Pan-cancer analysis reveals synergistic effects of CDK4/6i and PARPi combination treatment in RB-proficient and RB-deficient breast cancer cells.
ABSTRACT: DNA damage results in mutations and plays critical roles in cancer development, progression, and treatment. Targeting DNA damage response in cancers by inhibiting poly-(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs) offers an important therapeutic strategy. However, the failure of PARP inhibitors to markedly benefit patients suggests the necessity for developing new strategies to improve their efficacy. Here, we show that the expression of cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK4/6) complex members significantly correlates with mutations (as proxies of DNA damages), and that the combination of CDK4/6 and PARP inhibitors shows synergy in both RB-proficient and RB-deficient breast cancer cells. As PARPs constitute sensors of DNA damage and are broadly involved in multiple DNA repair pathways, we hypothesized that the combined inhibition of PARPs and DNA repair (or repair-related) pathways critical for cancer (DRPCC) should show synergy. To identify druggable candidate DRPCC(s), we analyzed the correlation between the genome-wide expression of individual genes and the mutations for 27 different cancer types, assessing 7146 exomes and over 1,500,000 somatic mutations. Pathway enrichment analyses of the top-ranked genes correlated with mutations indicated "cell cycle pathway" as the top candidate DRPCC. Additionally, among functional cell-cycle complexes, the CDK4/6 complex showed the most significant negative correlation with mutations, also suggesting that combined CDK4/6 and PARP inhibition might exhibit synergy. Furthermore, combination treatment showed synergy in not only RB-proficient but also RB-deficient breast cancer cells in a reactive oxygen species-dependent manner. These findings suggest a potential therapeutic strategy to improve the efficacy of PARP and CDK4/6 inhibitors in cancer treatment.
Project description:The retinoblastoma (Rb) protein exerts its tumor suppressor function primarily by inhibiting the E2F family of transcription factors that govern cell-cycle progression. However, it remains largely elusive whether the hyper-phosphorylated, non-E2F1-interacting form of Rb has any physiological role. Here we report that hyper-phosphorylated Rb directly binds to and suppresses the function of mTORC2 but not mTORC1. Mechanistically, Rb, but not p107 or p130, interacts with Sin1 and blocks the access of Akt to mTORC2, leading to attenuated Akt activation and increased sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs. As such, inhibition of Rb phosphorylation by depleting cyclin D or using CDK4/6 inhibitors releases Rb-mediated mTORC2 suppression. This, in turn, leads to elevated Akt activation to confer resistance to chemotherapeutic drugs in Rb-proficient cells, which can be attenuated with Akt inhibitors. Therefore, our work provides a molecular basis for the synergistic usage of CDK4/6 and Akt inhibitors in treating Rb-proficient cancer.
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: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:PARP inhibition is known to be an effective clinical strategy in BRCA mutant cancers, but PARP inhibition has not been applied to BRCA-proficient tumors. Here, we show the synergy of BET bromodomain inhibition with PARP inhibition in BRCA-proficient ovarian cancers due to mitotic catastrophe. Treatment of BRCA-proficient ovarian cancer cells with the BET inhibitor JQ1 downregulated the G2-M cell-cycle checkpoint regulator WEE1 and the DNA-damage response factor TOPBP1. Combining PARP inhibitor Olaparib with the BET inhibitor, we observed a synergistic increase in DNA damage and checkpoint defects, which allowed cells to enter mitosis despite the accumulation of DNA damage, ultimately causing mitotic catastrophe. Moreover, JQ1 and Olaparib showed synergistic suppression of growth of BRCA-proficient cancer in vivo in a xenograft ovarian cancer mouse model. Our findings indicate that a combination of BET inhibitor and PARP inhibitor represents a potential therapeutic strategy for BRCA-proficient cancers.
Project description:Mutations in the retinoblastoma (RB) tumour suppressor pathway are a hallmark of cancer and a prevalent feature of lung adenocarcinoma1-3. Although RB was the first tumour suppressor to be identified, the molecular and cellular basis that underlies selection for persistent RB loss in cancer remains unclear4-6. Methods that reactivate the RB pathway using inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases CDK4 and CDK6 are effective in some cancer types and are currently under evaluation for the treatment of lung adenocarcinoma7-9. Whether RB pathway reactivation will have therapeutic effects and whether targeting CDK4 and CDK6 is sufficient to reactivate RB pathway activity in lung cancer remains unknown. Here we model RB loss during lung adenocarcinoma progression and pathway reactivation in established oncogenic KRAS-driven tumours in mice. We show that RB loss enables cancer cells to bypass two distinct barriers during tumour progression. First, RB loss abrogates the requirement for amplification of the MAPK signal during malignant progression. We identify CDK2-dependent phosphorylation of RB as an effector of MAPK signalling and critical mediator of resistance to inhibition of CDK4 and CDK6. Second, RB inactivation deregulates the expression of cell-state-determining factors, facilitates lineage infidelity and accelerates the acquisition of metastatic competency. By contrast, reactivation of RB reprograms advanced tumours towards a less metastatic cell state, but is nevertheless unable to halt cancer cell proliferation and tumour growth due to adaptive rewiring of MAPK pathway signalling, which restores a CDK-dependent suppression of RB. Our study demonstrates the power of reversible gene perturbation approaches to identify molecular mechanisms of tumour progression, causal relationships between genes and the tumour suppressive programs that they control and critical determinants of successful cancer therapy.
