Heat shock protein 90 inhibitors overcome the resistance to Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 inhibitors in acute myeloid leukemia.
ABSTRACT: Internal tandem duplication (ITD) in Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) is frequently observed in acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Quizartinib, gilteritinib, and midostaurin are inhibitors against FLT3-ITD that have good efficacy for FLT3-ITD-positive AML patients. Long-term administration leads to drug resistance through acquired tyrosine kinase domain (TKD) mutations in FLT3-ITD, such as N676K, F691L, D835V, and Y842C. Here, our screen to detect inhibitors capable of overcoming resistance to FLT3 inhibitors identified heat shock protein (HSP) 90 inhibitors as potential candidates. Although Ba/F3 cells expressing FLT3-ITD with TKD mutations (Ba/F3-ITD+N676K, Ba/F3-ITD+F691L, Ba/F3-ITD+D835V, and Ba/F3-ITD+Y842C) showed various resistance patterns to FLT3 inhibitors compared with Ba/F3-ITD cells that express FLT3-ITD lacking TKD mutations, they were more sensitive to HSP90 inhibitors than Ba/F3 cells. Notably, the Ba/F3-ITD+D835V cells were the most sensitive to HSP90 inhibitors. Treatment with HSP90 inhibitors downregulated FLT3 and its downstream signaling and induced G1 arrest followed by apoptosis in Ba/F3-ITD+N676K, Ba/F3-ITD+F691L, Ba/F3-ITD+Y842C, and especially Ba/F3-ITD+D835V cells at lower concentrations compared with Ba/F3-ITD cells. The downregulation of FLT3-ITD+D835V was caused by rapid proteolysis in autophagy. Similar results were also observed in the quizartinib-resistant MV4-11 cells, QR1 and QR2, which were established by culturing cells in the presence of quizartinib and harbored FLT3-ITD+D835H and FLT3-ITD+D835V, respectively, in a single allele. Interestingly, the efficacies of HSP90 inhibitors in QR cells are reversely correlated with that of quizartib, but not to gilteritinib and midostaurin. Collectively, HSP90 inhibitors are good candidates to overcome drug resistance in AML with various FLT3-ITD TKD mutations.
Project description:FLT3-ITD and FLT3-TKD mutations were observed in approximately 20 and 10% of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cases, respectively. FLT3 inhibitors such as midostaurin, gilteritinib and quizartinib show excellent response rates in patients with FLT3-mutated AML, but its duration of response may not be sufficient yet. The majority of cases gain secondary resistance either by on-target and off-target abnormalities. On-target mutations (i.e., FLT3-TKD) such as D835Y keep the TK domain in its active form, abrogating pharmacodynamics of type II FLT3 inhibitors (e.g., midostaurin and quizartinib). Second generation type I inhibitors such as gilteritinib are consistently active against FLT3-TKD as well as FLT3-ITD. However, a "gatekeeper" mutation F691L shows universal resistance to all currently available FLT3 inhibitors. Off-target abnormalities are consisted with a variety of somatic mutations such as NRAS, AXL and PIM1 that bypass or reinforce FLT3 signaling. Off-target mutations can occur just in the primary FLT3-mutated clone or be gained by the evolution of other clones. A small number of cases show primary resistance by an FL-dependent, FGF2-dependent, and stromal CYP3A4-mediated manner. To overcome these mechanisms, the development of novel agents such as covalently-coupling FLT3 inhibitor FF-10101 and the investigation of combination therapy with different class agents are now ongoing. Along with novel agents, gene sequencing may improve clinical approaches by detecting additional targetable mutations and determining individual patterns of clonal evolution.
