Anti-tumor activity of antibody drug conjugate targeting aspartate-?-hydroxylase in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma.
ABSTRACT: Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an extremely aggressive malignancy with very limited treatment options. Antibody drug conjugates (ADCs) are promising cytotoxic agents capable of highly selective delivery. Aspartate-?-hydroxylase (ASPH) is a type II transmembrane protein highly expressed in PDACs (97.1%) but not normal pancreas. We investigated anti-tumor effects of an ADC guided by a human monoclonal antibody (SNS-622) against ASPH in human PDAC cell lines and derived subcutaneous (s.c.) xenograft as well as a patient-derived xenograft (PDX) murine model with spontaneous pulmonary metastasis. The cytotoxic effects exhibited by several candidate payloads linked to SNS-622 antibody targeting ASPH+ PDACs were analyzed. After i.v. administration of SNS-622-emtansine (DM1) ADC, the primary PDAC tumor growth and progression (number and size of pulmonary metastases) were determined. The PDAC cell lines, s.c. and PDX tumors treated with ADC were tested for cell proliferation, cytotoxicity and apoptosis by MTS and immunohistochemistry (IHC) assays. SNS-622-DM1 construct has demonstrated optimal anti-tumor effects in vitro. In the PDX model of human PDAC, SNS-622-DM1 ADC exerted substantially inhibitory effects on tumor growth and pulmonary metastasis through attenuating proliferation and promoting apoptosis.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Signaling pathways critical for embryonic development re-emerge in adult pancreas during tumorigenesis. Aspartate ?-hydroxylase (ASPH) drives embryonic cell motility/invasion in pancreatic development/differentiation. We explored if dysregulated ASPH is critically involved in pancreatic cancer pathogenesis. METHODS:To demonstrate if/how ASPH mediates malignant phenotypes, proliferation, migration, 2-D/3-D invasion, pancreatosphere formation, immunofluorescence, Western blot, co-immunoprecipitation, invadopodia formation/maturation/function, qRT-PCR, immunohistochemistry (IHC), and self-developed in vitro metastasis assays were performed. Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of human pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) were established to illustrate in vivo antitumor effects of the third-generation small molecule inhibitor specifically against ASPH's ?-hydroxylase activity. Prognostic values of ASPH network components were evaluated with Kaplan-Meier plots, log-rank tests, and Cox proportional hazards regression models. RESULTS:ASPH renders pancreatic cancer cells more aggressive phenotypes characterized by epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), 2-D/3-D invasion, invadopodia formation/function as demonstrated by extracellular matrix (ECM) degradation, stemness (cancer stem cell marker upregulation and pancreatosphere formation), transendothelial migration (mimicking intravasation/extravasation), and sphere formation (mimicking metastatic colonization/outgrowth at distant sites). Mechanistically, ASPH activates SRC cascade through direct physical interaction with ADAM12/ADAM15 independent of FAK. The ASPH-SRC axis enables invadopodia construction and initiates MMP-mediated ECM degradation/remodeling as executors for invasiveness. Pharmacologic inhibition of invadopodia attenuates in vitro metastasis. ASPH fosters primary tumor development and pulmonary metastasis in PDX models of PDAC, which is blocked by a leading compound specifically against ASPH enzymatic activity. ASPH is silenced in normal pancreas, progressively upregulated from pre-malignant lesions to invasive/advanced stages of PDAC. Expression profiling of ASPH-SRC network components independently/jointly predicts clinical outcome of PDAC patients. Compared to a negative-low level, a moderate-very high level of ASPH, ADAM12, activated SRC, and MMPs correlated with curtailed overall survival (OS) of pancreatic cancer patients (log-rank test, ps?<?0.001). The more unfavorable molecules patients carry, the more deleterious prognosis is destinated. Patients with 0-2 (n?=?4), 3-5 (n?=?8), 6-8 (n?=?24), and 9-12 (n?=?73) unfavorable expression scores of the 5 molecules had median survival time of 55.4, 15.9, 9.7, and 5.0?months, respectively (p?<?0.001). CONCLUSION:Targeting the ASPH-SRC axis, which is essential for propagating multi-step PDAC metastasis, may specifically/substantially retard development/progression and thus improve prognosis of PDAC.
