Project description:ONC201 was initially identified as an inducer of cell death through the tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) pathway. The compound is currently being tested in patients with hematological malignancies and solid tumors, including those of the breast. We investigated strategies to convert the response of breast cancers to ONC201 from anti-proliferative to apoptotic. ONC201 treatment upregulates TRAIL and primes TRAIL-resistant non-triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells to undergo cell death through the extrinsic pathway. Remarkably, the addition of exogenous recombinant human TRAIL (rhTRAIL) converts the response of TRAIL-resistant non-TNBC cells to ONC201 from anti-proliferative to apoptotic in a death receptor 5 (DR5)-dependent manner in vitro. Importantly, normal fibroblasts do not undergo apoptosis following rhTRAIL plus ONC201. In vivo, MDA-MB-361 tumor growth rate is significantly reduced following treatment with a combination of ONC201 and rhTRAIL as compared to control tumors. Natural killer (NK) cells which use TRAIL to kill DR5-expressing cancer cells, exhibit greater cytotoxicity against ONC201-treated breast cancer cells compared to controls. rhTRAIL also converts the response of cells from other tumor types to ONC201 from anti-proliferative to apoptotic. A monoclonal DR5-agonistic antibody converts the response of non-TNBC cells to ONC201 from anti-proliferative to apoptotic. Our findings describe a novel therapeutic strategy that potently converts the response of a cancer cell to ONC201 from anti-proliferative to apoptotic. This approach may be clinically relevant and has potential to induce tumor regression of patient tumors with relative resistance to ONC201 monotherapy.
Project description:ONC201 was previously identified as a first-in-class antitumor agent and small-molecule inducer of the TRAIL (tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand) gene that induces apoptosis in cancer cells. ONC201 has a safety profile and is currently in phase II clinical trials for the treatment of various malignancies. In the current study, we examine the effect of ONC201 on triple-negative breast cancer cells (TNBC), a subtype of breast cancer that is sensitive to TRAIL. We find that ONC201 inhibits the growth of TNBC cells including TNBC cells that have developed acquired TRAIL resistance. However, TNBC cells that have developed acquired ONC201 resistance are cross-resistant to TRAIL. Mechanistically, ONC201 triggers an integrated stress response (ISR) involving the activation of the transcription factor ATF4. Knockdown of ATF4 impairs ONC201-induced apoptosis of TNBC cells. Importantly, the activation of ATF4 is compromised in ONC201-resistant TNBC cells. Thus, our results indicate that ONC201 induces an ISR to cause TNBC cell death and suggest that TNBC patients may benefit from ONC201-based therapies.
Project description:Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) selectively targets cancer cells. The present preclinical study investigated the anti-cancer efficiency of ONC201, a first-in-class small molecule TRAIL inducer, in lung cancer cells. We showed that ONC201 was cytotoxic and anti-proliferative in both established (A549 and H460 lines) and primary human lung cancer cells. It was yet non-cytotoxic to normal lung epithelial cells. Further, ONC201 induced exogenous apoptosis activation in lung cancer cells, which was evidenced by TRAIL/death receptor-5 (DR5) induction and caspase-8 activation. The caspase-8 inhibitor or TRAIL/DR5 siRNA knockdown alleviated ONC201's cytotoxicity against lung cancer cells. Molecularly, ONC201 in-activated Akt-S6K1 and Erk signalings in lung cancer cells, causing Foxo3a nuclear translocation. For the in vivo studies, intraperitoneal injection of ONC201 at well-tolerated doses significantly inhibited xenografted A549 tumor growth in severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice. Further, ONC201 administration induced TRAIL/DR5 expression, yet inactivated Akt-S6K1 and Erk in tumor tissues. These results of the study demonstrates the potent anti-lung cancer activity by ONC201.
Project description:ONC201 (also called TIC10) is a small molecule that inactivates the cell proliferation- and cell survival-promoting kinases Akt and ERK and induces cell death through the proapoptotic protein TRAIL. ONC201 is currently in early-phase clinical testing for various malignancies. We found through gene expression and protein analyses that ONC201 triggered an increase in TRAIL abundance and cell death through an integrated stress response (ISR) involving the transcription factor ATF4, the transactivator CHOP, and the TRAIL receptor DR5. ATF4 was not activated in ONC201-resistant cancer cells, and in ONC201-sensitive cells, knockdown of ATF4 or CHOP partially abrogated ONC201-induced cytotoxicity and diminished the ONC201-stimulated increase in DR5 abundance. The activation of ATF4 in response to ONC201 required the kinases HRI and PKR, which phosphorylate and activate the translation initiation factor eIF2?. ONC201 rapidly triggered cell cycle arrest, which was associated with decreased abundance of cyclin D1, decreased activity of the kinase complex mTORC1, and dephosphorylation of the retinoblastoma (Rb) protein. The abundance of X-linked inhibitor of apoptosis protein (XIAP) negatively correlated with the extent of apoptosis in response to ONC201. These effects of ONC201 were independent of whether cancer cells had normal or mutant p53. Thus, ONC201 induces cell death through the coordinated induction of TRAIL by an ISR pathway.
