PLK1 Inhibition Targets Myc-Activated Malignant Glioma Cells Irrespective of Mismatch Repair Deficiency-Mediated Acquired Resistance to Temozolomide.
ABSTRACT: Mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency through MSH6 inactivation has been identified in up to 30% of recurrent high-grade gliomas, and represents a key molecular mechanism underlying the acquired resistance to the alkylating agent temozolomide (TMZ). To develop a therapeutic strategy that could be effective in these TMZ-refractory gliomas, we first screened 13 DNA damage response modulators for their ability to suppress viability of MSH6-inactivated, TMZ-resistant glioma cells. We identified a PLK1 selective inhibitor, Volasertib, as the most potent in inhibiting proliferation of glioblastoma cells. PLK1 inhibition induced mitotic catastrophe, G2-M cell-cycle arrest, and DNA damage, leading to caspase-mediated apoptosis in glioblastoma cells. Importantly, therapeutic effects of PLK1 inhibitors were not influenced by MSH6 knockdown, indicating that their action is independent of MMR status of the cells. Systemic treatment with Volasertib potently inhibited tumor growth in an MMR-deficient, TMZ-resistant glioblastoma xenograft model. Further in vitro testing in established and patient-derived cell line panels revealed an association of PLK1 inhibitor efficacy with cellular Myc expression status. We found that cells with deregulated Myc are vulnerable to PLK1 inhibition, as Myc overexpression sensitizes, whereas its silencing desensitizes, glioblastoma cells to PLK1 inhibitors. This discovery is clinically relevant as glioma progression post-TMZ treatment is frequently accompanied by MYC genomic amplification and/or pathway activation. In conclusion, PLK inhibitor represents a novel therapeutic option for recurrent gliomas, including those TMZ-resistant from MMR deficiency. Genomic MYC alteration may serve as a biomarker for PLK inhibitor sensitivity, as Myc-driven tumors demonstrated pronounced responses.
Project description:PURPOSE:Emergence of mismatch repair (MMR) deficiency is a frequent mechanism of acquired resistance to the alkylating chemotherapeutic temozolomide (TMZ) in gliomas. Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase inhibitors (PARPi) have been shown to potentiate TMZ cytotoxicity in several cancer types, including gliomas. We tested whether PARP inhibition could re-sensitize MSH6-null MMR-deficient gliomas to TMZ, and assessed the role of the base excision repair (BER) DNA damage repair pathway in PARPi-mediated effects. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:Isogenic pairs of MSH6 wild-type and MSH6-inactivated human glioblastoma (GBM) cells (including both IDH1/2 wild-type and IDH1 mutant), as well as MSH6-null cells derived from a patient with recurrent GBM were treated with TMZ, the PARPi veliparib or olaparib, and combination thereof. Efficacy of PARPi combined with TMZ was assessed in vivo. We used genetic and pharmacological approaches to dissect the contribution of BER. RESULTS:While having no detectable effect in MSH6 wild-type GBMs, PARPi selectively restored TMZ sensitivity in MSH6-deficient GBM cells. This genotype-specific restoration of activity translated in vivo, where combination treatment of veliparib and TMZ showed potent suppression of tumor growth of MSH6-inactivated orthotopic xenografts, compared with TMZ monotherapy. Unlike PARPi, genetic and pharmacological blockage of BER pathway did not re-sensitize MSH6-inactivated GBM cells to TMZ. Similarly, CRISPR PARP1 knockout did not re-sensitize MSH6-inactivated GBM cells to TMZ. CONCLUSIONS:PARPi restoration of TMZ chemosensitivity in MSH6-inactivated glioma represents a promising strategy to overcome acquired chemoresistance caused by MMR deficiency. Mechanistically, this PARPi-mediated synthetic phenotype was independent of BER blockage and was not recapitulated by loss of PARP1.
