Drosophila Cancer Models Identify Functional Differences between Ret Fusions.
ABSTRACT: We generated and compared Drosophila models of RET fusions CCDC6-RET and NCOA4-RET. Both RET fusions directed cells to migrate, delaminate, and undergo EMT, and both resulted in lethality when broadly expressed. In all phenotypes examined, NCOA4-RET was more severe than CCDC6-RET, mirroring their effects on patients. A functional screen against the Drosophila kinome and a library of cancer drugs found that CCDC6-RET and NCOA4-RET acted through different signaling networks and displayed distinct drug sensitivities. Combining data from the kinome and drug screens identified the WEE1 inhibitor AZD1775 plus the multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib as a synergistic drug combination that is specific for NCOA4-RET. Our work emphasizes the importance of identifying and tailoring a patient's treatment to their specific RET fusion isoform and identifies a multi-targeted therapy that may prove effective against tumors containing the NCOA4-RET fusion.
Project description:Rearranged during transfection (RET) fusion-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 1-2% of all NSCLCs. To date, RET fusions that involve at least six fusion partners in NSCLC, such as KIF5B, CCDC6, NCOA4, TRIM33, CLIP1, and ERC1, have been identified. Recent clinical trials for RET fusion-positive NSCLC using vandetanib or cabozantinib demonstrated positive clinical response and considerable differential activities for RET inhibitors among fusion partners. Alectinib, an approved ALK inhibitor, is reported to inhibit KIF5B-RET and CCDC6-RET. However, the activity of alectinib with respect to RET with other fusion partners is unknown. In the present study, we investigated the effects of alectinib on NCOA4-RET fusion-positive tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. Alectinib inhibited the viability of NCOA4-RET-positive EHMES-10 cells, as well as CCDC6-RET-positive LC-2/ad and TPC-1 cells. This was achieved via inhibition of the phosphorylation of RET and induction of apoptosis. Moreover, alectinib suppressed the production of thoracic tumors and pleural effusions in an orthotopic intrathoracic inoculation model of EHMES-10 cells. In vivo imaging of an orthotopically inoculated EHMES-10 cell model also revealed that alectinib could rescue pleural carcinomatosis. These results suggest that alectinib may be a promising RET inhibitor against tumors positive for not only KIF5B-RET and CCDC6-RET, but also NCOA4-RET.
Project description:Genomic studies are revolutionizing clinical oncology, but bridging the lab and the bedside requires the ability to efficiently interrogate rare genetic lesions in unexpected pathological settings using preclinical models. Oncogenes can exhibit intrinsic drug resistance to targeted therapy in different cells of origin, adding complexity to clinical interpretations of genomic findings. Here, we capitalize on the flexibility of engineered cell systems to rapidly profile known multi-kinase inhibitors that harbor rearranged during transfection (RET) kinase activity across multiple RET fusions. Identifying ponatinib as the most potent RET inhibitor tested, we used ponatinib to gauge therapeutic responsiveness in RET fusion-positive patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models. Using a genomics guided outlier approach, we identified 4 RET fusion PDX models with 3 different fusion partners (KIF5B, CCDC6, and NCOA4) in both non-small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer. By comparing ponatinib activity in RET fusion-positive and RET fusion-negative PDX models alongside a standard of care chemotherapeutic agent, we show that RET fusions in colorectal tumors are therapeutically responsive to RET inhibition. Finally, we suggest that coupling engineered cell systems and genomics guided PDX model selection provides a rapid workflow to triage rare genomics findings.
Project description:There is an unmet clinical need for molecularly directed therapies available for metastatic colorectal cancer. Comprehensive genomic profiling has the potential to identify actionable genomic alterations in colorectal cancer. Through comprehensive genomic profiling we prospectively identified 6 RET fusion kinases, including two novel fusions of CCDC6-RET and NCOA4-RET, in metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. RET fusion kinases represent a novel class of oncogenic driver in CRC and occurred at a 0.2% frequency without concurrent driver mutations, including KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA or other fusion tyrosine kinases. Multiple RET kinase inhibitors were cytotoxic to RET fusion kinase positive cancer cells and not RET fusion kinase negative CRC cells. The presence of a RET fusion kinase may identify a subset of metastatic CRC patients with a high response rate to RET kinase inhibition. This is the first characterization of RET fusions in CRC patients and highlights the therapeutic significance of prospective comprehensive genomic profiling in advanced CRC.
Project description:Fusions involving the oncogenic gene RET have been observed in thyroid and lung cancers. Here we report RET gene alterations, including amplification, missense mutations, known fusions, novel fusions, and rearrangements in breast cancer. Their frequency, oncogenic potential, and actionability in breast cancer are described. Two out of eight RET fusions (NCOA4-RET and a novel RASGEF1A-RET fusion) and RET amplification were functionally characterized and shown to activate RET kinase and drive signaling through MAPK and PI3K pathways. These fusions and RET amplification can induce transformation of non-tumorigenic cells, support xenograft tumor formation, and render sensitivity to RET inhibition. An index case of metastatic breast cancer progressing on HER2-targeted therapy was found to have the NCOA4-RET fusion. Subsequent treatment with the RET inhibitor cabozantinib led to a rapid clinical and radiographic response. RET alterations, identified by genomic profiling, are promising therapeutic targets and are present in a subset of breast cancers.