Project description:ONC201 is a first-in-class, orally active antitumor agent that upregulates cytotoxic TRAIL pathway signaling in cancer cells. ONC201 has demonstrated safety and preliminary efficacy in a first-in-human trial in which patients were dosed every 3 weeks. We hypothesized that dose intensification of ONC201 may impact antitumor efficacy. We discovered that ONC201 exerts dose- and schedule-dependent effects on tumor progression and cell death signaling in vivo. With dose intensification, we note a potent anti-metastasis effect and inhibition of cancer cell migration and invasion. Our preclinical results prompted a change in ONC201 dosing in all open clinical trials. We observed accumulation of activated NK+ and CD3+ cells within ONC201-treated tumors and that NK cell depletion inhibits ONC201 efficacy in vivo, including against TRAIL/ONC201-resistant Bax-/- tumors. Immunocompetent NCR1-GFP mice, in which NK cells express GFP, demonstrated GFP+ NK cell infiltration of syngeneic MC38 colorectal tumors. Activation of primary human NK cells and increased degranulation occurred in response to ONC201. Coculture experiments identified a role for TRAIL in human NK-mediated antitumor cytotoxicity. Preclinical results indicate the potential utility for ONC201 plus anti-PD-1 therapy. We observed an increase in activated TRAIL-secreting NK cells in the peripheral blood of patients after ONC201 treatment. The results offer what we believe to be a unique pathway of immune stimulation for cancer therapy.
Project description:TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand receptor 2 [TRAIL-R2 or death receptor 5 (DR5)] is expressed at elevated levels in a broad range of solid tumors to mediate apoptotic signals from TRAIL or agonist antibodies. We tested the hypothesis that DR5 DNA vaccination will induce proapoptotic antibody to trigger apoptosis of tumor cells. BALB/c mice were electrovaccinated with DNA-encoding wild-type human DR5 (phDR5) or its derivatives. Resulting immune serum or purified immune IgG induced apoptosis in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cells, which were also TRAIL sensitive. The proapoptotic activity of immune serum at dilutions of 0.5-2% was comparable to that of 1-2 ?g/ml of TRAIL. Apoptotic activity of immune serum was enhanced by antibody crosslinking. Apoptotic cell death induced by anti-DR5 antibody was shown by the cleavage of PARP and caspase-3. In contrast, immune serum had no effect on the proliferation of activated human T cells, which expressed low levels of DR5. In vivo, hDR5 reactive immune serum prevented growth of SUM159 TNBC cells in severe combined immune-deficient mice. DR5-specific IFN-?-secreting T cells were also induced by DNA vaccination. Furthermore, the feasibility to overcome immune tolerance to self DR5 was shown by the induction of mouse DR5-binding antibody after electrovaccination of BALB/c mice with pmDR5ectm-Td1 encoding a fusion protein of mouse DR5 and an immunogenic fragment of tetanus toxin. These findings support DR5 as a promising vaccine target for controlling TNBC and other DR5-positive cancers.
Project description:Self-renewing colorectal cancer stem/progenitor cells (CSC) contribute to tumor maintenance and resistance to therapy. Therapeutic targeting of CSCs could improve treatment response and prolong patient survival. ONC201/TIC10 is a first-in-class antitumor agent that induces TRAIL pathway-mediated cell death in cancer cells without observed toxicity. We have previously described that ONC201/TIC10 exposure leads to transcriptional induction of the TRAIL gene via transcription factor Foxo3a, which is activated by dual inactivation of Akt and ERK. The Akt and ERK pathways serve as important targets in CSCs. Foxo3a is a key mediator of Akt and ERK-mediated CSC regulation. We hypothesized that the potent antitumor effect of ONC201/TIC10 in colorectal cancer involves targeting CSCs and bulk tumor cells. ONC201/TIC10 depletes CD133(+), CD44(+), and Aldefluor(+) cells in vitro and in vivo. TIC10 significantly inhibits colonosphere formation of unsorted and sorted 5-fluorouracil-resistant CSCs. ONC201/TIC10 significantly reduces CSC-initiated xenograft tumor growth in mice and prevents the passage of these tumors. ONC201/TIC10 treatment also decreased xenograft tumor initiation and was superior to 5-fluorouracil treatment. Thus, ONC201/TIC10 inhibits CSC self-renewal in vitro and in vivo. ONC201/TIC10 inhibits Akt and ERK, consequently activating Foxo3a and significantly induces cell surface TRAIL and DR5 expression in both CSCs and non-CSCs. ONC201/TIC10-mediated anti-CSC effect is significantly blocked by the TRAIL sequestering antibody RIK-2. Overexpression of Akt, DR5 knockdown, and Foxo3a knockdown rescues ONC201/TIC10-mediated depletion of CD44(+) cells and colonosphere inhibition. In conclusion, ONC201/TIC10 is a promising agent for colorectal cancer therapy that targets both non-CSCs and CSCs in an Akt-Foxo3a-TRAIL-dependent manner.