Project description:Polo-like kinases (Plks) are a family of serine-threonine kinases that regulate multiple intracellular processes including DNA replication, mitosis, and stress response. Plk1, the most well understood family member, regulates numerous stages of mitosis and is overexpressed in many cancers. Plk inhibitors are currently under clinical investigation, including phase III trials of volasertib, a Plk inhibitor, in acute myeloid leukemia and rigosertib, a dual inhibitor of Plk1/phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling pathways, in myelodysplastic syndrome. Other Plk inhibitors, including the Plk1 inhibitors GSK461364A, TKM-080301, GW843682, purpurogallin, and poloxin and the Plk4 inhibitor CFI-400945 fumarate, are in earlier clinical development. This review discusses the biologic roles of Plks in cell cycle progression and cancer, and the mechanisms of action of Plk inhibitors currently in development as cancer therapies.
Project description:Owing to their integral involvement in cell cycle regulation, the Polo-like kinase (Plk) family, particularly Plk1, has emerged as an attractive therapeutic target in oncology. In recent years, several Plk1 inhibitors have been developed, with some agents showing encouraging results in early-phase clinical trials. This review focuses on volasertib (BI 6727; an investigational agent), a potent and selective Plk inhibitor. Volasertib has shown promising activity in various cancer cell lines and xenograft models of human cancer. Trials performed to date suggest that volasertib has clinical efficacy in a range of malignancies, with the most promising results seen in patients with acute myeloid leukemia (AML). Encouragingly, recent phase II data have demonstrated that volasertib combined with low-dose cytarabine (LDAC) was associated with higher response rates and improved event-free survival than LDAC alone in patients with previously untreated AML. Based on these observations, and its presumably manageable safety profile, volasertib is currently in phase III development as a potential treatment for patients with AML who are ineligible for intensive remission induction therapy. Given that many patients with AML are of an older age and frail, this constitutes an area of major unmet need. In this review, we discuss the biologic rationale for Plk1 inhibitors in cancer, the clinical development of volasertib to date in solid tumors and AML, and the future identification of biomarkers that might predict response to volasertib and help determine the role of this agent in the clinic.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Temozolomide (TMZ) is active against glioblastomas (GBM) in which the O6-methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) gene is silenced. However, even in responsive cases, its beneficial effect is undermined by the emergence of drug resistance. Here, we tested whether inhibition of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 and -2 (PARP) enhanced the effectiveness of TMZ. METHODS:Using patient derived brain tumor initiating cells (BTICs) and orthotopic xenografts as models of newly diagnosed and recurrent high-grade glioma, we assessed the effects of TMZ, ABT-888, and the combination of TMZ and ABT-888 on the viability of BTICs and survival of tumor-bearing mice. We also studied DNA damage repair, checkpoint protein phosphorylation, and DNA replication in mismatch repair (MMR) deficient cells treated with TMZ and TMZ plus ABT-888. RESULTS:Cells and xenografts derived from newly diagnosed MGMT methylated high-grade gliomas were sensitive to TMZ while those derived from unmethylated and recurrent gliomas were typically resistant. ABT-888 had no effect on the viability of BTICs or tumor bearing mice, but co-treatment with TMZ restored sensitivity in resistant cells and xenografts from newly diagnosed unmethylated gliomas and recurrent gliomas with MSH6 mutations. In contrast, the addition of ABT-888 to TMZ had little sensitizing effect on cells and xenografts derived from newly diagnosed methylated gliomas. In a model of acquired TMZ resistance mediated by loss of MMR gene MSH6, re-sensitization to TMZ by ABT-888 was accompanied by persistent DNA strand breaks, re-engagement of checkpoint kinase signaling, and interruption of DNA synthesis. CONCLUSION:In laboratory models, the addition of ABT-888 to TMZ overcame resistance to TMZ.