Project description:The retinoblastoma tumor suppressor gene (RB1) plays a critical role in coordinating multiple pathways that impact cancer initiation, disease progression, and therapeutic responses. Here we probed molecular features associated with the RB-pathway across 31 tumor-types. While the RB-pathway has been purported to exhibit multiple mutually exclusive genetic events, only RB1 alteration is mutually exclusive with deregulation of CDK4/6 activity. An ER+ breast cancer model with targeted RB1 deletion was used to identify signatures of CDK4/6 activity and RB-dependency (CDK4/6-RB integrated signature). This signature was prognostic in tumor-types with gene expression features indicative of slower growth. Single copy loss on chromosome 13q encompassing the RB1 locus is prevalent in many cancers, yielding reduced expression of multiple genes in cis, and is inversely related to the CDK4/6-RB integrated signature supporting a cause-effect relationship. Genes that are positively and inversely correlated with the CDK4/6-RB integrated signature define new tumor-specific pathways associated with RB-pathway activity.
Project description:Inhibitors of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs), which play a key role in DNA damage/repair pathways, have been developed as antitumor agents based on the concept of synthetic lethality. Synthetic lethality is the idea that cell death would be efficiently induced by simultaneous loss of function of plural key molecules, for example, by exposing tumor cells with inactivating gene mutation of BRCA-mediated DNA repair to chemically induced inhibition of PARPs. Indeed, three PARP inhibitors, olaparib, rucaparib and niraparib have already been approved in the US or Europe, mainly for the treatment of BRCA-mutant ovarian cancer. Clinical trials of various combinations of PARP inhibitors with cytotoxic or molecular-targeted agents are also underway. In particular, expanded applications of PARP inhibitors are anticipated following recent reports that defects in homologous recombination repair (HRR) are associated with mutations in repair genes other than BRCA1/BRCA2, such as ATM, ATR, PALB2, RAD51, CHEK1 and CHEK2, as well as with epigenetic loss of BRCA1 function through promoter methylation or overexpression of the BRCA2-interacting transcriptional repressor EMSY. Current topics of interest include selection of the best agent in each clinical context, identification of new treatment targets for HRR-proficient cases, and development of PARP inhibitor-based regimens that are less toxic and that prolong overall survival as well as progression-free survival. In addition, potential long-term side effects and suitable biomarkers for predicting efficacy and mechanisms of clinical resistance are in discussion. This review summarizes representative preclinical and clinical data for PARP inhibitors and discusses their potential for future applications to treat various malignancies.
Project description:The widely accepted model of G1 cell cycle progression proposes that cyclin D:Cdk4/6 inactivates the Rb tumor suppressor during early G1 phase by progressive multi-phosphorylation, termed hypo-phosphorylation, to release E2F transcription factors. However, this model remains unproven biochemically and the biologically active form(s) of Rb remains unknown. In this study, we find that Rb is exclusively mono-phosphorylated in early G1 phase by cyclin D:Cdk4/6. Mono-phosphorylated Rb is composed of 14 independent isoforms that are all targeted by the E1a oncoprotein, but show preferential E2F binding patterns. At the late G1 Restriction Point, cyclin E:Cdk2 inactivates Rb by quantum hyper-phosphorylation. Cells undergoing a DNA damage response activate cyclin D:Cdk4/6 to generate mono-phosphorylated Rb that regulates global transcription, whereas cells undergoing differentiation utilize un-phosphorylated Rb. These observations fundamentally change our understanding of G1 cell cycle progression and show that mono-phosphorylated Rb, generated by cyclin D:Cdk4/6, is the only Rb isoform in early G1 phase.
Project description:Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is an aggressive disease that lacks established markers to direct therapeutic intervention. Thus, these tumors are routinely treated with cytotoxic chemotherapies (e.g., anthracyclines), which can cause severe side effects that impact quality of life. Recent studies indicate that the retinoblastoma tumor suppressor (RB) pathway is an important determinant in TNBC disease progression and therapeutic outcome. Furthermore, new therapeutic agents have been developed that specifically target the RB pathway, potentially positioning RB as a novel molecular marker for directing treatment. The current study evaluates the efficacy of pharmacological CDK4/6 inhibition in combination with the widely used genotoxic agent doxorubicin in the treatment of TNBC. Results demonstrate that in RB-proficient TNBC models, pharmacological CDK4/6 inhibition yields a cooperative cytostatic effect with doxorubicin but ultimately protects RB-proficient cells from doxorubicin-mediated cytotoxicity. In contrast, CDK4/6 inhibition does not alter the therapeutic response of RB-deficient TNBC cells to doxorubicin-mediated cytotoxicity, indicating that the effects of doxorubicin are indeed dependent on RB-mediated cell cycle control. Finally, the ability of CDK4/6 inhibition to protect TNBC cells from doxorubicin-mediated cytotoxicity resulted in recurrent populations of cells specifically in RB-proficient cell models, indicating that CDK4/6 inhibition can preserve cell viability in the presence of genotoxic agents. Combined, these studies suggest that while targeting the RB pathway represents a novel means of treatment in aggressive diseases such as TNBC, there should be a certain degree of caution when considering combination regimens of CDK4/6 inhibitors with genotoxic compounds that rely heavily on cell proliferation for their cytotoxic effects.