Project description:We present a cohort of 41 patients with osimertinib resistance biopsies, including 2 with an acquired CCDC6-RET fusion. Although RET fusions have been identified in resistant EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), their role in acquired resistance to EGFR inhibitors is not well described. To assess the biological implications of RET fusions in an EGFR-mutant cancer, we expressed CCDC6-RET in PC9 (EGFR del19) and MGH134 (EGFR L858R/T790M) cells and found that CCDC6-RET was sufficient to confer resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). The selective RET inhibitors BLU-667 and cabozantinib resensitized CCDC6-RET-expressing cells to EGFR inhibition. Finally, we treated 2 patients with EGFR-mutant NSCLC and RET-mediated resistance with osimertinib and BLU-667. The combination was well tolerated and led to rapid radiographic response in both patients. This study provides proof of concept that RET fusions can mediate acquired resistance to EGFR TKIs and that combined EGFR and RET inhibition with osimertinib/BLU-667 may be a well-tolerated and effective treatment strategy for such patients. SIGNIFICANCE: The role of RET fusions in resistant EGFR-mutant cancers is unknown. We report that RET fusions mediate resistance to EGFR inhibitors and demonstrate that this bypass track can be effectively targeted with a selective RET inhibitor (BLU-667) in the clinic.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1494.
Project description:Recently, rearranged during transfection (RET) fusions have been identified in approximately 1% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). To know the prevalence of RET fusion genes in Korean NSCLCs, we examined the RET fusion genes in 156 surgically resected NSCLCs using a reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Two KIF5B-RET fusions and one CCDC6-RET fusion were identified. All three patients were females and never smokers with adenocarcinomas. RET fusion genes were mutually exclusive from EGFR, KRAS mutations and EML4-ALK fusion. RET fusion genes occur 1.9% (3 of 156) of surgically treated NSCLC patients in Koreans.
Project description:A major breakthrough in the classification of soft tissue tumors has been the recent identification of NTRK-fusion related neoplasms which are amenable to highly effective targeted therapies. Despite these therapeutic opportunities, diagnostic challenges have emerged in recognizing tumors characterized by protein kinase fusions, as they are associated with a wide morphologic spectrum, variable risk of malignancy and a rather nonspecific immunoprofile. As such, NTRK-related fusions may occur in infantile fibrosarcoma, lipofibromatosis-like neural tumors (LPF-NTs), tumors resembling malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors, etc. Triggered by an index case resembling LPF-NT but harboring RET gene rearrangement, we investigated our files for cases showing RET gene abnormalities to establish their clinicopathologic features. Tumors were tested with a combination of targeted RNA sequencing and fluorescence in situ hybridization methods. Six cases with RET gene rearrangements were identified, all except 1 occurred in children, including 4 infants. Their morphologic spectrum was quite diverse, but closely reproduced the phenotype of NTRK-fusion-positive tumors, including LPF-NTs (n=3), infantile fibrosarcoma-like tumor (n=2) and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumor-like (n=1). Three cases showed coexpression of S100 and CD34, whereas the remaining 3 had a nonspecific immunoprofile. The tumors ranged morphologically and clinically from benign to highly malignant. None of the LPF-NT cases recurred, whereas 2 patients with malignant histology had a highly aggressive course with distant metastases to lung and other viscera. By targeted RNA sequencing these tumors harbored RET fusions with an identical break in exon 12, which retains the tyrosine kinase domain in the fusion oncoprotein and involving various gene partners (CLIP2, CCDC6, SPECC1L, MYH10, and NCOA4). Our results suggest that RET fusion-positive neoplasms share a similar phenotypic spectrum with the NTRK-positive tumors, displaying either fibroblastic or neural-like differentiation, and spanning a wide spectrum of clinical behavior. These findings open new avenues for targeted therapy with RET inhibitors currently available in clinical trials.
Project description:Papillary thyroid carcinoma (PTC) is most common among all thyroid cancers. Multiple genomic alterations occur in PTC, and gene rearrangements are one of them. Here we screened 14 tumors for novel fusion transcripts by RNA-Seq. Two samples harboring RET/PTC1 and RET/PTC3 rearrangements were positive controls whereas the remaining ones were negative regarding the common PTC alterations. We used Sanger sequencing to validate potential fusions. We detected 2 novel potentially oncogenic transcript fusions: TG-FGFR1 and TRIM33-NTRK1. We detected 4 novel fusion transcripts of unknown significance accompanying the TRIM33-NTRK1 fusion: ZSWIM5-TP53BP2, TAF4B-WDR1, ABI2-MTA3, and ARID1B-PSMA1. Apart from confirming the presence of RET/PTC1 and RET/PTC3 in positive control samples, we also detected known oncogenic fusion transcripts in remaining samples: TFG-NTRK1, ETV6-NTRK3, MKRN1-BRAF, EML4-ALK, and novel isoform of CCDC6-RET.
Project description:Oncogenic fusion events have been identified in a broad range of tumors. Among them, RET rearrangements represent distinct and potentially druggable targets that are recurrently found in lung adenocarcinomas. We provide further evidence that current anti-RET drugs may not be potent enough to induce durable responses in such tumors. We report that potent inhibitors, such as AD80 or ponatinib, that stably bind in the DFG-out conformation of RET may overcome these limitations and selectively kill RET-rearranged tumors. Using chemical genomics in conjunction with phosphoproteomic analyses in RET-rearranged cells, we identify the CCDC6-RETI788N mutation and drug-induced mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway reactivation as possible mechanisms by which tumors may escape the activity of RET inhibitors. Our data provide mechanistic insight into the druggability of RET kinase fusions that may be of help for the development of effective therapies targeting such tumors.