Project description:Frequent <i>GNAQ</i> and <i>GNA11</i> mutations in uveal melanoma hyperactivate the MEK-ERK signaling pathway, leading to aberrant regulation of cyclin-dependent kinases (CDK) and cell-cycle progression. MEK inhibitors (MEKi) alone show poor efficacy in uveal melanoma, raising the question of whether downstream targets can be vertically inhibited to provide long-term benefit. CDK4/6 selective inhibitors are FDA-approved in patients with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer in combination with ER antagonists/aromatase inhibitors. We determined the effects of MEKi plus CDK4/6 inhibitors (CDK4/6i) in uveal melanoma. <i>In vitro</i>, palbociclib, a CDK4/6i, enhanced the effects of MEKi via downregulation of cell-cycle proteins. In contrast, <i>in vivo</i> CDK4/6 inhibition alone led to cytostasis and was as effective as MEKi plus CDK4/6i treatment at delaying tumor growth. RNA sequencing revealed upregulation of the oxidative phosphorylation (OxPhos) pathway in both MEKi-resistant tumors and CDK4/6i-tolerant tumors. Furthermore, oxygen consumption rate was increased following MEKi + CDK4/6i treatment. IACS-010759, an OxPhos inhibitor, decreased uveal melanoma cell survival in combination with MEKi + CDK4/6i. These data highlight adaptive upregulation of OxPhos in response to MEKi + CDK4/6i treatment in uveal melanoma and suggest that suppression of this metabolic state may improve the efficacy of MEKi plus CDK4/6i combinations.
Project description:Concurrent MEK and CDK4/6 inhibition shows promise in clinical trials for patients with advanced-stage mutant <i>BRAF</i>/<i>NRAS</i> solid tumors. The effects of CDK4/6 inhibitor (CDK4/6i) in combination with BRAF/MEK-targeting agents on the tumor immune microenvironment are unclear, especially in melanoma, for which immune checkpoint inhibitors are effective in approximately 50% of patients. Here, we show that patients progressing on CDK4/6i/MEK pathway inhibitor combinations exhibit T-cell exclusion. We found that MEK and CDK4/6 targeting was more effective at delaying regrowth of mutant <i>BRAF</i> melanoma in immunocompetent versus immune-deficient mice. Although MEK inhibitor (MEKi) treatment increased tumor immunogenicity and intratumoral recruitment of CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells, the main effect of CDK4/6i alone and in combination with MEKi was increased expression of CD137L, a T-cell costimulatory molecule on immune cells. Depletion of CD8<sup>+</sup> T cells or blockade of the CD137 ligand-receptor interaction reduced time to regrowth of melanomas in the context of treatment with CDK4/6i plus MEKi treatment <i>in vivo</i> Together, our data outline an antitumor immune-based mechanism and show the efficacy of targeting both the MEK pathway and CDK4/6.
Project description:Mutation of the oncogene BRAF is among the most common genetic alterations in melanoma. BRAF inhibitors alone or in combination with MEK inhibitors fail to eradicate the tumor in most patients due to combinations of intrinsic or acquired resistance. Therefore, novel strategies are needed to improve the therapeutic efficacy of BRAF inhibition. We demonstrated that dinaciclib has potent antimelanoma effects by inducing BAK-dependent apoptosis through MCL1 reduction. Contrary to dinaciclib, the inhibitors of BRAF/MEK/CDK4/6 induced apoptosis dominantly through a BAX-dependent mechanism. Although the combination of BRAF and MEK inhibitors did not exhibit additive antimelanoma effects, their combination with dinaciclib synergistically inhibited melanoma growth both in vitro and in vivo Collectively, our present findings suggest dinaciclib to be an effective complementary drug of BAX-dependent antimelanoma drugs by targeting BAK-mediated apoptosis, and other such rational drug combinations can be determined by identifying complementary drugs activating either BAK or BAX.
Project description:According to clinical trials, BRAF kinase inhibitors in combination with MEK kinase inhibitors are among the most promising chemotherapy regimens for the treatment of advanced BRAF-mutant melanoma, though the rate of BRAF mutation gene-bearing cutaneous melanoma is limited, especially in the Asian population. In addition, drug resistance sometimes abrogates the persistent efficacy of combined therapy with BRAF and MEK inhibitors. Therefore, recent pre-clinical study-based clinical trials have attempted to identify optimal drugs (e.g., immune checkpoint inhibitors or histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors) that improve the anti-melanoma effects of BRAF and MEK inhibitors. In addition, the development of novel protocols to avoid resistance of BRAF inhibitors is another purpose of recent pre-clinical and early clinical trials. This review focuses on pre-clinical studies and early to phase III clinical trials to discuss the development of combined therapy based on BRAF inhibitors for BRAF-mutant advanced melanoma, as well as mechanisms of resistance to BRAF inhibitors.
