RET Solvent Front Mutations Mediate Acquired Resistance to Selective RET Inhibition in RET-Driven Malignancies.
ABSTRACT: INTRODUCTION:Novel rearranged in transfection (RET)-specific tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) such as selpercatinib (LOXO-292) have shown unprecedented efficacy in tumors positive for RET fusions or mutations, notably RET fusion-positive NSCLC and RET-mutated medullary thyroid cancer (MTC). However, the mechanisms of resistance to these agents have not yet been described. METHODS:Analysis was performed of circulating tumor DNA and tissue in patients with RET fusion-positive NSCLC and RET-mutation positive MTC who developed disease progression after an initial response to selpercatinib. Acquired resistance was modeled preclinically using a CCDC6-RET fusion-positive NSCLC patient-derived xenograft. The inhibitory activity of anti-RET multikinase inhibitors and selective RET TKIs was evaluated in enzyme and cell-based assays. RESULTS:After a dramatic initial response to selpercatinib in a patient with KIF5B-RET NSCLC, analysis of circulating tumor DNA revealed emergence of RET G810R, G810S, and G810C mutations in the RET solvent front before the emergence of clinical resistance. Postmortem biopsy studies reported intratumor and intertumor heterogeneity with distinct disease subclones containing G810S, G810R, and G810C mutations in multiple disease sites indicative of convergent evolution on the G810 residue resulting in a common mechanism of resistance. Acquired mutations in RET G810 were identified in tumor tissue from a second patient with CCDC6-RET fusion-positive NSCLC and in plasma from patients with additional RET fusion-positive NSCLC and RET-mutant MTC progressing on an ongoing phase 1 and 2 trial of selpercatinib. Preclinical studies reported the presence of RET G810R mutations in a CCDC6-RET patient-derived xenograft (from a patient with NSCLC) model of acquired resistance to selpercatinib. Structural modeling predicted that these mutations sterically hinder the binding of selpercatinib, and in vitro assays confirmed loss of activity for both anti-RET multikinase inhibitors and selective RET TKIs. CONCLUSIONS:RET G810 solvent front mutations represent the first described recurrent mechanism of resistance to selective RET inhibition with selpercatinib. Development of potent inhibitor of these mutations and maintaining activity against RET gatekeeper mutations could be an effective strategy to target resistance to selective RET inhibitors.
Project description:We present a cohort of 41 patients with osimertinib resistance biopsies, including 2 with an acquired CCDC6-RET fusion. Although RET fusions have been identified in resistant EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), their role in acquired resistance to EGFR inhibitors is not well described. To assess the biological implications of RET fusions in an EGFR-mutant cancer, we expressed CCDC6-RET in PC9 (EGFR del19) and MGH134 (EGFR L858R/T790M) cells and found that CCDC6-RET was sufficient to confer resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). The selective RET inhibitors BLU-667 and cabozantinib resensitized CCDC6-RET-expressing cells to EGFR inhibition. Finally, we treated 2 patients with EGFR-mutant NSCLC and RET-mediated resistance with osimertinib and BLU-667. The combination was well tolerated and led to rapid radiographic response in both patients. This study provides proof of concept that RET fusions can mediate acquired resistance to EGFR TKIs and that combined EGFR and RET inhibition with osimertinib/BLU-667 may be a well-tolerated and effective treatment strategy for such patients. SIGNIFICANCE: The role of RET fusions in resistant EGFR-mutant cancers is unknown. We report that RET fusions mediate resistance to EGFR inhibitors and demonstrate that this bypass track can be effectively targeted with a selective RET inhibitor (BLU-667) in the clinic.This article is highlighted in the In This Issue feature, p. 1494.
Project description:Advanced NSCLC patients harboring EML4-ALK and CCDC6-RET rearrangements derive benefit from treatment with ALK and RET TKIs but not immune checkpoint inhibitors. New immunotherapeutic approaches, such as immunization against growth factors, can be of particular interest for combination treatment in these patients. Here, we investigated the effects of anti-EGF antibodies generated by vaccination (anti-EGF VacAbs), TKIs and combinations in EML4-ALK and CCDC6-RET NSCLC cell lines. We found that EGF and tumor growth factor alpha (TGF?) significantly decreased the antiproliferative activity of the RET inhibitor BLU-667 in CCDC6-RET cells and brigatinib, alectinib and crizotinib in EML4-ALK translocated cells. The addition of anti-EGF VacAbs reversed the effects of EGF and TGF?, potentiated the antitumor effects of the kinase inhibitors and delayed the appearance in vitro of resistant clones. Western blotting demonstrated that the combination of anti-EGF VacAbs with ALK or RET TKIs effectively suppressed EGFR downstream pathways in EML4-ALK translocated and CCDC6-RET cells, respectively. In conclusion, anti-EGF VacAbs significantly increased the antitumor activity of TKIs in ALK and RET-positive cell lines. Clinical trials of an EGF vaccine in combination with ALK and RET TKIs are warranted.