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) binds to its receptors, TRAIL-receptor 1 (TRAIL-R1) and TRAIL-receptor 2 (TRAIL-R2), leading to apoptosis by activation of caspase-8 and the downstream executioner caspases, caspase-3 and caspase-7 (caspase-3/7). Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) cell lines with a mesenchymal phenotype are sensitive to TRAIL, whereas other breast cancer cell lines are resistant. The underlying mechanisms that control TRAIL sensitivity in breast cancer cells are not well understood. Here, we performed small interfering RNA (siRNA) screens to identify molecular regulators of the TRAIL pathway in breast cancer cells.<h4>Methods</h4>We conducted siRNA screens of the human kinome (691 genes), phosphatome (320 genes), and about 300 additional genes in the mesenchymal TNBC cell line MB231. Forty-eight hours after transfection of siRNA, parallel screens measuring caspase-8 activity, caspase-3/7 activity, or cell viability were conducted in the absence or presence of TRAIL for each siRNA, relative to a negative control siRNA (siNeg). A subset of genes was screened in cell lines representing epithelial TNBC (MB468), HER2-amplified breast cancer (SKBR3), and estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer (T47D). Selected putative negative regulators of the TRAIL pathway were studied by using small-molecule inhibitors.<h4>Results</h4>The primary screens in MB231 identified 150 genes, including 83 kinases, 4 phosphatases, and 63 nonkinases, as potential negative regulators of TRAIL. The identified genes are involved in many critical cell processes, including apoptosis, growth factor-receptor signaling, cell-cycle regulation, transcriptional regulation, and DNA repair. Gene-network analysis identified four genes (PDPK1, IKBKB, SRC, and BCL2L1) that formed key nodes within the interaction network of negative regulators. A secondary screen of a subset of the genes identified in additional cell lines representing different breast cancer subtypes and sensitivities to TRAIL validated and extended these findings. Further, we confirmed that small-molecule inhibition of SRC or BCL2L1, in combination with TRAIL, sensitizes breast cancer cells to TRAIL-induced apoptosis, including cell lines resistant to TRAIL-induced cytotoxicity.<h4>Conclusions</h4>These data identify novel molecular regulators of TRAIL-induced apoptosis in breast cancer cells and suggest strategies for the enhanced application of TRAIL as a therapy for breast cancer.
Project description:Background:Patients diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) have limited treatment options and often suffer from resistance and toxicity due to chemotherapy. We previously found that depleting calcium and integrin-binding protein 1 (CIB1) induces cell death selectively in TNBC cells, while sparing normal cells. Therefore, we asked whether CIB1 depletion further enhances tumor-specific killing when combined with either the commonly used chemotherapeutic, docetaxel, or the cell death-inducing ligand, TRAIL. Methods:We targeted CIB1 by RNA interference in MDA-MB-436, MDA-MB-231, MDA-MB-468, docetaxel-resistant MDA-MB-436 TNBC cells and ME16C normal breast epithelial cells alone or combination with docetaxel or TRAIL. Cell death was quantified via trypan blue exclusion using flow cytometry and cell death mechanisms were analyzed by Western blotting. Cell surface levels of TRAIL receptors were measured by flow cytometry analysis. Results:CIB1 depletion combined with docetaxel significantly enhanced tumor-specific cell death relative to each treatment alone. The enhanced cell death strongly correlated with caspase-8 activation, a hallmark of death receptor-mediated apoptosis. The death receptor TRAIL-R2 was upregulated in response to CIB1 depletion, which sensitized TNBC cells to the ligand TRAIL, resulting in a synergistic increase in cell death. In addition to death receptor-mediated apoptosis, both combination treatments activated a non-apoptotic mechanism, called paraptosis. Interestingly, these combination treatments also induced nearly complete death of docetaxel-resistant MDA-MB-436 cells, again via apoptosis and paraptosis. In contrast, neither combination treatment induced cell death in normal ME16C cells. Conclusion:Novel combinations of CIB1 depletion with docetaxel or TRAIL selectively enhance naive and docetaxel-resistant TNBC cell death while sparing normal cell. Therefore, combination therapies that target CIB1 could prove to be a safe and durable strategy for treatment of TNBC and potentially other cancers.