Targeting primary acute myeloid leukemia with a new CXCR4 antagonist IgG1 antibody (PF-06747143).
ABSTRACT: The chemokine receptor CXCR4 mediates cell anchorage in the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment and is overexpressed in 25-30% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here we have shown that a new CXCR4 receptor antagonist IgG1 antibody (PF-06747143) binds strongly to AML cell lines and to AML primary cells inhibiting their chemotaxis in response to CXCL12. PF-06747143 also induced cytotoxicity in AML cells via Fc-effector function. To characterize the effects of PF-06747143 on leukemia progression, we used two different patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models: Patient 17CXCR4-low and P15CXCR4-high models, characterized by relatively low and high CXCR4 expression, respectively. Weekly administration of PF-06747143 to leukemic mice significantly reduced leukemia development in both models. Secondary transplantation of BM cells from PF-06747143-treated or IgG1 control-treated animals showed that leukemic progenitors were also targeted by PF-06747143. Administration of a single dose of PF-06747143 to PDX models induced rapid malignant cell mobilization into the peripheral blood (PB). These findings support evaluation of this antibody in AML therapy, with particular appeal to patients resistant to chemotherapy and to unfit patients, unable to tolerate intensive chemotherapy.
Project description:The chemokine receptor CXCR4 is highly expressed and associated with poor prognosis in multiple malignancies. Upon engagement by its ligand, CXCL12, CXCR4 triggers intracellular signaling pathways that control trafficking of cells to tissues where the ligand is expressed, such as the bone marrow (BM). In hematologic cancers, CXCR4-driven homing of malignant cells to the BM protective niche is a key mechanism driving disease and therapy resistance. We developed a humanized CXCR4 immunoglobulin G1 (IgG1) antibody (Ab), PF-06747143, which binds to CXCR4 and inhibits CXCL12-mediated signaling pathways, as well as cell migration. In in vivo preclinical studies, PF-06747143 monotherapy rapidly and transiently mobilized cells from the BM into the peripheral blood. In addition, PF-06747143 effectively induced tumor cell death via its Fc constant region-mediated effector function. This Fc-mediated cell killing mechanism not only enhanced antitumor efficacy, but also played a role in reducing the duration of cell mobilization, when compared with an IgG4 version of the Ab, which does not have Fc-effector function. PF-06747143 treatment showed strong antitumor effect in multiple hematologic tumor models including non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL), acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and multiple myeloma (MM). Importantly, PF-06747143 synergized with standard-of-care agents in a chemoresistant AML patient-derived xenograft model and in an MM model. These findings suggest that PF-06747143 is a potential best-in-class anti-CXCR4 antagonist for the treatment of hematologic malignancies, including in the resistant setting. PF-06747143 is currently in phase 1 clinical trial evaluation (registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT02954653).
Project description:The interactions between the cancerous cells of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment have been postulated to be important for resistance to chemotherapy and disease relapse in AML. The chemokine receptor CXC chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) and its ligand, CXC motif ligand 12 (CXCL12), also known as stromal cell-derived factor 1?, are key mediators of this interaction. CXCL12 is produced by the BM microenvironment, binds and activates its cognate receptor CXCR4 on leukemic cells, facilitates leukemia cell trafficking and homing in the BM microenvironment, and keeps leukemic cells in close contact with the stromal cells and extracellular matrix that constitutively generate growth-promoting and anti-apoptotic signals. Indeed, a high level of CXCR4 expression on AML blasts is known to be associated with poor prognosis. Recent preclinical and clinical studies have revealed the safety and potential clinical utility of targeting the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis in AML with different classes of drugs, including small molecules, peptides, and monoclonal antibodies. In this review, we describe recent evidence of targeting these leukemia-stroma interactions, focusing on the CXCL12/CXCR4 axis. Related early phase clinical studies will be also introduced.
Project description:Hypoxia and interactions with bone marrow (BM) stromal cells have emerged as essential components of the leukemic BM microenvironment in promoting leukemia cell survival and chemoresistance. High levels of transforming growth factor beta 1 (TGF?1) produced by BM stromal cells in the BM niche regulate cell proliferation, survival, and apoptosis, depending on the cellular context. Exogenous TGF?1 induced accumulation of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells in a quiescent G0 state, which was further facilitated by the co-culture with BM-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs). In turn, TGF?-neutralizing antibody 1D11 abrogated rhTGF?1 induced cell cycle arrest. Blocking TGF? with 1D11 further enhanced cytarabine (Ara-C)-induced apoptosis of AML cells in hypoxic and in normoxic conditions. Additional constituents of BM niche, the stroma-secreted chemokine CXCL12 and its receptor CXCR4 play crucial roles in cell migration and stroma/leukemia cell interactions. Treatment with 1D11 combined with CXCR4 antagonist plerixafor and Ara-C decreased leukemia burden and prolonged survival in an in vivo leukemia model. These results indicate that blockade of TGF? by 1D11 and abrogation of CXCL12/CXCR4 signaling may enhance the efficacy of chemotherapy against AML cells in the hypoxic BM microenvironment.
