Dissecting the biological heterogeneity of HER2-positive breast cancer.
ABSTRACT: HER2-positive (HER2+) breast cancer (BC) is a heterogenous and multifaceted disease, with interesting therapeutic implications. First, all intrinsic molecular subtypes can be identified in HER2+ tumors, with the HER2-enriched being the most frequent. Such subtypes do not differ much from their counterparts in HER2-negative disease, apart for the high expression of genes in/near the HER2 amplicon on chromosome 17. Intrinsic subtyping, along with the quantification of ERBB2 mRNA levels, is associated with higher rates of pathologic complete response across neoadjuvant trials of dual HER2 blockade and might help select patients for de-escalation and escalation treatment strategies. Secondly, HER2+ tumors have a broad range of DNA alterations. ERBB2 mutations and alterations in the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway are among the most frequent and might predict benefit from potent pan-HER, PI3K and mTOR inhibitors. Moreover, HER2+ tumors are usually infiltrated by lymphocytes. These tumor infiltrating-lymphocytes (TILs) predict response to neoadjuvant anti-HER2-based treatment and exert a prognostic role. PD-L1, detected in ∼42 % of HER2+ BC, might also be useful to define patients responding to novel anti-PD1/PD-L1 immunotherapies. New multiparametric clinicopathologic and genomic tools accounting for this complexity, such as HER2DX, are under development to define more tailored treatment approaches. Finally, HER2-targeted antibody-drug conjugates (ADC) such as trastuzumab deruxtecan might be active in tumors with low expression of HER2. Overall, there is a need to molecularly characterize and develop novel targeted therapies for HER2+ disease.
Project description:<h4>Simple Summary</h4> The prognosis for advanced Extramammary Paget’s disease (EMPD) is almost always poor. HER2-targeted antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) such as trastuzumab emtansine and trastuzumab deruxtecan have proven to be effective against HER2-positive breast cancers; however, no studies have addressed HER2-targeted ADCs as treatments for EMPD. We examine the efficacy of ADCs against an EMPD patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model harboring pathogenic ERBB2 mutations. Treatment with trastuzumab emtansine or trastuzumab deruxtecan was found to significantly regress EMPD-PDX tumors in only seven days, with no recurrence observed for 10 weeks. Our results suggest that HER2-targeted ADCs could be novel and promising treatment options for patients with EMPD, especially in cases with the ERBB2-mutation or ERBB2-overexpression. <h4>Abstract</h4> Extramammary Paget’s disease (EMPD) is an adenocarcinoma that develops mainly in the genital region of older adults. The prognosis for advanced EMPD is almost always poor; thus, novel therapeutic strategies need to be developed. HER2-targeted antibody–drug conjugates (ADCs) such as trastuzumab emtansine and trastuzumab deruxtecan have proven effective against HER2-positive breast cancers; however, no studies have addressed HER2-targeted ADCs as treatments for EMPD. We examine the efficacy of ADCs against an EMPD patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model harboring pathogenic ERBB2 mutations and investigate the expression levels of HER2 using EMPD clinical samples. Trastuzumab emtansine or trastuzumab deruxtecan was administered intravenously to tumor-bearing NOD/Scid mice. Treatment with trastuzumab emtansine or trastuzumab deruxtecan was found to significantly regress EMPD-PDX tumors in only seven days, with no recurrence observed for 10 weeks. EMPD tumors extracted 48 h after drug administration revealed the TUNEL-positive ratio to be significantly higher for the HER2-targeted ADC-treated tumors than for the control tumors. EMPD patients’ clinical samples revealed a significant correlation between HER2 positivity and invasion, suggesting that HER2 status is associated with tumor progression. Our results suggest that HER2-targeted ADCs could be novel and promising treatment options for patients with EMPD, especially in ERBB2-mutant or ERBB2-overexpressed cases.
Project description:Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2-positive breast cancer (HER2+ BC) is defined by increased amplification of the ERBB2/neu oncogene and/or overexpression of its associated HER2 transmembrane receptor protein. HER2+ BC represents approximately 15-20% of breast cancer, and it is independently associated with a higher grade, more aggressive phenotype, and worse prognosis. With the advent of trastuzumab, the prognostic landscape for HER2+ BC patients has considerably improved. However, both de novo and acquired resistance to trastuzumab remain a significant obstacle for many patients, requiring novel therapies for further clinical benefit. Over the last two decades, there has been extraordinary progress in the development of HER2+ BC treatment regimens, with extensions into HER2-amplified gastroesophageal junction cancer via the NCI-MATCH precision medicine trial program (NCT02465060). Trastuzumab, pertuzumab, T-DM1, and lapatinib are commonly recommended as a single agent (along with chemotherapy) or in combinations of anti-HER2 agents in neoadjuvant, adjuvant and metastatic settings according to National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) guidelines. Currently, the combination of trastuzumab, pertuzumab, and taxane chemotherapy are first-line for HER2+/HR- metastatic breast cancer with potential breakthrough therapies such as trastuzumab-deruxtecan (DS-8201a), margetuximab and tucatinib (ONT-380) on the horizon. Furthermore, recent clinical trials have demonstrated the potential utility of hormone receptor status, PAM-50 luminal intrinsic subtype, PD-L1, and TIL as predictive biomarkers for response to HER2+ therapies. We briefly introduce the origin of HER2, the invention of trastuzumab, and the classification of HER2+ BC. Each HER2-targeted therapy is then presented by indication, mechanism of action, and relevant clinical trials with subsequent elaboration and contextualization within clinical settings with an epilogue of potential future biomarkers for clinical use in HER2+ BC. We summarize the most significant and updated research in clinical practice relevant to HER2+ BC management and highlight the clinical status of upcoming anti-HER2 agents as well as immunotherapy drugs in combination with anti-HER2 agents.
