Glutaminase inhibitor CB-839 synergizes with carfilzomib in resistant multiple myeloma cells.
ABSTRACT: Curative responses in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM) are limited by the emergence of therapeutic resistance. To address this problem, we set out to identify druggable mechanisms that convey resistance to proteasome inhibitors (PIs; e.g., bortezomib), which are cornerstone agents in the treatment of MM. In isogenic pairs of PI sensitive and resistant cells, we observed stark differences in cellular bioenergetics between the divergent phenotypes. PI resistant cells exhibited increased mitochondrial respiration driven by glutamine as the principle fuel source. To target glutamine-induced respiration in PI resistant cells, we utilized the glutaminase-1 inhibitor, CB-839. CB-839 inhibited mitochondrial respiration and was more cytotoxic in PI resistant cells as a single agent. Furthermore, we found that CB-839 synergistically enhanced the activity of multiple PIs with the most dramatic synergy being observed with carfilzomib (Crflz), which was confirmed in a panel of genetically diverse PI sensitive and resistant MM cells. Mechanistically, CB-839 enhanced Crflz-induced ER stress and apoptosis, characterized by a robust induction of ATF4 and CHOP and the activation of caspases. Our findings suggest that the acquisition of PI resistance involves adaptations in cellular bioenergetics, supporting the combination of CB-839 with Crflz for the treatment of refractory MM.
Project description:Triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) lack progesterone and estrogen receptors and do not have amplified human epidermal growth factor receptor 2, the main therapeutic targets for managing breast cancer. TNBCs have an altered metabolism, including an increased Warburg effect and glutamine dependence, making the glutaminase inhibitor CB-839 therapeutically promising for this tumor type. Accordingly, CB-839 is currently in phase I/II clinical trials. However, not all TNBCs respond to CB-839 treatment, and the tumor resistance mechanism is not yet fully understood. Here we classified cell lines as CB-839-sensitive or -resistant according to their growth responses to CB-839. Compared with sensitive cells, resistant cells were less glutaminolytic and, upon CB-839 treatment, exhibited a smaller decrease in ATP content and less mitochondrial fragmentation, an indicator of poor mitochondrial health. Transcriptional analyses revealed that the expression levels of genes linked to lipid metabolism were altered between sensitive and resistant cells and between breast cancer tissues (available from The Cancer Genome Atlas project) with low versus high glutaminase (GLS) gene expression. Of note, CB-839-resistant TNBC cells had increased carnitine palmitoyltransferase 2 (CPT2) protein and CPT1 activity levels. In agreement, CB-839-resistant TNBC cells mobilized more fatty acids into mitochondria for oxidation, which responded to AMP-activated protein kinase and acetyl-CoA carboxylase signaling. Moreover, chemical inhibition of both glutaminase and CPT1 decreased cell proliferation and migration of CB-839-resistant cells compared with single inhibition of each enzyme. We propose that dual targeting of glutaminase and CPT1 activities may have therapeutic relevance for managing CB-839-resistant tumors.
Project description:INTRODUCTION:Glutaminase inhibitors target cancer cells by blocking the conversion of glutamine to glutamate, thereby potentially interfering with anaplerosis and synthesis of amino acids and glutathione. The drug CB-839 has shown promising effects in preclinical experiments and is currently undergoing clinical trials in several human malignancies, including triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). However, response to glutaminase inhibitors is variable and there is a need for identification of predictive response biomarkers. The aim of this study was to determine how glutamine is utilized in two patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of breast cancer representing luminal-like/ER+ (MAS98.06) and basal-like/triple-negative (MAS98.12) breast cancer and to explore the metabolic effects of CB-839 treatment. EXPERIMENTAL:MAS98.06 and MAS98.12 PDX mice received CB-839 (200?mg/kg) or drug vehicle two times daily p.o. for up to 28?days (n?=?5 per group), and the effect on tumor growth was evaluated. Expression of 60 genes and seven glutaminolysis key enzymes were determined using gene expression microarray analysis and immunohistochemistry (IHC), respectively, in untreated tumors. Uptake and conversion of glutamine were determined in the PDX models using HR MAS MRS after i.v. infusion of [5-13C] glutamine when the models had received CB-839 (200?mg/kg) or vehicle for 2 days (n?