Project description:Therapeutic effects of FLT3 inhibitors have been reported in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) with constitutively activating FLT3 mutations, including internal tandem duplication (ITD) and point mutation, which are found in approximately one-third of AML patients. One of the critical issues of treatment with FLT3 inhibitors in FLT3-mutated AML is drug resistance. FLT3 ligand (FL) represents a mechanism of resistance to FLT3 inhibitors, including quizartinib, midostaurin, and sorafenib, in AML cells harboring both wild-type and mutant FLT3 (FLT3 wt/FLT3 mut). Here, we investigated the effect of FL on the efficacy of gilteritinib, a FLT3 inhibitor, in AML-derived cells in vitro and in mice. In contrast to other FLT3 inhibitors, FL stimulation had little effect on growth inhibition or apoptosis induction by gilteritinib. The antitumor activity of gilteritinib was also comparable between xenograft mouse models injected with FL-expressing and mock MOLM-13 cells. In the FLT3 signaling analyses, gilteritinib inhibited FLT3wt and FLT3-ITD to a similar degree in HEK293 and Ba/F3 cells, and similarly suppressed FLT3 downstream signaling molecules (including ERK1/2 and STAT5) in both the presence and absence of FL in MOLM-13 cells. Co-crystal structure analysis showed that gilteritinib bound to the ATP-binding pocket of FLT3. These results suggest that gilteritinib has therapeutic potential in FLT3-mutated AML patients with FL overexpression.
Project description:Gilteritinib is the first FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) approved as monotherapy in acute myeloid leukemia with FLT3 internal tandem duplication and D835/I836 tyrosine kinase domain (TKD) mutations. Sequencing studies in patients have uncovered less common, noncanonical (NC) mutations in FLT3 and have implicated secondary TKD mutations in FLT3 TKI resistance. We report that gilteritinib is active against FLT3 NC and TKI resistance-causing mutations in vitro. A mutagenesis screen identified FLT3 F691L, Y693C/N, and G697S as mutations that confer moderate resistance to gilteritinib in vitro. Analysis of patients treated with gilteritinib revealed that 2/9 patients with preexisting NC FLT3 mutations responded and that secondary TKD mutations are acquired in a minority (5/31) of patients treated with gilteritinib. Four of 5 patients developed F691L mutations (all treated at <200 mg). These studies suggest that gilteritinib has broad activity against FLT3 mutations and limited vulnerability to resistance-causing FLT3 TKD mutations, particularly when used at higher doses.
Project description:To evaluate the clinical activity of sequential therapy with sorafenib and sunitinib in FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3)-internal tandem duplication (ITD)-positive acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) and monitor the emergence of secondary FLT3 tyrosine kinase domain (TKD) mutations during treatment.Six children with relapsed/refractory AML were treated with sorafenib in combination with clofarabine and cytarabine, followed by single-agent sorafenib if not a candidate for transplantation. Sunitinib was initiated after sorafenib relapse. Bone marrow samples were obtained for assessment of FLT3 TKD mutations by deep amplicon sequencing. The phase of secondary mutations with ITD alleles was assessed by cloning and sequencing of FLT3 exons 14 through 20. Identified mutations were modeled in Ba/F3 cells, and the effect of kinase inhibitors on FLT3 signaling and cell viability was assessed.Four patients achieved complete remission, but 3 receiving maintenance therapy with sorafenib relapsed after 14 to 37 weeks. Sunitinib reduced circulating blasts in two patients and marrow blasts in one. Two patients did not respond to sorafenib combination therapy or sunitinib. FLT3 mutations at residues D835 and F691 were observed in sorafenib resistance samples on both ITD-positive and -negative alleles. Deep sequencing revealed low-level mutations and their evolution during sorafenib treatment. Sunitinib suppressed leukemic clones with D835H and F691L mutations, but not D835Y. Cells expressing sorafenib-resistant FLT3 mutations were sensitive to sunitinib in vitro.Sunitinib has activity in patients that are resistant to sorafenib and harbor secondary FLT3 TKD mutations. The use of sensitive methods to monitor FLT3 mutations during therapy may allow individualized treatment with the currently available kinase inhibitors.
Project description:FLT3 internal tandem duplication (ITD) mutations are associated with poor prognosis in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). In this preclinical study, we characterized the binding affinity and selectivity of quizartinib, a small-molecule inhibitor of FLT3, and AC886, the active metabolite of quizartinib, compared with those of other FLT3 inhibitors. Selectivity profiling against >400 kinases showed that quizartinib and AC886 were highly selective against FLT3. Quizartinib and AC886 inhibited FLT3 signaling pathways in FLT3-ITD-mutated AML cells, leading to potent growth inhibition with IC50 values of <1 nM. When quizartinib was administered to mice bearing FLT3-ITD mutated tumors, AC886 was rapidly detected and tumor regression was observed at doses of ?1 mg/kg without severe body weight loss. In addition, quizartinib inhibited the viability of midostaurin-resistant MOLM-14 cells and exerted potent antitumor activity in mouse xenograft models without severe body weight loss, while midostaurin and gilteritinib did not show significant antitumor effects. This is the first detailed characterization of quizartinib and AC886 in comparison with other FLT3 inhibitors under the same experimental conditions. Preclinical antileukemic activity in midostaurin-resistant FLT3-ITD-mutated AML cells suggests the potential value of quizartinib following midostaurin failure in patients with FLT3-ITD mutated AML.