Project description:Volasertib, a selective PLK1 inhibitor, was effective for acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients in clinical trials. However, its efficacy was limited in mono-therapy, and a higher incidence of fatal events was revealed in the combination with low-dose cytarabine. Thus, optimization of combination therapy with volasertib and other agents is necessary for its clinical development, and the predictive factors for response or resistance to volasertib remain largely unknown. In this study, we investigated the resistance mechanism in volasertib-resistant cell lines and the combination effects with other agents, such as azacitidine (AZA), on AML cells. We identified that mutations in the ATP-binding domain of PLK1 and expression of MDR1 conferred resistance to volasertib. In the combination therapy, the effects of AZA differed among cells, but were prominent in the cells with higher GI50 values of volasertib in mono-therapy. Furthermore, we identified that the cells in G2/M phase were more sensitive to volasertib, and the PI3K/AKT pathway was up-regulated upon administration of volasertib. Combination therapies with the agents that caused cell cycle accumulation in G2/M phase or with PI3K inhibitor were highly potent against AML cells. Our findings provide strategies for further clinical development of volasertib and PLK inhibitors for AML.
Project description:Interactions between the polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) inhibitor volasertib and the histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACI) belinostat were examined in diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) and mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) cells in vitro and in vivo. Exposure of DLBCL cells to very low concentrations of volasertib in combination with belinostat synergistically increased cell death (apoptosis). Similar interactions occurred in GC-, ABC-, double-hit DLBCL cells, MCL cells, bortezomib-resistant cells and primary lymphoma cells. Co-exposure to volasertib/belinostat induced a marked increase in M-phase arrest, phospho-histone H3, mitotic errors, cell death in M-phase, and DNA damage. Belinostat diminished c-Myc mRNA and protein expression, an effect significantly enhanced by volasertib co-exposure. c-Myc knock-down increased DNA damage and cell death in response to volasertib, arguing that c-Myc down-regulation plays a functional role in the lethality of this regimen. Notably, PLK1 knock-down in DLBCL cells significantly increased belinostat-induced M-phase accumulation, phospho-histone H3, ?H2AX, and cell death. Co-administration of volasertib and belinostat dramatically reduced tumor growth in an ABC-DLBCL flank model (U2932) and a systemic double-hit lymphoma model (OCI-Ly18), accompanied by a pronounced increase in survival without significant weight loss or other toxicities. Together, these findings indicate that PLK1/HDAC inhibition warrants attention as a therapeutic strategy in NHL.
Project description:Despite multimodal therapy with radiation and the DNA alkylating agent temozolomide (TMZ), malignant gliomas remain incurable. Up to 90% of grades II-III gliomas contain a single mutant isocitrate dehydrogenase 1 (IDH1) allele. IDH1 mutant-mediated transformation is associated with TMZ resistance; however, there is no clinically available means of sensitizing IDH1 mutant tumors to TMZ. In this study we sought to identify a targetable mechanism of TMZ resistance in IDH1 mutant tumors to enhance TMZ efficacy. IDH1 mutant astrocytes rapidly bypassed the G2 checkpoint with unrepaired DNA damage following TMZ treatment. Checkpoint adaptation was accompanied by PLK1 activation and IDH1 mutant astrocytes were more sensitive to treatment with BI2536 and TMZ in combination (<20% clonogenic survival) than either TMZ (~60%) or BI2536 (~75%) as single agents. In vivo, TMZ or BI2536 alone had little effect on tumor size. Combination treatment caused marked tumor shrinkage in all mice and complete tumor regression in 5 of 8 mice. Mutant IDH1 promotes checkpoint adaptation which can be exploited therapeutically with the combination of TMZ and a PLK1 inhibitor, indicating PLK1 inhibitors may be clinically valuable in the treatment of IDH1 mutant gliomas.
