity to DET against TNBC cells. Although the chemotherapeutic drug paclitaxel induced vacuole-like structures in MDA-MB-231 cells, no paraptotic cell death features were detected. This study provides a strategy for combating TNBC through sesquiterpene lactone analogs by induction of oxidative and ER stresses that cause paraptosis-like cell death.
Project description:Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is associated with high grade, metastatic phenotype, younger patient age, and poor prognosis. The discovery of an effective anti-TNBC agent has been a challenge in oncology. In this study, fifty-eight ester derivatives (DETDs) with a novel sesquiterpene dilactone skeleton were organically synthesized from a bioactive natural product deoxyelephantopin (DET). Among them, DETD-35 showed potent antiproliferative activities against a panel of breast cancer cell lines including TNBC cell line MDA-MB-231, without inhibiting normal mammary cells M10. DETD-35 exhibited a better effect than parental DET on inhibiting migration, invasion, and motility of MDA-MB-231 cells in a concentration-dependent manner. Comparative study of DETD-35, DET and chemotherapeutic drug paclitaxel (PTX) showed that PTX mainly caused a typical time-dependent G2/M cell-cycle arrest, while DETD-35 or DET treatment induced cell apoptosis. In vivo efficacy of DETD-35 was evaluated using a lung metastatic MDA-MB-231 xenograft mouse model. DETD-35 significantly suppressed metastatic pulmonary foci information along with the expression level of VEGF and COX-2 in SCID mice. DETD-35 also showed a synergistic antitumor effect with PTX in vitro and in vivo. This study suggests that the novel compound DETD-35 may have a potential to be further developed into a therapeutic or adjuvant agent for chemotherapy against metastatic TNBC.
Project description:A novel plant sesquiterpene lactone derivative, DET derivative (DETD)-35, originating from parental deoxyelephantopin (DET) was previously observed to effectively suppress human triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) MDA-MB-231 cell activity and tumor growth in mice. In this study, the mechanisms underlying the activity of DETD-35 were elucidated. DET and DETD-35 induced reactive oxygen species (ROS) which caused structural damage and dysfunction of mitochondria and increased cytosolic calcium level, subsequently evoking exosome release from the cancer cells. Intriguingly, exosomes induced by both compounds had an atypical function. Cancer cell-derived exosomes commonly show metastatic potential, but upon DET/DETD-35 treatment exosomes showed anti-proliferative activity against MDA-MB-231 cells. Quantitative proteome analysis of TNBC cell-secreted exosomes showed that DET and DETD-35 attenuated the expression of proteins related to cell migration, cell adhesion, and angiogenesis. Furthermore, several exosomal proteins participating in biological mechanisms such as oxidative stress and decrease of transmembrane potential of mitochondria were found deregulated by treatment with either compound. Pretreatment with ROS scavenger, N-acetylcysteine, blockaded DET- or DETD-35-induced oxidative stress and calcium dependent exosome release mechanisms, and also reverted DET- or DETD-35-induced reprogramming exosomal protein expression profiles resulting in attenuation of exosomal toxicity against TNBC cell proliferation. In summary, this study shows that a plant-derived sesquiterpene lactone DET and its analog DETD-35 inhibitory TNBC cell activities through oxidative stress-induced cancer cell releasing exosomes in tandem with alteration of exosomal protein composition and functions. The findings of this study suggest that DETD-35 may be suitable for further development into an anti-TNBC drug.