Project description:Mutations in the fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) gene are detected in approximately one-third of patients with newly diagnosed acute myeloid leukemia (AML). These consist of the more common FLT3-internal tandem duplication (ITD) in approximately 20-25% of AML cases, and point mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain (TKD) in approximately 5-10%. FLT3 mutations, especially FLT3-ITD, are associated with proliferative disease, increased risk of relapse, and inferior overall survival when treated with conventional regimens. However, the recent development of well tolerated and active FLT3 inhibitors has significantly improved the outcomes of this aggressive subtype of AML. The multikinase inhibitor midostaurin was approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) in April 2017 for the frontline treatment of patients with FLT3-mutated (either ITD or TKD) AML in combination with induction chemotherapy, representing the first new drug approval in AML in nearly two decades. In November 2018, the US FDA also approved the second-generation FLT3 inhibitor gilteritinib as a single agent for patients with relapsed or refractory FLT3-mutated AML. Promising phase I and II efficacy data for quizartinib is likely to lead to a third regulatory approval in relapsed/refractory AML in the near future. However, despite the significant progress made in managing FLT3-mutated AML, many questions remain regarding the best approach to integrate these inhibitors into combination regimens, and also the optimal sequencing of different FLT3 inhibitors in various clinical settings. This review comprehensively examines the FLT3 inhibitors currently in clinical development, with an emphasis on their spectra of activity against different FLT3 mutations and other kinases, clinical safety and efficacy data, and their current and future roles in the management of AML. The mechanisms of resistance to FLT3 inhibitors and potential combination strategies to overcome such resistance pathways are also discussed.
Project description:Activating internal tandem duplication (ITD) and tyrosine kinase domain (TKD) point mutations in Fms-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) occur in approximately 30% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), and confer a poor prognosis with standard cytarabine/anthracycline or azacitidine-based chemotherapy regimens. Gilteritinib is a highly-specific, potent FLT3/AXL inhibitor with demonstrated activity against FLT3-ITD and FLT3-TKD mutations. Compared with salvage chemotherapy, treatment with once-daily oral gilteritinib demonstrated a clinical benefit in patients with FLT3-mutated relapsed/refractory AML, which led to its recent approval in Japan and the United States. We investigated the effects of gilteritinib combined with cytarabine plus daunorubicin/idarubicin, or combined with azacitidine in human FLT3-ITD-positive (FLT3-ITD +) AML cell lines and xenografted mouse models. Gilteritinib induced G1 arrest and apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner. The addition of cytarabine, daunorubicin, idarubicin, or azacitidine potentiated apoptosis. Gilteritinib alone or combined with cytarabine, daunorubicin, idarubicin, or azacitidine, inhibited anti-apoptotic protein expression in MV4-11 cells. In xenografted mice, administration of cytarabine, idarubicin, or azacitidine in combination with gilteritinib had little impact on plasma or intratumor PK profiles of gilteritinib, cytarabine, idarubicin, or azacitidine. Gilteritinib combined with chemotherapy reduced tumor volume to a greater extent than either gilteritinib or chemotherapy alone. Of note, the addition of cytarabine plus daunorubicin/idarubicin led to tumor regression in mice, with complete regression observed in six out of eight mice in both triple combination groups. These findings support the investigation of gilteritinib combined with chemotherapy in patients with FLT3-ITD + AML, including those who are ineligible for intensive chemotherapy.