Project description:Pancreatic neuroendocrine carcinoma (PNEC) is often misdiagnosed as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). This retrospective study differentiated PNEC from PDAC using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), including contrast-enhanced (CE) and diffusion-weighted imaging (DWI). Clinical data and MRI findings, including the T1/T2 signal, tumor boundary, size, enhancement degree, and apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), were compared between 37 PDACs and 13 PNECs. Boundaries were more poorly defined in PDAC than PNEC (97.3% vs. 61.5%, p<0.01). Hyper-/isointensity was more common in PNEC than PDAC at the arterial (38.5% vs. 0.0), portal (46.2% vs. 2.7%) and delayed phases (46.2% vs. 5.4%) (all p<0.01). Lymph node metastasis (97.3% vs. 61.5%, p<0.01) and local invasion/distant metastasis (86.5% vs. 46.2%, p<0.01) were more common in PDAC than PNEC. Enhancement degree via CE-MRI was higher in PNEC than PDAC at the arterial and portal phases (p<0.01). PNEC ADC values were lower than those of normal pancreatic parenchyma (p<0.01) and PDAC (p<0.01). Arterial and portal phase signal intensity ratios and ADC values showed the largest areas under the receiver operating characteristic curve and good sensitivities (92.1%-97.2%) and specificities (76.9%-92.3%) for differentiating PNEC from PDAC. Thus the enhancement degree at the arterial and portal phases and the ADC values may be useful for differentiating PNEC from PDAC using MRI.
Project description:To develop a diffusion-tensor-imaging (DTI) protocol that is sensitive to the complex diffusion and perfusion properties of the healthy and malignant pancreas tissues.Twenty-eight healthy volunteers and nine patients with pancreatic-ductal-adenocacinoma (PDAC), were scanned at 3T with T2-weighted and DTI sequences. Healthy volunteers were also scanned with multi-b diffusion-weighted-imaging (DWI), whereas a standard clinical protocol complemented the PDAC patients' scans. Image processing at pixel resolution yielded parametric maps of three directional diffusion coefficients ?1, ?2, ?3, apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC), and fractional anisotropy (FA), as well as a ?1-vector map, and a main diffusion-direction map.DTI measurements of healthy pancreatic tissue at b-values 0,500 s/mm² yielded: ?1?=?(2.65±0.35)×10?³, ?2?=?(1.87±0.22)×10?³, ?3?=?(1.20±0.18)×10?³, ADC?=?(1.91±0.22)×10?³ (all in mm²/s units) and FA?=?0.38±0.06. Using b-values of 100,500 s/mm² led to a significant reduction in ?1, ?2, ?3 and ADC (p<.0001) and a significant increase (p<0.0001) in FA. The reduction in the diffusion coefficients suggested a contribution of a fast intra-voxel-incoherent-motion (IVIM) component at b?100 s/mm², which was confirmed by the multi-b DWI results. In PDACs, ?1, ?2, ?3 and ADC in both 0,500 s/mm² and 100,500 s/mm² b-values sets, as well as the reduction in these diffusion coefficients between the two sets, were significantly lower in comparison to the distal normal pancreatic tissue, suggesting higher cellularity and diminution of the fast-IVIM component in the cancer tissue.DTI using two reference b-values 0 and 100 s/mm² enabled characterization of the water diffusion and anisotropy of the healthy pancreas, taking into account a contribution of IVIM. The reduction in the diffusion coefficients of PDAC, as compared to normal pancreatic tissue, and the smaller change in these coefficients in PDAC when the reference b-value was modified from 0 to 100 s/mm², helped identifying the presence of malignancy.