Project description:The BRAF inhibitor, vemurafenib, has recently been approved for the treatment of metastatic melanoma in patients harboring BRAFV600 mutations. Currently, dual BRAF and MEK inhibition are ongoing in clinical trials with the goal of overcoming the acquired resistance that has unfortunately developed in some vemurafenib patients. FDG-PET measures of metabolic activity are increasingly employed as a pharmacodynamic biomarker for guiding single-agent or combination therapies by gauging initial drug response and monitoring disease progression. However, since tumors are inherently heterogeneous, investigating the effects of BRAF and MEK inhibition on FDG uptake in a panel of different melanomas could help interpret imaging outcomes.18 F-FDG uptake was measured in vitro in cells with wild-type and mutant (V600) BRAF, and in melanoma cells with an acquired resistance to vemurafenib. We treated the cells with vemurafenib alone or in combination with MEK inhibitor GDC-0973. PET imaging was used in mice to measure FDG uptake in A375 melanoma xenografts and in A375 R1, a vemurafenib-resistant derivative. Histological and biochemical studies of glucose transporters, the MAPK and glycolytic pathways were also undertaken.We demonstrate that vemurafenib is equally effective at reducing FDG uptake in cell lines harboring either heterozygous or homozygous BRAFV600 but ineffective in cells with acquired resistance or having WT BRAF status. However, combination with GDC-0973 results in a highly significant increase of efficacy and inhibition of FDG uptake across all twenty lines. Drug-induced changes in FDG uptake were associated with altered levels of membrane GLUT-1, and cell lines harboring RAS mutations displayed enhanced FDG uptake upon exposure to vemurafenib. Interestingly, we found that vemurafenib treatment in mice bearing drug-resistant A375 xenografts also induced increased FDG tumor uptake, accompanied by increases in Hif-1α, Sp1 and Ksr protein levels. Vemurafenib and GDC-0973 combination efficacy was associated with decreased levels of hexokinase II, c-RAF, Ksr and p-MEK protein.We have demonstrated that 18 F-FDG-PET imaging reflects vemurafenib and GDC-0973 action across a wide range of metastatic melanomas. A delayed post-treatment increase in tumor FDG uptake should be considered carefully as it may well be an indication of acquired drug resistance.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01271803.
Project description:Acquired clinical resistance to vemurafenib, a selective BRAF(V600E) inhibitor, arises frequently after short-term chemotherapy. Because inhibitions of targets in the RAF-MEK-ERK pathway result in G(0)-G(1) cell-cycle arrest, vemurafenib-resistant cancer cells are expected to escape this cell-cycle arrest and progress to the subsequent G(2)-M phase. We hypothesized that a combined therapy using vemurafenib with a G(2)-M phase blocking agent will trap resistant cells and overcome vemurafenib resistance. To test this hypothesis, we first determined the combination index (CI) values of our novel tubulin inhibitor ABI-274 and vemurafenib on parental human A375 and MDA-MB-435 melanoma cell lines to be 0.32 and 0.1, respectively, suggesting strong synergy for the combination. We then developed an A375RF21 subline with significant acquired resistance to vemurafenib and confirmed the strong synergistic effect. Next, we studied the potential mechanisms of overcoming vemurafenib resistance. Flow cytometry confirmed that the combination of ABI-274 and vemurafenib synergistically arrested cells in the G(1)-G(2)-M phase, and significantly increased apoptosis in both parental A375 and the vemurafenib-resistant A375RF21 cells. Western blot analysis revealed that the combination treatment effectively reduced the level of phosphorylated and total AKT, activated the apoptosis cascade, and increased cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved PARP, but had no significant influence on the level of extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) phosphorylation. Finally, in vivo coadministration of vemurafenib with ABI-274 showed strong synergistic efficacy in the vemurafenib-resistant xenograft model in nude mice. Overall, these results offer a rational combination strategy to significantly enhance the therapeutic benefit in patients with melanoma who inevitably become resistant to current vemurafenib therapy.
Project description:Variable clinical responses, tumor heterogeneity, and drug resistance reduce long-term survival outcomes for metastatic melanoma patients. To guide and accelerate drug development, we characterized tumor responses for five melanoma patient derived xenograft models treated with Vemurafenib. Three BRAF(V600E) models showed acquired drug resistance, one BRAF(V600E) model had a complete and durable response, and a BRAF(V600V) model was expectedly unresponsive. In progressing tumors, a variety of resistance mechanisms to BRAF inhibition were uncovered, including mutant BRAF alternative splicing, NRAS mutation, COT (MAP3K8) overexpression, and increased mutant BRAF gene amplification and copy number. The resistance mechanisms among the patient derived xenograft models were similar to the resistance pathways identified in clinical specimens from patients progressing on BRAF inhibitor therapy. In addition, there was both inter- and intra-patient heterogeneity in resistance mechanisms, accompanied by heterogeneous pERK expression immunostaining profiles. MEK monotherapy of Vemurafenib-resistant tumors caused toxicity and acquired drug resistance. However, tumors were eradicated when Vemurafenib was combined the MEK inhibitor. The diversity of drug responses among the xenograft models; the distinct mechanisms of resistance; and the ability to overcome resistance by the addition of a MEK inhibitor provide a scheduling rationale for clinical trials of next-generation drug combinations.