Project description:About 30% of patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) harbour mutations of the receptor tyrosine kinase FLT3, mostly internal tandem duplications (ITD) and point mutations of the second tyrosine kinase domain (TKD). It was the aim of this study to comprehensively analyze clinical and functional properties of various FLT3 mutants. In 672 normal karyotype AML patients FLT3-ITD, but not FLT3-TKD mutations were associated with a worse relapse free and overall survival in multivariate analysis. In paired diagnosis-relapse samples FLT3-ITD showed higher stability (70%) compared to FLT3-TKD (30%). In vitro, FLT3-ITD induced a strong activating phenotype in Ba/F3 cells. In contrast, FLT3-TKD mutations and other point mutations--including two novel mutations--showed a weaker but clear gain-of-function phenotype with gradual increase in proliferation and protection from apoptosis. The pro-proliferative capacity of the investigated FLT3 mutants was associated with cell surface expression and tyrosine 591 phosphorylation of the FLT3 receptor. Western blot experiments revealed STAT5 activation only in FLT3-ITD positive cell lines, in contrast to FLT3-non-ITD mutants, which displayed an enhanced signal of AKT and MAPK activation. Gene expression analysis revealed distinct difference between FLT3-ITD and FLT3-TKD for STAT5 target gene expression as well as deregulation of SOCS2, ENPP2, PRUNE2 and ART3. FLT3-ITD and FLT3 point mutations show a gain-of-function phenotype with distinct signalling properties in vitro. Although poor prognosis in AML is only associated with FLT3-ITD, all activating FLT3 mutations can contribute to leukemogenesis and are thus potential targets for therapeutic interventions.
Project description:FMS-like tyrosine kinase-3 (FLT3) internal tandem duplication (FLT3-ITD) mutations are common in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). These patients regularly develop resistance to FLT3 inhibitors suggesting that targeted combination drug strategies are needed to enhance AML therapy efficacy.Acquired point mutations of FLT3-ITD gene were screened using cDNA-based sequencing approach in vitro sorafenib-resistant cells, which were developed by long-term exposure of Ba/F3-ITD to increasing doses of sorafenib, and in FLT3-ITD mutated AML patients, who developed relapse following sorafenib therapy. Drug effects (e.g., proliferation inhibition, apoptosis induction, and changes in signal transduction protein expression) were assessed in AML cells harboring the point mutations in vitro and in FLT3-ITD-mutated AML patient samples.We identified several acquired point mutations in the tyrosine kinase domains (TKD) of the FLT3 gene in sorafenib-resistant murine leukemia cell line carrying human FLT3-ITD mutations, which were also detected in two of four sorafenib-resistant patient samples. Engineering these point mutations into Ba/F3-ITD cells generated sublines that demonstrated varying degrees of sorafenib [a type II tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)] resistance. A similar pattern of resistance could be observed by exposing these sublines to the other type II TKIs AC220 and MLN518. However, these sublines retained sensitivity to the type I TKIs PKC412 or crenolanib. The combination of crenolanib with sorafenib demonstrated marked cytotoxic effects in all of the sorafenib-resistant sublines.These combination strategies could be clinically important in reversing acquired resistance to FLT3 inhibition in AML.
Project description:Research has shown that FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3) may be a vital drug target for acute myeloid leukemia (AML). However, even though the clinically relevant F691L gatekeeper mutation conferred resistance to current FLT3 drug quizartinib, PLX3397 remained unaffected. In this study, the protein-ligand interactions between FLT3 kinase domain (wild-type or F691L) and quizartinib or PLX3397 were compared via an integrated computational approach. The classical molecular dynamics (MD) simulations in conjunction with dynamic cross-correlation (DCC) analysis, solvent-accessible surface area (SASA), and free energy calculations indicated that the resistant mutation may induce the conformational change of ?C-helix and A-loop of the FLT3 protein. The major variations were controlled by the electrostatic interaction and SASA, which were allosterically regulated by residues Glu-661 and Asp-829. When FLT3-F691L was bound to quizartinib, a large conformational change was observed via combination of accelerated MD simulations (aMDs), principal component analysis (PCA), and free energy landscape (FEL) calculations. The umbrella sampling (US) simulations were applied to investigate the dissociation processes of the quizartinib or PLX3397 from FLT3-WT and FLT3-F691L. The calculated results suggested that PLX3397 had similar dissociation processes from both FLT3-WT and FLT3-F691L, but quizartinib dissociated more easily from FLT3-F691L than from FLT3-WT. Thus, reduced residence time was responsible for the FLT3-F691L resistance to inhibitors. These findings indicated that both the conformational changes of ?C-helix and A-loop and the drug residence time should be considered in the design of drugs so that rational decisions can be made to overcome resistance to FLT3-F691L.