Pre-treatment with the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib improves the efficacy of paclitaxel in TNBC cells.
ABSTRACT: Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) is a challenging disease due to the lack of druggable targets; therefore, chemotherapy remains the standard of care and the identification of new targets is a high clinical priority. Alterations in the components of the cell cycle machinery have been frequently reported in cancer; given the success obtained with the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbocicib in ER-positive BC, we explored the potential of combining this drug with chemotherapy in Rb-positive TNBC cell models. The simultaneous combination of palbociclib with paclitaxel exerted an antagonistic effect; by contrast, the sequential treatment inhibited cell proliferation and increased cell death more efficaciously than single treatments. By down-regulating the E2F target c-myc, palbociclib reduced HIF-1α and GLUT-1 expression, and hence glucose uptake and consumption both under normoxic and hypoxic conditions. Importantly, these inhibitory effects on glucose metabolism were enhanced by palbociclib/paclitaxel sequential combination; the superior efficacy of such combination was ascribed to the ability of paclitaxel to inhibit palbociclib-mediated induction of AKT and to further down-regulate the Rb/E2F/c-myc signaling. Our results suggest that the efficacy of standard chemotherapy can be significantly improved by a pre-treatment with palbociclib, thus offering a better therapeutic option for Rb-proficient TNBC.
Project description:Background:Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a highly aggressive malignancy that lacks sensitivity to chemotherapy, endocrine therapy or targeted therapy. CDK4/6 inhibitors, combined with endocrine therapy, have been shown to be effective in postmenopausal women with HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced or metastatic breast cancer. Therefore, we investigated whether the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib (PD) could enhance the effects of cisplatin (CDDP) on TNBC. Methods:The effects of different drug regimens consisting of PD and CDDP on MDA-MB-231 and RB-knockdown MDA-MB-231 (sh-MDA-MB-231) cells were assessed in vitro and in vivo. MDA-MB-468 and RB-overexpressing MDA-MB-468 cells were used to assess the effect of the PD-CDDP regimens in vitro. Immunoblotting illustrated the role of the cyclin D1/RB/E2F axis signalling pathway. Results:PD induced G1 phase cell cycle arrest in the MDA-MB-231 cell line. However, synchronous treatment with PD and CDDP for 24 h, treatment with PD for 24 h followed by CDDP and treatment with CDDP for 24 h followed by PD had no influence on MDA-MB-231 cell apoptosis. We further investigated the effect of PD or CDDP withdrawal on the effects of sequential treatment and found that PD treatment for 48 h followed by withdrawal for 48 h and subsequent CDDP treatment (PD-CDDP) significantly increased apoptosis and inhibited the cell viability and colony formation of MDA-MB-231 cells, while with other regimens, PD and CDDP had an additive or antagonistic response. The preferential use of PD increased DNA damage induced by CDDP, as measured through ?H2AX immunofluorescence. These findings were not observed in sh-MDA-MB-231 cells, and experiments to assess cell function in MDA-MB-468 and RB-overexpressing MDA-MB-468 cells yielded similar results, which indicated that PD enhanced the sensitivity of TNBC cells to CDDP in an RB-dependent manner. In vivo, compared with single drug treatment, combination treatment inhibited tumour growth and Ki-67 expression in MDA-MB-231 xenograft models. Western blot analysis revealed that PD enhanced sensitivity to CDDP through the CDK4/6-cyclin D1-RB-E2F pathway. Conclusions:Pre-treatment with PD synchronized the tumour cell cycle through the CDK4/6-cyclin D1-RB-E2F pathway, which increased the antitumour effect of CDDP. Thus, PD-CDDP might be an effective treatment for RB-proficient TNBC patients.