Project description:Emergence of clinical resistance to BRAF inhibitors, alone or in combination with MEK inhibitors, limits clinical responses in melanoma. Inhibiting HSP90 offers an approach to simultaneously interfere with multiple resistance mechanisms. Using the HSP90 inhibitor AT13387, which is currently in clinical trials, we investigated the potential of HSP90 inhibition to overcome or delay the emergence of resistance to these kinase inhibitors in melanoma models. In vitro, treating vemurafenib-sensitive cells (A375 or SK-MEL-28) with a combination of AT13387 and vemurafenib prevented colony growth under conditions in which vemurafenib treatment alone generated resistant colonies. In vivo, when AT13387 was combined with vemurafenib in a SK-MEL-28, vemurafenib-sensitive model, no regrowth of tumors was observed over 5 months, although 2 of 7 tumors in the vemurafenib monotherapy group relapsed in this time. Together, these data suggest that the combination of these agents can delay the emergence of resistance. Cell lines with acquired vemurafenib resistance, derived from these models (A375R and SK-MEL-28R) were also sensitive to HSP90 inhibitor treatment; key clients were depleted, apoptosis was induced, and growth in 3D culture was inhibited. Similar effects were observed in cell lines with acquired resistance to both BRAF and MEK inhibitors (SK-MEL-28RR, WM164RR, and 1205LuRR). These data suggest that treatment with an HSP90 inhibitor, such as AT13387, is a potential approach for combating resistance to BRAF and MEK inhibition in melanoma. Moreover, frontline combination of these agents with an HSP90 inhibitor could delay the emergence of resistance, providing a strong rationale for clinical investigation of such combinations in BRAF-mutated melanoma.
Project description:Purpose: Seek for differential gene expression in vemurafenib-resistant A375 tumors vs. untreated controls to provide a rationale for resistance mechanism Methods: mRNA profiles of vemurafenib-resistant A375 tumors and untreated control tumors were generated by transcriptome sequencing of A375 melanoma bearing mice. Since our xenograft samples contain a mixture of human and mouse RNAs we mapped RNASeq reads against a hybrid human/mouse genome. We than removed reads of potential mouse origin by taking only reads that map uniquely to human chromosomes. On average 23% of reads were removed as potential mouse reads. We than took the remaining reads (on average 77% per sample) to determine the gene expression levels for each sample. Normalized expression levels of 5 resistant samples were compared to 4 untreated control samples to detect differnetially regulated genes which may contribute to vemurfenib resistance Results: Expression levels of several genes were consistently altered in all resistant samples. Expression of e.g. genes encoding SPRY2, SPRY4, DUSP6, CCND1, PIK3R3, FGFR1, EPHA4, MCL1, and IGF1R was down-regulated, whereas expression of PDGFC, VEGFC, ABCB9 and KITLG was increased. Conclusions: Our study reports several differentially expressed genes which may contribute to vemurafenib resistance in A375 tumor bearing mice RNA sequencing of genes expressed in A375 tumors bearing mice treated with vemurafenib until in vivo resistance appeared vs. untreated A375 tumors
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:Oncogenic B-RAF V600E mutation is found in 50% of melanomas and drives MEK/ERK pathway and cancer progression. Recently, a selective B-RAF inhibitor, vemurafenib (PLX4032), received clinical approval for treatment of melanoma with B-RAF V600E mutation. However, patients on vemurafenib eventually develop resistance to the drug and demonstrate tumor progression within an average of 7 months. Recent reports indicated that multiple complex and context-dependent mechanisms may confer resistance to B-RAF inhibition. In the study described herein, we generated B-RAF V600E melanoma cell lines of acquired-resistance to vemurafenib, and investigated the underlying mechanism(s) of resistance. Biochemical analysis revealed that MEK/ERK reactivation through Ras is the key resistance mechanism in these cells. Further analysis of total gene expression by microarray confirmed a significant increase of Ras and RTK gene signatures in the vemurafenib-resistant cells. Mechanistically, we found that the enhanced activation of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) is linked to Ras and MAPK activation, therefore conferring vemurafenib resistance. Pharmacological or genetic inhibition of the FGFR3/Ras axis restored the sensitivity of vemurafenib-resistant cells to vemurafenib. Additionally, activation of FGFR3 sufficiently reactivated Ras/MAPK signaling and conferred resistance to vemurafenib in the parental B-RAF V600E melanoma cells. Finally, we demonstrated that vemurafenib-resistant cells maintain their addiction to the MAPK pathway, and inhibition of MEK or pan-RAF activities is an effective therapeutic strategy to overcome acquired-resistance to vemurafenib. Together, we describe a novel FGFR3/Ras mediated mechanism for acquired-resistance to B-RAF inhibition. Our results have implications for the development of new therapeutic strategies to improve the outcome of patients with B-RAF V600E melanoma.