Project description:Rearranged during transfection (RET) fusion-positive non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) accounts for approximately 1-2% of all NSCLCs. To date, RET fusions that involve at least six fusion partners in NSCLC, such as KIF5B, CCDC6, NCOA4, TRIM33, CLIP1, and ERC1, have been identified. Recent clinical trials for RET fusion-positive NSCLC using vandetanib or cabozantinib demonstrated positive clinical response and considerable differential activities for RET inhibitors among fusion partners. Alectinib, an approved ALK inhibitor, is reported to inhibit KIF5B-RET and CCDC6-RET. However, the activity of alectinib with respect to RET with other fusion partners is unknown. In the present study, we investigated the effects of alectinib on NCOA4-RET fusion-positive tumor cells in vitro and in vivo. Alectinib inhibited the viability of NCOA4-RET-positive EHMES-10 cells, as well as CCDC6-RET-positive LC-2/ad and TPC-1 cells. This was achieved via inhibition of the phosphorylation of RET and induction of apoptosis. Moreover, alectinib suppressed the production of thoracic tumors and pleural effusions in an orthotopic intrathoracic inoculation model of EHMES-10 cells. In vivo imaging of an orthotopically inoculated EHMES-10 cell model also revealed that alectinib could rescue pleural carcinomatosis. These results suggest that alectinib may be a promising RET inhibitor against tumors positive for not only KIF5B-RET and CCDC6-RET, but also NCOA4-RET.
Project description:Recently, rearranged during transfection (RET) fusions have been identified in approximately 1% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). To know the prevalence of RET fusion genes in Korean NSCLCs, we examined the RET fusion genes in 156 surgically resected NSCLCs using a reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. Two KIF5B-RET fusions and one CCDC6-RET fusion were identified. All three patients were females and never smokers with adenocarcinomas. RET fusion genes were mutually exclusive from EGFR, KRAS mutations and EML4-ALK fusion. RET fusion genes occur 1.9% (3 of 156) of surgically treated NSCLC patients in Koreans.
Project description:Rearrangements of the proto-oncogene RET are newly identified potential driver mutations in lung adenocarcinoma (LAD). However, the absence of cell lines harboring RET fusion genes has hampered the investigation of the biological relevance of RET and the development of RET-targeted therapy. Thus, we aimed to identify a RET fusion positive LAD cell line. Eleven LAD cell lines were screened for RET fusion transcripts by reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction. The biological relevance of the CCDC6-RET gene products was assessed by cell growth, survival and phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and AKT with or without the suppression of RET expression using RNA interference. The efficacy of RET inhibitors was evaluated in vitro using a culture system and in an in vivo xenograft model. Expression of the CCDC6-RET fusion gene in LC-2/ad cells was demonstrated by the mRNA and protein levels, and the genomic break-point was confirmed by genomic DNA sequencing. Mutations in KRAS and EGFR were not observed in the LC-2/ad cells. CCDC6-RET was constitutively active, and the introduction of a siRNA targeting the RET 3' region decreased cell proliferation by downregulating RET and ERK1/2 phosphorylation. Moreover, treatment with RET-inhibitors, including vandetanib, reduced cell viability, which was accompanied by the downregulation of the AKT and ERK1/2 signaling pathways. Vandetanib exhibited anti-tumor effects in the xenograft model. Endogenously expressing CCDC6-RET contributed to cell growth. The inhibition of kinase activity could be an effective treatment strategy for LAD. LC-2/ad is a useful model for developing fusion RET-targeted therapy.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE:Alterations in the tyrosine kinase enzyme RET are found in thyroid and lung cancer. While RET TK inhibitors (TKIs) are used to treat thyroid cancer and are in clinical trials for RET fusion-positive non-small cell lung cancer, the impact of mutations in the RET kinase domain on drug sensitivity is largely uncharacterized. EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH:We identified and analysed mutations in the RET kinase domain that conferred resistance to the TKIs cabozantinib, lenvatinib, vandetanib and nintedanib using RET kinase-dependent BaF3/KIF5B-RET (BaF3/KR) cells. We also examined the sensitivity of RET (M918T), a RET mutation prevalent in aggressive multiple endocrine neoplasia type 2B, to these TKIs in the context of BaF3/KR cells. KEY RESULTS:Fourteen mutations were analysed. Pan resistance to the four TKIs was found in six RET kinase domain mutations (L730I, V738A, V804L/M, Y806N, G810S). Seven RET kinase domain mutations (L730V, E732K, A807V, G810A, V871I, M918T, F998V) displayed selective resistance to one or more of these drugs. L730I/V and G810A/S had different drug resistance profiles. V871I, M918T and F998V mutations are located at distant sites away from the TKI binding pocket. CONCLUSIONS AND IMPLICATIONS:A panel of TKI-resistant RET mutations were identified, and their drug sensitivities were cross-profiled. The results provide a reference for selecting appropriate TKIs to inhibit RET kinase domain mutants. Besides changes in the drug-interacting residues, mutations at distant sites could exert long-range effects resulting in TKI resistance. Among the four TKIs analysed here, nintedanib remained unaffected by mutations at the three distant sites.