Project description:Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) lacks specific drug targets and remains challenging. Palbociclib, a cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6) inhibitor is approved for metastatic estrogen receptor (ER)-positive and human epithermal growth factor 2 (HER2)-negative breast cancer. The nature of cell cycle inhibition by palbociclib suggests its potential in TNBC cells. Retinoblastoma (RB, a known substrate of CDK4/6) pathway deregulation is a frequent occurrence in TNBC and studies have revealed that pharmacological CDK4/6 inhibition induces a cooperative cytostatic effect with doxorubicin in RB-proficient TNBC models. In addition, recent studies reported that anti-androgen therapy shows preclinical efficacy in androgen-receptor (AR)-positive TNBC cells. Here we examined the effect of palbociclib in combination with an anti-androgen enzalutamide in TNBC cells.MDA-MB-453, BT-549, MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 TNBC cell lines were used for in vitro studies. Protein expressions were assessed by Western blot analysis. Cytostatic effect was examined by MTT assay. Cell cycle and apoptosis were examined by flow cytometry.Palbociclib showed inhibitory effect in RB-proficient TNBC cells, and enzalutamide inhibited cell viability in AR-positive TNBC cells. Enzalutamide treatment could enhance the palbociclib-induced cytostatic effect in AR-positive/RB-proficient TNBC cells. In addition, palbociclib-mediated G1 arrest in AR-positive/RB-proficient TNBC cells was attenuated by RB knockdown.Our study provided a preclinical rationale in selecting patients who might have therapeutic benefit from combining CDK4/6 inhibitors with AR antagonists.
Project description:Advanced hepatocarcinoma (HCC) is an aggressive malignancy with poor prognosis and limited treatment options. Alterations of the cyclin D-CDK4/6-Rb pathway occur frequently in HCC, providing the rationale for its targeting at least in a molecular subset of HCC. In a panel of HCC cell lines, we investigated whether the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib might improve the efficacy of regorafenib, a powerful multi-kinase inhibitor approved as second-line treatment for advanced HCC after sorafenib failure and currently under clinical investigation as first-line therapy in combination with immunotherapy. In Rb-proficient cells, the simultaneous drug combination, but not the sequential schedules, inhibited cell proliferation, either in short or in long-term experiments, and induced cell death more strongly than individual treatments. Moreover, the combination significantly reduced spheroid cell growth and inhibited cell migration/invasion. The superior efficacy of palbociclib plus regorafenib emerged also under hypoxia and was associated with a significant down-regulation of CDK4/6-Rb-myc and mTORC1/p70S6K signaling. Moreover, regorafenib suppressed palbociclib-induced expression of cyclin D1 contributing to the cytotoxic effects of the combination. Besides these inhibitory effects on cell viability/proliferation, palbociclib and regorafenib reduced glucose uptake, although this effect was dependent on the cell model and on the oxygen availability (normoxia or hypoxia). Palbociclib and regorafenib combination impaired glucose uptake and utilization, down-regulating basal and hypoxia-induced expression of HIF-1?, HIF-2?, GLUT-1, and MCT4 proteins as well as the activity/expression of glycolytic enzymes (HK2, PFKP, aldolase A, PKM2). In addition, regorafenib alone reduced mitochondrial respiration. The combined treatment impaired glucose metabolism and respiration without enhancing the effects of the single agents. Our findings provide pre-clinical evidence for the effectiveness of palbociclib and regorafenib combination in HCC cell models.
Project description:Toxicity and resistance remain major challenges for advanced or recurrent cervical cancer therapies, as treatment requires high doses of chemotherapeutic agents. Restoration of TP53 and hypophosphorylated-retinoblastoma (pRB) proteins by human papillomavirus (HPV) E6/E7 siRNA sensitizes HPV-positive cervical cancer cells toward chemotherapeutic agents. Here, we investigated the therapeutic effects of E6/E7 siRNA on the dynamic behavior of TP53 and RB/E2F signaling networks in deciding the cell fate. The synergistic effect of HPV E6/E7 siRNA pool (SP) with chemotherapeutic agents on TP53 and RB/E2F signaling, proliferation, and apoptosis was analyzed in vitro and in vivo. Compared to the E6/E7 SP alone, E6/E7 SP with cisplatin treatment effectively restored TP53 and RB/E2F signaling and contributes to differences in cell fate, such as apoptosis or cell cycle arrest. We also developed a cellular dynamics model that includes TP53-RB/E2F dynamics and cell proliferation profiles, and confirmed its utility for investigating E6/E7 siRNA-based combination regimens. Using a dual reporter system, we further confirmed the cross talk between TP53 and RB/E2F signaling mechanisms. Treatment of E6/E7 SP cationic liposome (i.v.) with cisplatin and paclitaxel (i.p.) potentially inhibited tumor growth in BALB/c-nude mice. Altogether, our findings suggest that stabilization of TP53 and the RB/E2F repressor complex by E6/E7 SP combined with low-dose chemotherapy can effectively suppress tumor growth.