=?5 per group). RESULTS:Tumor growth measurements showed that CB-839 significantly inhibited tumor growth in MAS98.06 tumors, but not in MAS98.12 tumors. Gene expression and IHC analysis indicated a higher proline synthesis from glutamine in untreated MAS98.06 tumors. This was confirmed by HR MAS MRS of untreated tumors demonstrating that MAS98.06 used glutamine to produce proline, glutamate, and alanine, and MAS98.12 to produce glutamate and lactate. In both models, treatment with CB-839 resulted in accumulation of glutamine. In addition, CB-839 caused depletion of alanine, proline, and glutamate ([1-13C] glutamate) in the MAS98.06 model. CONCLUSION:Our findings indicate that TNBCs may not be universally sensitive to glutaminase inhibitors. The major difference in the metabolic fate of glutamine between responding MAS98.06 xenografts and non-responding MAS98.12 xenografts is the utilization of glutamine for production of proline. We therefore suggest that addiction to proline synthesis from glutamine is associated with response to CB-839 in breast cancer. The effect of glutaminase inhibition in two breast cancer patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models. 13C HR MAS MRS analysis of tumor tissue from CB-839-treated and untreated models receiving 13C-labeled glutamine ([5-13C] Gln) shows that the glutaminase inhibitor CB-839 is causing an accumulation of glutamine (arrow up) in two PDX models representing luminal-like breast cancer (MAS98.06) and basal-like breast cancer (MAS98.12). In MAS98.06 tumors, CB-839 is in addition causing depletion of proline ([5-13C] Pro), alanine ([1-13C] Ala), and glutamate ([1-13C] Glu), which could explain why CB-839 causes tumor growth inhibition in MAS98.06 tumors, but not in MAS98.12 tumors.
Project description:The dependency of cancer cells on glutamine may be exploited therapeutically as a new strategy for treating cancers that lack druggable driver genes. Here we found that human liver cancer was dependent on extracellular glutamine. However, targeting glutamine addiction using the glutaminase inhibitor CB-839 as monotherapy had a very limited anticancer effect, even against the most glutamine addicted human liver cancer cells. Using a chemical library, we identified V-9302, a novel inhibitor of glutamine transporter ASCT2, as sensitizing glutamine dependent (GD) cells to CB-839 treatment. Mechanically, a combination of CB-839 and V-9302 depleted glutathione and induced reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in apoptosis of GD cells. Moreover, this combination also showed tumor inhibition in HCC xenograft mouse models in vivo. Our findings indicate that dual inhibition of glutamine metabolism by targeting both glutaminase and glutamine transporter ASCT2 represents a potential novel treatment strategy for glutamine addicted liver cancers.
Project description:Cancer cells exhibit increased use of nutrients, including glucose and glutamine, to support the bioenergetic and biosynthetic demands of proliferation. We tested the small-molecule inhibitor of glutaminase CB-839 in combination with erlotinib on epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) as a therapeutic strategy to simultaneously impair cancer glucose and glutamine utilization and thereby suppress tumor growth. Here, we show that CB-839 cooperates with erlotinib to drive energetic stress and activate the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) pathway in EGFR (del19) lung tumors. Tumor cells undergo metabolic crisis and cell death, resulting in rapid tumor regression in vivo in mouse NSCLC xenografts. Consistently, positron emission tomography (PET) imaging with 18F-fluoro-2-deoxyglucose (18F-FDG) and 11C-glutamine (11C-Gln) of xenografts indicated reduced glucose and glutamine uptake in tumors following treatment with CB-839 + erlotinib. Therefore, PET imaging with 18F-FDG and 11C-Gln tracers can be used to non-invasively measure metabolic response to CB-839 and erlotinib combination therapy.
Project description:Altered glycolytic flux in cancer cells (the "Warburg effect") causes their proliferation to rely upon elevated glutamine metabolism ("glutamine addiction"). This requirement is met by the overexpression of glutaminase C (GAC), which catalyzes the first step in glutamine metabolism and therefore represents a potential therapeutic target. The small molecule CB-839 was reported to be more potent than other allosteric GAC inhibitors, including the parent compound bis-2-(5-phenylacetamido-1,2,4-thiadiazol-2-yl)ethyl (BPTES), and is in clinical trials. Recently, we described the synthesis of BPTES analogs having distinct saturated heterocyclic cores as a replacement for the flexible chain moiety, with improved microsomal stability relative to CB-839 and BPTES. Here, we show that one of these new compounds, UPGL00004, like CB-839, more potently inhibits the enzymatic activity of GAC, compared with BPTES. We also compare the abilities of UPGL00004, CB-839, and BPTES to directly bind to recombinant GAC and demonstrate that UPGL00004 has a similar binding affinity as CB-839 for GAC. We also show that UPGL00004 potently inhibits the growth of triple-negative breast cancer cells, as well as tumor growth when combined with the anti-vascular endothelial growth factor antibody bevacizumab. Finally, we compare the X-ray crystal structures for UPGL00004 and CB-839 bound to GAC, verifying that UPGL00004 occupies the same binding site as CB-839 or BPTES and that all three inhibitors regulate the enzymatic activity of GAC via a similar allosteric mechanism. These results provide insights regarding the potency of these inhibitors that will be useful in designing novel small-molecules that target a key enzyme in cancer cell metabolism.