Project description:Fusions of the RET and ROS1 protein tyrosine kinase oncogenes with several partner genes were recently identified as new targetable genetic aberrations in cases of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) lacking activating EGFR, KRAS, ALK, BRAF, or HER2 oncogene aberrations. RET and ROS1 fusion-positive tumors are mainly observed in young, female, and/or never smoking patients. Studies based on in vitro and in vivo (i.e., mouse) models and studies of several fusion-positive patients indicate that inhibiting the kinase activity of the RET and ROS1 fusion proteins is a promising therapeutic strategy. Accordingly, there are several ongoing clinical trials aimed at examining the efficacy of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) against RET and ROS1 proteins in patients with fusion-positive lung cancer. Other gene fusions (NTRK1, NRG1, and FGFR1/2/3) that are targetable by existing TKIs have also been identified in NSCLCs. Options for personalized lung cancer therapy will be increased with the help of multiplex diagnosis systems able to detect multiple druggable gene fusions.
Project description:There is an unmet clinical need for molecularly directed therapies available for metastatic colorectal cancer. Comprehensive genomic profiling has the potential to identify actionable genomic alterations in colorectal cancer. Through comprehensive genomic profiling we prospectively identified 6 RET fusion kinases, including two novel fusions of CCDC6-RET and NCOA4-RET, in metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) patients. RET fusion kinases represent a novel class of oncogenic driver in CRC and occurred at a 0.2% frequency without concurrent driver mutations, including KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA or other fusion tyrosine kinases. Multiple RET kinase inhibitors were cytotoxic to RET fusion kinase positive cancer cells and not RET fusion kinase negative CRC cells. The presence of a RET fusion kinase may identify a subset of metastatic CRC patients with a high response rate to RET kinase inhibition. This is the first characterization of RET fusions in CRC patients and highlights the therapeutic significance of prospective comprehensive genomic profiling in advanced CRC.
Project description:Genomic studies are revolutionizing clinical oncology, but bridging the lab and the bedside requires the ability to efficiently interrogate rare genetic lesions in unexpected pathological settings using preclinical models. Oncogenes can exhibit intrinsic drug resistance to targeted therapy in different cells of origin, adding complexity to clinical interpretations of genomic findings. Here, we capitalize on the flexibility of engineered cell systems to rapidly profile known multi-kinase inhibitors that harbor rearranged during transfection (RET) kinase activity across multiple RET fusions. Identifying ponatinib as the most potent RET inhibitor tested, we used ponatinib to gauge therapeutic responsiveness in RET fusion-positive patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models. Using a genomics guided outlier approach, we identified 4 RET fusion PDX models with 3 different fusion partners (KIF5B, CCDC6, and NCOA4) in both non-small cell lung cancer and colorectal cancer. By comparing ponatinib activity in RET fusion-positive and RET fusion-negative PDX models alongside a standard of care chemotherapeutic agent, we show that RET fusions in colorectal tumors are therapeutically responsive to RET inhibition. Finally, we suggest that coupling engineered cell systems and genomics guided PDX model selection provides a rapid workflow to triage rare genomics findings.
Project description:We generated and compared Drosophila models of RET fusions CCDC6-RET and NCOA4-RET. Both RET fusions directed cells to migrate, delaminate, and undergo EMT, and both resulted in lethality when broadly expressed. In all phenotypes examined, NCOA4-RET was more severe than CCDC6-RET, mirroring their effects on patients. A functional screen against the Drosophila kinome and a library of cancer drugs found that CCDC6-RET and NCOA4-RET acted through different signaling networks and displayed distinct drug sensitivities. Combining data from the kinome and drug screens identified the WEE1 inhibitor AZD1775 plus the multi-kinase inhibitor sorafenib as a synergistic drug combination that is specific for NCOA4-RET. Our work emphasizes the importance of identifying and tailoring a patient's treatment to their specific RET fusion isoform and identifies a multi-targeted therapy that may prove effective against tumors containing the NCOA4-RET fusion.