Project description:Deregulation of the cell cycle is a hallmark of cancer, and research on cell cycle control has allowed identification of potential targets for anticancer treatment. Palbociclib is a selective inhibitor of the cyclin-dependent kinases 4 and 6 (CDK4/6), which are involved, with their coregulatory partners cyclin D, in the G1-S transition. Inhibition of this step halts cell cycle progression in cells in which the involved pathway, including the retinoblastoma protein (Rb) and the E2F family of transcription factors, is functioning, although having been deregulated. Among breast cancers, those with functioning cyclin D-CDK4/6-Rb-E2F are mainly hormone-receptor (HR) positive, with some HER2-positive and rare triple-negative cases. Deregulation results from genetic or otherwise occurring hyperactivation of molecules subtending cell cycle progression, or inactivation of cell cycle inhibitors. Based on results of randomized clinical trials, palbociclib was granted accelerated approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for use in combination with letrozole as initial endocrine-based therapy for metastatic disease in postmenopausal women with HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer, and was approved for use in combination with fulvestrant in women with HR-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancer with disease progression following endocrine therapy. This review provides an update of the available knowledge on the cell cycle and its regulation, on the alterations in cyclin D-CDK4/6-Rb-E2F axis in breast cancer and their roles in endocrine resistance, on the preclinical activity of CDK4/6 inhibitors in breast cancer, both as monotherapy and as partners of combinatorial synergic treatments, and on the clinical development of palbociclib in breast cancer.
Project description:The retinoblastoma protein (RB) restricts cell cycle gene expression and entry into the cell cycle. The RB-related protein p130 forms the DREAM (DP, RB-like, E2F, and MuvB) complex and contributes to repression of cell cycle-dependent genes during quiescence. Although both RB and DREAM bind and repress an overlapping set of E2F-dependent gene promoters, it remains unclear whether they cooperate to restrict cell cycle entry. To test the specific contributions of RB and DREAM, we generated RB and p130 knockout cells in primary human fibroblasts. Knockout of both p130 and RB yielded higher levels of cell cycle gene expression in G0 and G1 cells compared to cells with knockout of RB alone, indicating a role for DREAM and RB in repression of cell cycle genes. We observed that RB had a dominant role in E2F-dependent gene repression during mid to late G1 while DREAM activity was more prominent during G0 and early G1. Cyclin D-Cyclin-Dependent Kinase 4 (CDK4)-dependent phosphorylation of p130 occurred during early G1, and led to the release of p130 and MuvB from E2F4 and decreased p130 and MuvB binding to cell cycle promoters. Specific inhibition of CDK4 activity by palbociclib blocked DREAM complex disassembly during cell cycle entry. In addition, sensitivity to CDK4 inhibition was dependent on RB and an intact DREAM complex in both normal cells as well as in palbociclib-sensitive cancer cell lines. Although RB knockout cells were partially resistant to CDK4 inhibition, RB and p130 double knockout cells were significantly more resistant to palbociclib treatment. These results indicate that DREAM cooperates with RB in repressing E2F-dependent gene expression and cell cycle entry and supports a role for DREAM as a therapeutic target in cancer.
Project description:Triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is characterized by multiple genetic events occurring in concert to drive pathogenic features of the disease. Here we interrogated the coordinate impact of p53, RB, and MYC in a genetic model of TNBC, in parallel with the analysis of clinical specimens. Primary mouse mammary epithelial cells (mMEC) with defined genetic features were used to delineate the combined action of RB and/or p53 in the genesis of TNBC. In this context, the deletion of either RB or p53 alone and in combination increased the proliferation of mMEC; however, the cells did not have the capacity to invade in matrigel. Gene expression profiling revealed that loss of each tumor suppressor has effects related to proliferation, but RB loss in particular leads to alterations in gene expression associated with the epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition. The overexpression of MYC in combination with p53 loss or combined RB/p53 loss drove rapid cell growth. While the effects of MYC overexpression had a dominant impact on gene expression, loss of RB further enhanced the deregulation of a gene expression signature associated with invasion. Specific RB loss lead to enhanced invasion in boyden chambers assays and gave rise to tumors with minimal epithelial characteristics relative to RB-proficient models. Therapeutic screening revealed that RB-deficient cells were particularly resistant to agents targeting PI3K and MEK pathway. Consistent with the aggressive behavior of the preclinical models of MYC overexpression and RB loss, human TNBC tumors that express high levels of MYC and are devoid of RB have a particularly poor outcome. Together these results underscore the potency of tumor suppressor pathways in specifying the biology of breast cancer. Further, they demonstrate that MYC overexpression in concert with RB can promote a particularly aggressive form of TNBC.