Project description:Treatment for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) remains suboptimal and many patients remain refractory or relapse upon standard chemotherapy based on nucleoside analogs plus anthracyclines. The crosstalk between AML cells and the BM stroma is a major mechanism underlying therapy resistance in AML. Lenalidomide and pomalidomide, a new generation immunomodulatory drugs (IMiDs), possess pleiotropic anti-leukemic properties including potent immune-modulating effects and are commonly used in hematological malignances associated with intrinsic dysfunctional BM such as myelodysplastic syndromes and multiple myeloma. Whether IMiDs may improve the efficacy of current standard treatment in AML remains understudied. Here, we have exploited in vitro and in vivo preclinical AML models to analyze whether IMiDs potentiate the efficacy of AraC/Idarubicin-based standard AML chemotherapy by interfering with the BM stroma-mediated chemoresistance. We report that IMiDs do not exert cytotoxic effects on either non-del5q/5q- AML cells nor BM-MSCs, but they enhance the immunomodulatory properties of BM-MSCs. When combined with AraC/Idarubicin, IMiDs fail to circumvent BM stroma-mediated resistance of non-del5q/5q- AML cells in vitro and in vivo but induce robust extramedullary mobilization of AML cells. When administered as a single agent, lenalidomide specifically mobilizes non-del5q/5q- AML cells, but not healthy CD34+ cells, to peripheral blood (PB) through specific downregulation of CXCR4 in AML blasts. Global gene expression profiling supports a migratory/mobilization gene signature in lenalidomide-treated non-del5q/5q- AML blasts but not in CD34+ cells. Collectively, IMiDs mobilize non-del5q/5q- AML blasts to PB through CXCR4 downregulation, but fail to potentiate AraC/Idarubicin activity in preclinical models of non-del5q/5q- AML.
Project description:The CXCR4-SDF-1 axis plays a central role in the trafficking and retention of normal and malignant stem cells in the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment. Here, we used a mouse model of acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) and a small molecule competitive antagonist of CXCR4, AMD3100, to examine the interaction of mouse APL cells with the BM microenvironment. APL cells from a murine cathepsin G-PML-RARalpha knockin mouse were genetically modified with firefly luciferase (APL(luc)) to allow tracking by bioluminescence imaging. Coculture of APL(luc) cells with M2-10B4 stromal cells protected the leukemia cells from chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in vitro. Upon injection into syngeneic recipients, APL(luc) cells rapidly migrated to the BM followed by egress to the spleen then to the peripheral blood with death due to leukostasis by day 15. Administration of AMD3100 to leukemic mice induced a 1.6-fold increase in total leukocytes and a 9-fold increase of circulating APL blast counts, which peak at 3 hours and return to baseline by 12 hours. Treatment of leukemic mice with chemotherapy plus AMD3100 resulted in decreased tumor burden and improved overall survival compared with mice treated with chemotherapy alone. These studies provide a proof-of-principle for directing therapy to the critical tethers that promote AML-niche interactions.
Project description:C-X-C chemokine receptor 4 (CXCR4) is a transmembrane receptor with pivotal roles in cell homing and hematopoiesis. CXCR4 is also involved in survival, proliferation and dissemination of cancer, including acute lymphoblastic and myeloid leukemia (ALL, AML). Relapsed/refractory ALL and AML are frequently resistant to conventional therapy and novel highly active strategies are urgently needed to overcome resistance. Methods: We used patient-derived (PDX) and cell line-based xenograft mouse models of ALL and AML to evaluate the efficacy and toxicity of a CXCR4-targeted endoradiotherapy (ERT) theranostic approach. Results: The positron emission tomography (PET) tracer 68Ga-Pentixafor enabled visualization of CXCR4 positive leukemic burden. In xenografts, CXCR4-directed ERT with 177Lu-Pentixather distributed to leukemia harboring organs and resulted in efficient reduction of leukemia. Despite a substantial in vivo cross-fire effect to the leukemia microenvironment, mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) subjected to ERT were viable and capable of supporting the growth and differentiation of non-targeted normal hematopoietic cells ex vivo. Finally, three patients with refractory AML after first allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (alloSCT) underwent CXCR4-directed ERT resulting in leukemia clearance, second alloSCT, and successful hematopoietic engraftment. Conclusion: Targeting CXCR4 with ERT is feasible and provides a highly efficient means to reduce refractory acute leukemia for subsequent cellular therapies. Prospective clinical trials testing the incorporation of CXCR4 targeting into conditioning regimens for alloSCT are highly warranted.