Project description:Prior to 2011, only 2 systemic treatments were approved for the treatment of melanoma and these had limited efficacy. In the past 4 years, 6 novel agents have received FDA approval. Herein, we will focus on 4 recently published NEJM papers reporting the results of clinical trials, comprising 4 agents targeting the MAPK pathway: the BRAF inhibitors vemurafenib and dabrafenib, and the MEK inhibitors trametinib and cobimetenib. These have been developed in parallel with a class of immunologic mediators often referred to as "immune checkpoint inhibitors." These recent studies represent a marked acceleration of progress in the treatment of metastatic melanoma. While it was hoped that combining BRAF and MEK inhibitors would significantly mitigate drug resistance, such combinations have yielded only modestly better results than monotherapy. However, these combinations were successful in reducing the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas and keratocanthomas. Therefore, combination therapies are clearly warranted. Thus far there are only limited data addressing the value of combinations of immunotherapeutic agents: a phase 1 trial of concurrent nivolumab plus ipilimumab suggested enhanced activity that may not depend on BRAF mutation status. Despite the attention and publicity given to the progress achieved in the therapy of melanoma, the majority of patients with metastatic disease still have a poor prognosis. Even novel combination regiments of BRAF and MEK inhibitors achieve complete response in only 13% of patients and a median PFS of 11.4 months in all patients. Better therapies remain desperately needed, especially for the 30-40% of patients with wild-type BRAF, for whom BRAF/MAPK inhibition offers no benefit. In the latter benefit is expected from emerging immunotherapies either singly or in combinations. The extent to which immunotherapies will add to regimens targeting BRAF remains to be determined.
Project description:Though the efficacy of MEK inhibitors is being investigated in KRAS-mutant colorectal cancers (CRC), early clinical trials of MEK inhibitor monotherapy did not reveal significant antitumor activity. Resistance to MEK inhibitor monotherapy developed through a variety of mechanisms converging in ERK reactivation. Since ERK increases cyclin D expression and increases entry into the cell cycle, we hypothesized that the combination of MEK inhibitors and CDK4/6 inhibitors would have synergistic antitumor activity and cause tumor regression in vivo.The combination of MEK and CDK4/6 inhibitors synergistically inhibited cancer cell growth in vitro and caused tumor regression in vivo in cell line and patient-derived xenograft models. Combination therapy markedly decreased levels of phosphorylated ribosomal protein S6 both in vitro and in vivo and decreased Ki67 staining in vivo.We performed in vitro proliferation, colony formation, apoptosis, and senescence assays, and Western blots, on a panel of 11 KRAS mutant CRC cell lines treated with the MEK inhibitor MEK162, the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib, or the combination. We also treated 4 KRAS mutant CRC cell line and patient-derived xenografts with the MEK inhibitor trametinib, the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib, or the combination, and performed immunohistochemical and reverse phase protein array analysis.Combined inhibition of both MEK and CDK4/6 is effective in preclinical models of KRAS mutant CRC and justifies a planned phase II clinical trial in patients with refractory KRAS-mutant CRC.Efficacy of the combination of MEK and CDK4/6 inhibitors in vitro and in vivo in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer models.
Project description:Approximately 50% of melanomas harbor an activating BRAF mutation. Combined BRAF and MEK inhibitors such as dabrafenib and trametinib, vemurafenib and cobimetinib, and encorafenib and binimetinib are US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved to treat patients with BRAF V600-mutated advanced melanoma. Both genetic and epigenetic alterations play a major role in resistance to BRAF inhibitors by reactivation of the MAPK and/or the PI3K-Akt pathways. The role of BRAF inhibitors in modulating the immunomicroenvironment and perhaps enhancing the efficacy of checkpoint inhibitors is gaining interest. This article provides a comprehensive review of mechanisms of resistance to BRAF and MEK inhibitors in melanoma and summarizes landmark trials that led to the FDA approval of BRAF and MEK inhibitors in metastatic melanoma.
Project description:The characterization of the MAPK signaling pathway has led to the development of multiple promising targeted therapy options for a subset of patients with metastatic melanoma. The combination of BRAF and MEK inhibitors represents an FDA-approved standard of care in patients with metastatic and resected BRAF-mutated melanoma. There are currently three FDA-approved BRAF/MEK inhibitor combinations for the treatment of patients with BRAF-mutated melanoma. Although there have been significant advances in the field of targeted therapy, further exploration of new targets within the MAPK pathway will strengthen therapeutic options for patients. Important clinical and translational research focuses on mechanisms of resistance, predictive biomarkers, and challenging patient populations such as those with brain metastases or resected melanoma.
Project description:Development of selective inhibitors of BRAF has improved the survival of patients with BRAF-mutant melanoma. The progression-free survival after treatment with a BRAF inhibitor is modest, however, and BRAF inhibitors induce cutaneous toxicity, likely due to paradoxical activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway. Combining selective BRAF and MEK inhibition, such as the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib and the MEK inhibitor trametinib, has been shown to improve the response rate and progression-free survival in patients with advanced melanoma while significantly alleviating the paradoxical activation of mitogen-activated protein kinase. This combination treatment results in a reduction in skin toxicity relative to that seen with a BRAF inhibitor alone; however, addition of the MEK inhibitor adds other toxicities, such as pyrexia and gastrointestinal or ocular toxicity. While combined BRAF-MEK inhibition appears primed to become a standard molecular approach for BRAF-mutant melanoma, the utility of the combination has to be considered in the rapidly changing landscape of immunotherapeutics, such as immune checkpoint blockade using anti-cytotoxic T lymphocyte antigen-4 and anti-programmed death-1/programmed death-L1 antibodies. Here we review the development of the dabrafenib plus trametinib combination, the characteristics of each drug and the combination, and the role of this combination in the management of patients with BRAF-mutant melanoma.