Project description:The high-grade pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors, small cell lung cancer (SCLC) and large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma (LCNEC), remain among the most deadly malignancies. Therapies that effectively target and kill tumor-initiating cells (TICs) in these cancers should translate to improved patient survival. Patient-derived xenograft (PDX) tumors serve as excellent models to study tumor biology and characterize TICs. Increased expression of delta-like 3 (DLL3) was discovered in SCLC and LCNEC PDX tumors and confirmed in primary SCLC and LCNEC tumors. DLL3 protein is expressed on the surface of tumor cells but not in normal adult tissues. A DLL3-targeted antibody-drug conjugate (ADC), SC16LD6.5, comprised of a humanized anti-DLL3 monoclonal antibody conjugated to a DNA-damaging pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) dimer toxin, induced durable tumor regression in vivo across multiple PDX models. Serial transplantation experiments executed with limiting dilutions of cells provided functional evidence confirming that the lack of tumor recurrence after SC16LD6.5 exposure resulted from effective targeting of DLL3-expressing TICs. In vivo efficacy correlated with DLL3 expression, and responses were observed in PDX models initiated from patients with both limited and extensive-stage disease and were independent of their sensitivity to standard-of-care chemotherapy regimens. SC16LD6.5 effectively targets and eradicates DLL3-expressing TICs in SCLC and LCNEC PDX tumors and is a promising first-in-class ADC for the treatment of high-grade pulmonary neuroendocrine tumors.
Project description:BACKGROUND & AIMS:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is characterized by a prominent desmoplastic microenvironment that contains many different immune cells. Activated pancreatic stellate cells (PSCs) contribute to the desmoplasia. We investigated whether distinct stromal compartments are differentially infiltrated by different types of immune cells. METHODS:We used tissue microarray analysis to compare immune cell infiltration of different pancreaticobiliary diseased tissues (PDAC, ampullary carcinoma, cholangiocarcinoma, mucinous cystic neoplasm, chronic inflammation, and chronic pancreatitis) and juxtatumoral stromal (<100 ?m from tumor) and panstromal compartments. We investigated the association between immune infiltrate and patient survival times. We also analyzed T-cell migration and tumor infiltration in LSL-KrasG12D/+; LSL-Trp53R172H/+; Pdx-1-Cre (KPC) mice and the effects of all-trans retinoic acid (ATRA) on these processes. RESULTS:Juxtatumoral compartments in PDAC samples from 2 independent groups of patients contained increased numbers of myeloperoxidase(+) and CD68(+) cells compared with panstromal compartments. However, juxtatumoral compartments of PDACs contained fewer CD8(+), FoxP3(+), CD56(+), or CD20(+) cells than panstromal compartments, a distinction absent in ampullary carcinomas and cholangiocarcinomas. Patients with PDACs that had high densities of CD8(+) T cells in the juxtatumoral compartment had longer survival times than patients with lower densities. In KPC mice, administration of ATRA, which renders PSCs quiescent, increased numbers of CD8(+) T cells in juxtatumoral compartments. We found that activated PSCs express cytokines, chemokines, and adhesion molecules that regulate T-cell migration. In vitro migration assays showed that CD8(+) T cells, from patients with PDAC, had increased chemotaxis toward activated PSCs, which secrete CXCL12, compared with quiescent PSCs or tumor cells. These effects could be reversed by knockdown of CXCL12 or treatment of PSCs with ATRA. CONCLUSIONS:Based on studies of human PDAC samples and KPC mice, activated PSCs appear to reduce migration of CD8(+) T cells to juxtatumoral stromal compartments, preventing their access to cancer cells. Deregulated signaling by activated PSCs could prevent an effective antitumor immune response.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDACs) are highly aggressive malignancies, associated with poor clinical prognosis and limited therapeutic options. Oncogenic KRAS mutations are found in over 90% of PDACs, playing a central role in tumor progression. Global gene expression profiling of PDAC reveals 3-4 major molecular subtypes with distinct phenotypic traits and pharmacological vulnerabilities, including variations in oncogenic KRAS pathway dependencies. PDAC cell lines of the aberrantly differentiated endocrine exocrine (ADEX) subtype are robustly KRAS-dependent for survival. The KRAS gene is located on chromosome 12p11-12p12, a region amplified in 5-10% of primary PDACs. Within this amplicon, we identified co-amplification of KRAS with the STK38L gene in a subset of primary human PDACs and PDAC cell lines. Therefore, we determined whether PDAC cell lines are dependent on STK38L expression for proliferation and viability. STK38L encodes a serine/threonine kinase, which shares homology with Hippo pathway kinases LATS1/2. We show that STK38L expression is elevated in a subset of primary PDACs and PDAC cell lines displaying ADEX subtype characteristics, including overexpression of mutant KRAS. RNAi-mediated depletion of STK38L in a subset of ADEX subtype cell lines inhibits cellular proliferation and induces apoptosis. Concomitant with these effects, STK38L depletion causes increased expression of the LATS2 kinase and the cell cycle regulator p21. LATS2 depletion partially rescues the cytostatic and cytotoxic effects of STK38L depletion. Lastly, high STK38L mRNA expression is associated with decreased overall patient survival in PDACs. Collectively, our findings implicate STK38L as a candidate targetable vulnerability in a subset of molecularly-defined PDACs.