Project description:Polo-like kinase 1 (Plk1) has an important role in mitosis. Volasertib (BI 6727), a potent and selective cell cycle kinase inhibitor, induces mitotic arrest and apoptosis by targeting Plk; this phase I study sought to determine its maximum tolerated dose (MTD) in Asian patients with advanced solid tumours.Patients were enrolled simultaneously into two 3-week schedules of volasertib: a 2-h infusion on day 1 (schedule A) or days 1 and 8 (schedule B). Dose escalation followed a 3+3 design. The MTD was determined based on dose-limiting toxicities (DLT) in the first treatment course.Among 59 treated patients, the most common first course DLTs were reversible thrombocytopenia, neutropenia and febrile neutropenia; MTDs were 300 mg for schedule A and 150 mg for schedule B. Volasertib exhibited multi-exponential pharmacokinetics (PK), a long terminal half-life of ∼135 h, a large volume of distribution (>3000 l), and a moderate clearance. Partial responses were observed in two pre-treated patients (ureteral cancer; melanoma). Volasertib was generally well tolerated, with an adverse event profile consistent with its antimitotic mode of action and a favourable PK profile.These data support further development of volasertib and a harmonised dosing for Asian and Caucasian patients.
Project description:Temozolomide (TMZ) increases the overall survival of patients with glioblastoma (GBM), but its role in the clinical management of diffuse low-grade gliomas (LGG) is still being defined. DNA hypermethylation of the O (6) -methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) promoter is associated with an improved response to TMZ treatment, while inactivation of the DNA mismatch repair (MMR) pathway is associated with therapeutic resistance and TMZ-induced mutagenesis. We previously demonstrated that TMZ treatment of LGG induces driver mutations in the RB and AKT-mTOR pathways, which may drive malignant progression to secondary GBM. To better understand the mechanisms underlying TMZ-induced mutagenesis and malignant progression, we explored the evolution of MGMT methylation and genetic alterations affecting MMR genes in a cohort of 34 treatment-naïve LGGs and their recurrences. Recurrences with TMZ-associated hypermutation had increased MGMT methylation compared to their untreated initial tumors and higher overall MGMT methylation compared to TMZ-treated non-hypermutated recurrences. A TMZ-associated mutation in one or more MMR genes was observed in five out of six TMZ-treated hypermutated recurrences. In two cases, pre-existing heterozygous deletions encompassing MGMT, or an MMR gene, were followed by TMZ-associated mutations in one of the genes of interest. These results suggest that tumor cells with methylated MGMT may undergo positive selection during TMZ treatment in the context of MMR deficiency.
Project description:Hypermutagenesis refers to marked increase in the number of mutations due to continuous mutagenic process. Hypermutated tumors, have being found in several tumor types, are associated with inherited or acquired alterations in the DNA repair pathways. Hypermutation has been observed in a subset of adult glioma patients as a direct result of temozolomide(TMZ)-induced mutagenesis. In our study, we have identified a rare subset of treatment-naïve adult gliomas with de novo hypermutator phenotype and explored the evolution of spontaneous and treatment-induced hypermutagenesis. We conducted Whole-Exome Sequencing (WES), Whole-Transcriptome Sequencing (WTS), and Single-Cell Sequencing (SCS) of TMZ-naïve and post-TMZ-treated hypermutated tumors to identify distinct clinical or genomic manifestations that contribute to the development of hypermutation in untreated adult gliomas. TMZ-naïve hypermutated tumors were marked by absence of IDH1 somatic mutation and MGMT promoter (pMGMT) methylation, two genomic traits that were significantly associated with the TMZ-induced hypermutagenic event in glioblastoma, and harbored inherited alterations in the mismatch repair (MMR) machinery. The immediate family members of the TMZ-naive hypermutated glioma patients were also previous diagnosed with cancer development history, suggesting that germline dysfunction of the MMR pathway could potentially pose hereditary risk to genetic predisposition of carcinogenesis in gliomas. Lastly, both TMZ-naïve and post-TMZ-treated hypermutated tumors exhibited a significant accumulation of neoantigen loads, suggesting immunotherapeutic alternatives. Our results present new and unique understanding of hypermutagenic process in adult gliomas and an important step towards clinical implication of immunotherapy in glioma treatment.