Project description:The majority of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients have a poor response to conventional chemotherapy. The survival of chemoresistant cells is thought to depend on leukemia-bone marrow (BM) microenvironment interactions, which are not well understood. The CXCL12/CXCR4 axis has been proposed to support AML growth but was not studied at the single AML cell level. We recently showed that T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL) cells are highly motile in the BM; however, the characteristics of AML cell migration within the BM remain undefined. Here, we characterize the in vivo migratory behavior of AML cells and their response to chemotherapy and CXCR4 antagonism, using high-resolution 2-photon and confocal intravital microscopy of mouse calvarium BM and the well-established MLL-AF9-driven AML mouse model. We used the Notch1-driven T-ALL model as a benchmark comparison and AMD3100 for CXCR4 antagonism experiments. We show that AML cells are migratory, and in contrast with T-ALL, chemoresistant AML cells become less motile. Moreover, and in contrast with T-ALL, the in vivo exploratory behavior of expanding and chemoresistant AML cells is unaffected by AMD3100. These results expand our understanding of AML cells-BM microenvironment interactions, highlighting unique traits of leukemia of different lineages.
Project description:SDF-1alpha/CXCR4 signaling plays a key role in leukemia/bone marrow microenvironment interactions. We previously reported that bone marrow-derived stromal cells inhibit chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Here we demonstrate that the CXCR4 inhibitor AMD3465 antagonized stromal-derived factor 1alpha (SDF-1alpha)-induced and stroma-induced chemotaxis and inhibited SDF-1alpha-induced activation of prosurvival signaling pathways in leukemic cells. Further, CXCR4 inhibition partially abrogated the protective effects of stromal cells on chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in AML cells. Fetal liver tyrosine kinase-3 (FLT3) gene mutations activate CXCR4 signaling, and coculture with stromal cells significantly diminished antileukemia effects of FLT3 inhibitors in cells with mutated FLT3. Notably, CXCR4 inhibition increased the sensitivity of FLT3-mutated leukemic cells to the apoptogenic effects of the FLT3 inhibitor sorafenib. In vivo studies demonstrated that AMD3465, alone or in combination with granulocyte colony-stimulating factor, induced mobilization of AML cells and progenitor cells into circulation and enhanced antileukemic effects of chemotherapy and sorafenib, resulting in markedly reduced leukemia burden and prolonged survival of the animals. These findings indicate that SDF-1alpha/CXCR4 interactions contribute to the resistance of leukemic cells to signal transduction inhibitor- and chemotherapy-induced apoptosis in systems mimicking the physiologic microenvironment. Disruption of these interactions with CXCR4 inhibitors represents a novel strategy of sensitizing leukemic cells by targeting their protective bone marrow microenvironment.
Project description:Anti-leukemic effect of BET/BRD4 (BETP) protein inhibition has been largely attributed to transcriptional downregulation of cellular anabolic/anti-apoptotic processes but its effect on bone marrow microenvironment, a sanctuary favoring persistence of leukemia stem/progenitor cells, is unexplored. Sustained degradation of BETP with small-molecule BET proteolysis-targeting chimera (PROTAC), ARV-825, resulted in marked downregulation of surface CXCR4 and CD44, key proteins in leukemia-microenvironment interaction, in AML cells. Abrogation of surface CXCR4 expression impaired SDF-1? directed migration and was mediated through transcriptional down-regulation of PIM1 kinase that in turn phosphorylates CXCR4 and facilitates its surface localization. Down-regulation of CD44/CD44v8-10 impaired cystine uptake, lowered intracellular reduced glutathione and increased oxidative stress. More importantly, BETP degradation markedly decreased CD34+CD38-CD90-CD45RA+ leukemic stem cell population and alone or in combination with Cytarabine, prolonged survival in mouse model of human leukemia including AML-PDX. Gene expression profiling and single cell proteomics confirmed down regulation of the gene signatures associated with 'stemness' in AML and Wnt/?-catenin, Myc pathways. Hence, BETP degradation by ARV-825 simultaneously targets cell intrinsic signaling, stromal interactions and metabolism in AML.
Project description:The interactions between the bone marrow (BM) microenvironment and acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is known to promote survival of AML cells. In this study, we used reverse phase-protein array (RPPA) technology to measure changes in multiple proteins induced by stroma in leukemic cells. We then investigated the potential of an mTOR kinase inhibitor, PP242, to disrupt leukemia/stroma interactions, and examined the effects of PP242 in vivo using a mouse model. Using RPPA, we confirmed that multiple survival signaling pathways, including the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/protein kinase B (AKT)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), were up-regulated in primary AML cells cocultured with stroma. PP242 effectively induced apoptosis in primary samples cultured with or without stroma. Mechanistically, PP242 attenuated the activities of mTORC1 and mTORC2, sequentially inhibited phosphorylated AKT, S6K, and 4EBP1, and concurrently suppressed chemokine receptor CXCR4 expression in primary leukemic cells and in stromal cells cultured alone or cocultured with leukemic cells. In the in vivo leukemia mouse model, PP242 inhibited mTOR signaling in leukemic cells and demonstrated a greater antileukemia effect than rapamycin. Our findings indicate that disrupting mTOR/AKT signaling with a selective mTOR kinase inhibitor can effectively target leukemic cells within the BM microenvironment.