Project description:Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a progressive malignancy associated to the exposure of asbestos fibers. The most frequently inactivated tumor suppressor gene in MPM is CDKN2A/ARF, encoding for the cell cycle inhibitors p16INK4a and p14ARF, deleted in about 70% of MPM cases. Considering the high frequency of alterations of this gene, we tested in MPM cells the efficacy of palbociclib (PD-0332991), a highly selective inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) 4/6. The analyses were performed on a panel of MPM cell lines and on two primary culture cells from pleural effusion of patients with MPM. All the MPM cell lines, as well as the primary cultures, were sensitive to palbociclib with a significant blockade in G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle and with the acquisition of a senescent phenotype. Palbociclib reduced the phosphorylation levels of CDK6 and Rb, the expression of myc with a concomitant increased phosphorylation of AKT. Based on these results, we tested the efficacy of the combination of palbociclib with the PI3K inhibitors NVP-BEZ235 or NVP-BYL719. After palbociclib treatment, the sequential association with PI3K inhibitors synergistically hampered cell proliferation and strongly increased the percentage of senescent cells. In addition, AKT activation was repressed while p53 and p21 were up-regulated. Interestingly, two cycles of sequential drug administration produced irreversible growth arrest and senescent phenotype that were maintained even after drug withdrawal. These findings suggest that the sequential association of palbociclib with PI3K inhibitors may represent a valuable therapeutic option for the treatment of MPM.
Project description:Palbociclib, a CDK4/6 inhibitor, has been granted accelerated approval by US FDA for hormone receptor-positive HER2-negative metastatic breast cancer. To determine potential biomarkers of palbociclib sensitivity to assist in patient selection and clinical development, we investigated the effects of palbociclib in a panel of molecularly characterized breast cancer cell lines. We quantified palbociclib sensitivity and c-myc expression in 11 breast cancer cell lines, 124 breast cancer samples, and The Cancer Genome Atlas database. We found non-TNBC subtypes were more sensitive to palbociclib than TNBC. Activation of c-myc led to differential palbociclib sensitivities, and further inhibition of c-myc enhanced palbociclib sensitivity. Moreover, we identified for the first time a c-myc/miR-29b-3p/CDK6 axis in breast cancer that could be responsible for c-myc-induced palbociclib insensitivity, in which c-myc activation resulted in downregulation of miR-29b-3p, further activated CDK6 and inhibited cell-cycle arrest at G1 phase. Moreover, downregulated (inactived) c-myc-induced oncogenic addiction could increase palbociclib efficacy, using both Xenograft model and patient-derived tumor xenograft (PDTX) model. Our finding extends the concept of combined blockade of the CDK4/6 and c-myc signaling pathways to increase palbociclib sensitivity, making c-myc a promising biomarker for palbociclib sensitivity in breast cancer.
Project description:Cervical cancer is caused by high-risk human papillomavirus (HPV) types and treated with conventional chemotherapy with surgery and/or radiation. HPV E6 and E7 proteins increase phosphorylation of retinoblastoma (Rb) by cyclin D1/cyclin dependent kinase (CDK)4/6 complexes. We hypothesized that cyclin D1 degradation by the SHetA2 drug in combination with palbociclib inhibition of CDK4/6 activity synergistically reduces phosphorylated Rb (phospho-Rb) and inhibits cervical cancer growth. The effects of these drugs, alone, and in combination, were evaluated in SiHa and CaSki HPV-positive and C33A HPV-negative cervical cancer cell lines using cell culture, western blots and ELISA, and in a SiHa xenograft model. Endpoints were compared by isobolograms, ANOVA, and Chi-Square. In all cell lines, combination indexes documented synergistic interaction of SHetA2 and palbociclib in association SHetA2 reduction of cyclin D1 and phospho-Rb, palbociclib reduction of phospho-Rb, and enhanced phospho-Rb reduction upon drug combination. Both drugs significantly reduced phospho-Rb and growth of SiHa xenograft tumors as single agents and acted additively when combined, with no evidence of toxicity. Dilated CD31-negative blood vessels adjacent to, or within, areas of necrosis and apoptosis were observed in all drug-treated tumors. These results justify development of the SHetA2 and palbociclib combination for targeting phospho-Rb in cervical cancer treatment.