Project description:Cancer cells employ glutaminolysis to provide a source of intermediates for their upregulated biosynthetic needs. Glutaminase, which catalyzes the conversion of glutamine to glutamate, is gaining increasing attention as a potential drug target. Small-molecule inhibitors such as BPTES and CB-839, which target the allosteric site of glutaminase with high specificity, demonstrate immense promise as anti-tumor drugs. Here, we report the study of a new BPTES analog, N,N'-(5,5'-(trans-cyclohexane-1,3-diyl)bis(1,3,4-tiadiazole-5,2-diyl))bis(2-phenylacetamide) (trans-CBTBP), and compared its inhibitory effect against that of CB-839 and BPTES. We show that CB-839 has a 30- and 50-fold lower IC50 than trans-CBTBP and BPTES, respectively. To explore the structural basis for the differences in their inhibitory efficacy, we solved the complex structures of cKGA with 1S, 3S-CBTBP and CB-839. We found that CB-839 produces a greater degree of interaction with cKGA than 1S, 3S-CBTBP or BPTES. The results of this study will facilitate the rational design of new KGA inhibitors to better treat glutamine-addicted cancers.
Project description:Tuberous sclerosis is caused by mutations in the TSC1 or TSC2 gene and characterized by development of tumors in multiple organs including the kidneys. TSC-associated tumors exhibit somatic loss of the second allele of the TSC genes, leading to aberrant activation of the mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling pathway. Activation of mTOR complex 1 (mTORC1) causes addiction to glucose and glutamine in Tsc1-/-or Tsc2-/- mouse embryonic fibroblasts (MEFs). Blocking of glutamine anaplerosis in combination with glycolytic inhibition causes significant cell death in Tsc2-/- but not Tsc2+/+ MEFs. In this study, we tested efficacy of dual inhibition of glycolysis with 3-BrPA and glutaminolysis with CB-839 for renal tumors in Tsc2+/- mice. Following 2 months of treatment of Tsc2+/- mice from the age of 12 months, combination of 3-BrPA and CB-839 significantly reduced overall size and cellular areas of all renal lesions (cystic/papillary adenomas and solid carcinomas), but neither alone did. Combination of 3-BrPA and CB-839 inhibited mTORC1 and the proliferation of tumor cells but did not increase apoptosis. However, combination of 3-BrPA and CB-839 was not as efficacious as rapamycin alone or rapamycin in combination with either 3-BrPA or CB-839 for renal lesions of Tsc2+/- mice. Consistently, rapamycin alone or rapamycin in combination with either 3-BrPA or CB-839 had stronger inhibitory effects on mTORC1 and proliferation of tumor cells than combination of 3-BrPA and CB-839. We conclude that combination of 3-BRPA and CB-839 may not offer a better therapeutic strategy than rapamycin for TSC-associated tumors.