Project description:Inhibitors of bromodomain and extraterminal domain (BET) proteins, a family of chromatin reader proteins, have therapeutic efficacy against various malignancies. However, the detailed mechanisms underlying the anti-tumor effects in distinct tumor types remain elusive. Here, we show a novel antitumor mechanism of BET inhibition in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC). We found that JQ1, a BET inhibitor, decreased desmoplastic stroma, a hallmark of PDAC, and suppressed the growth of patient-derived tumor xenografts (PDX) of PDACs. In vivo antitumor effects of JQ1 were not always associated with the JQ1 sensitivity of respective PDAC cells, and were rather dependent on the suppression of tumor-promoting activity in cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs). JQ1 inhibited Hedgehog and TGF-? pathways as potent regulators of CAF activation and suppressed the expression of ?-SMA, extracellular matrix, cytokines, and growth factors in human primary CAFs. Consistently, conditioned media (CM) from CAFs promoted the proliferation of PDAC cells along with the activation of ERK, AKT, and STAT3 pathways, though these effects were suppressed when CM from JQ1-treated CAFs was used. Mechanistically, chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments revealed that JQ1 reduced TGF-?-dependent gene expression by disrupting the recruitment of the transcriptional machinery containing BET proteins. Finally, combination therapy with gemcitabine plus JQ1 showed greater efficacy than gemcitabine monotherapy against PDAC in vivo. Thus, our results reveal BET proteins as the critical regulators of CAF-activation and also provide evidence that stromal remodeling by epigenetic modulators can be a novel therapeutic option for PDAC.
Project description:Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is an aggressive cancer with a dismal prognosis. Currently, there is no effective therapy for PDAC, and a detailed molecular and functional evaluation of PDACs is needed to identify and develop better therapeutic strategies. Here we show that the transcription factor Krüppel-like factor 7 (KLF7) is overexpressed in PDACs, and that inhibition of KLF7 blocks PDAC tumor growth and metastasis in cell culture and in mice. KLF7 expression in PDACs can be up-regulated due to activation of a MAP kinase pathway or inactivation of the tumor suppressor p53, two alterations that occur in a large majority of PDACs. ShRNA-mediated knockdown of KLF7 inhibits the expression of IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs), which are necessary for KLF7-mediated PDAC tumor growth and metastasis. KLF7 knockdown also results in the down-regulation of Discs Large MAGUK Scaffold Protein 3 (DLG3), resulting in Golgi complex fragmentation, and reduced protein glycosylation, leading to reduced secretion of cancer-promoting growth factors, such as chemokines. Genetic or pharmacologic activation of Golgi complex fragmentation blocks PDAC growth and metastasis similar to KLF7 inhibition. Our results demonstrate a therapeutically amenable, KLF7-driven pathway that promotes PDAC growth and metastasis by activating ISGs and maintaining Golgi complex integrity.