Project description:Background:Metabolism of glutamine by glutaminase 1 (GLS1) plays a key role in tumor cell proliferation via the generation of ATP and intermediates required for macromolecular synthesis. We hypothesized that glutamine metabolism also plays a role in proliferation of autosomal-dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD) cells and that inhibiting GLS1 could slow cyst growth in animal models of ADPKD. Methods:Primary normal human kidney and ADPKD human cyst-lining epithelial cells were cultured in the presence or absence of two pharmacologic inhibitors of GLS1, bis-2-(5-phenylacetamido-1,2,4-thiadiazol-2-yl)ethyl sulfide 3 (BPTES) and CB-839, and the effect on proliferation, cyst growth in collagen and activation of downstream signaling pathways were assessed. We then determined if inhibiting GLS1 in vivo with CB-839 in the Aqp2-Cre; Pkd1fl/fl and Pkhd1-Cre; Pkd1fl/fl mouse models of ADPKD slowed cyst growth. Results:We found that an isoform of GLS1 (GLS1-GAC) is upregulated in cyst-lining epithelia in human ADPKD kidneys and in mouse models of ADPKD. Both BPTES and CB-839 blocked forskolin-induced cyst formation in vitro. Inhibiting GLS1 in vivo with CB-839 led to variable outcomes in two mouse models of ADPKD. CB-839 slowed cyst growth in Aqp2-Cre; Pkd1fl/fl mice, but not in Pkhd1-Cre; Pkd1fl/fl mice. While CB-839 inhibited mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) and MEK activation in Aqp2-Cre; Pkd1fl/fl, it did not in Pkhd1-Cre; Pkd1fl/fl mice. Conclusion:These findings provide support that alteration in glutamine metabolism may play a role in cyst growth. However, testing in other models of PKD and identification of the compensatory metabolic changes that bypass GLS1 inhibition will be critical to validate GLS1 as a drug target either alone or when combined with inhibitors of other metabolic pathways.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Glutamine serves as an important nutrient with many cancer types displaying glutamine dependence. Following cellular uptake glutamine is converted to glutamate in a reaction catalysed by mitochondrial glutaminase. This glutamate has many uses, including acting as an anaplerotic substrate (via alpha-ketoglutarate) to replenish TCA cycle intermediates. CB-839 is a potent, selective, orally bioavailable inhibitor of glutaminase that has activity in Triple receptor-Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) cell lines and evidence of efficacy in advanced TNBC patients. METHODS:A panel of eleven breast cancer cell lines was used to investigate the anti-proliferative effects of the glutaminase inhibitors CB-839 and BPTES in different types of culture medium, with or without additional pyruvate supplementation. The abundance of the TCA cycle intermediate fumarate was quantified as a measure if TCA cycle anaplerosis. Pyruvate secretion by TNBC cultures was then assessed with or without AZD3965, a monocarboxylate transporter 1 (MCT1) inhibitor. Finally, two dimensional (2D) monolayer and three dimensional (3D) spheroid assays were used to compare the effect of microenvironmental growth conditions on CB-839 activity. RESULTS:The anti-proliferative activity of CB-839 in a panel of breast cancer cell lines was similar to published reports, but with a major caveat; growth inhibition by CB-839 was strongly attenuated in culture medium containing pyruvate. This pyruvate-dependent attenuation was also observed with a related glutaminase inhibitor, BPTES. Studies demonstrated that exogenous pyruvate acted as an anaplerotic substrate preventing the decrease of fumarate in CB-839-treated conditions. Furthermore, endogenously produced pyruvate secreted by TNBC cell lines was able to act in a paracrine manner to significantly decrease the sensitivity of recipient cells to glutaminase inhibition. Suppression of pyruvate secretion using the MCT1 inhibitor AZD3965, antagonised this paracrine effect and increased CB-839 activity. Finally, CB-839 activity was significantly compromised in 3D compared with 2D TNBC culture models, suggesting that 3D microenvironmental features impair glutaminase inhibitor responsiveness. CONCLUSION:This study highlights the potential influence that both circulating and tumour-derived pyruvate can have on glutaminase inhibitor efficacy. Furthermore, it highlights the benefits of 3D spheroid cultures to model the features of the tumour microenvironment and improve the in vitro investigation of cancer metabolism-targeted therapeutics.
Project description:Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive hematopoietic disease characterized by glutamine-dependent metabolism. A novel glutaminase (GLS) inhibitor, CB-839, is currently under evaluation for treatment of hematopoietic malignancies and solid tumors. Our purpose was to measure cellular changes in AML associated with CB-839 treatment and to test the ability of hyperpolarized pyruvate for interrogating these changes to OCI-AML3 cells. Our results show that treatment with CB-839 interfered with the citric acid cycle, reduced the NADH/NAD+ ratio and ATP levels, reduced cell proliferation and viability, and reduced the basal and maximal respiratory capacities [oxygen consumption rate (OCR)]. We observed a reduction of the conversion of hyperpolarized pyruvate to lactate in cell lines and in a mouse AML model after CB-839 treatment. Our in vitro and in vivo results support the hypothesis that, in AML, glutamine is utilized to generate reducing equivalents (NADH, FADH2) through the citric acid cycle and that reduction in redox state by GLS inhibition decreases the rate of pyruvate to lactate conversion catalyzed by lactate dehydrogenase. We propose hyperpolarized pyruvate/lactate measurement as a method for direct monitoring of metabolic changes occurring in AML patients receiving CB-839. With further optimization, this method may provide a noninvasive imaging tool to assess the early efficacy of therapeutic intervention with GLS inhibitors.