Project description:PURPOSE:HER2?+?breast cancer (BC) is an aggressive subtype with high rates of brain metastases (BCBM). Two-thirds of HER2?+?BCBM demonstrate activation of the PI3K/mTOR pathway driving resistance to anti-HER2 therapy. This phase II study evaluated everolimus (E), a brain-permeable mTOR inhibitor, trastuzumab (T), and vinorelbine (V) in patients with HER2?+?BCBM. PATIENTS AND METHODS:Eligible patients had progressive HER2?+?BCBM. The primary endpoint was intracranial response rate (RR); secondary objectives were CNS clinical benefit rate (CBR), extracranial RR, time to progression (TTP), overall survival (OS), and targeted sequencing of tumors from enrolled patients. A two-stage design distinguished intracranial RR of 5% versus 20%. RESULTS:32 patients were evaluable for toxicity, 26 for efficacy. Intracranial RR was 4% (1 PR). CNS CBR at 6 mos was 27%; at 3 mos 65%. Median intracranial TTP was 3.9 mos (95% CI 2.2-5). OS was 12.2 mos (95% CI 0.6-20.2). Grade 3-4 toxicities included neutropenia (41%), anemia (16%), and stomatitis (16%). Mutations in TP53 and PIK3CA were common in BCBM. Mutations in the PI3K/mTOR pathway were not associated with response. ERBB2 amplification was higher in BCBM compared to primary BC; ERBB2 amplification in the primary BC trended toward worse OS. CONCLUSION:While intracranial RR to ETV was low in HER2?+?BCBM patients, one-third achieved CNS CBR; TTP/OS was similar to historical control. No new toxicity signals were observed. Further analysis of the genomic underpinnings of BCBM to identify tractable prognostic and/or predictive biomarkers is warranted. CLINICAL TRIAL:(NCT01305941).
Project description:Trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) is approved for the treatment of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive (HER2+) metastatic breast cancer (BC) and for residual disease after neoadjuvant therapy; however, not all patients benefit. Here, we hypothesized that the heterogeneity in the response seen in patients is partly explained by the levels of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 gene (ERBB2) mRNA. We analyzed ERBB2 expression using a clinically applicable assay in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tumors (primary or metastatic) from a retrospective series of 77 patients with advanced HER2+ BC treated with T-DM1. The association of ERBB2 levels and response was further validated in 161 baseline tumors from the West German Study (WGS) Group ADAPT phase II trial exploring neoadjuvant T-DM1 and 9 in vitro BC cell lines. Finally, ERBB2 expression was explored in 392 BCs from an in-house dataset, 368 primary BCs from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) dataset and 10,071 tumors representing 33 cancer types from the PanCancer TCGA dataset. High ERBB2 mRNA was found associated with better response and progression-free survival in the metastatic setting and higher rates of pathological complete response in the neoadjuvant setting. ERBB2 expression also correlated with in vitro response to T-DM1. Finally, our assay identified 0.20-8.41% of tumors across 15 cancer types as ERBB2-high, including gastric and esophagus adenocarcinomas, urothelial carcinoma, cervical squamous carcinoma and pancreatic cancer. In particular, we identified high ERBB2 mRNA in a patient with HER2+ advanced gastric cancer who achieved a long-lasting partial response to T-DM1. Our study demonstrates that the heterogeneity in response to T-DM1 is partly explained by ERBB2 levels and provides a clinically applicable assay to be tested in future clinical trials of breast cancer and other cancer types.
Project description:Prognostic or predictive biomarkers in HER2-positive early breast cancer (EBC) may inform treatment optimization. The ADAPT HER2-positive/hormone receptor-positive phase II trial (NCT01779206) demonstrated pathological complete response (pCR) rates of ~40% following de-escalated treatment with 12 weeks neoadjuvant ado-trastuzumab emtansine (T-DM1) ± endocrine therapy. In this exploratory analysis, we evaluated potential early predictors of response to neoadjuvant therapy. The effects of <i>PIK3CA</i> mutations and immune (CD8 and PD-L1) and apoptotic markers (BCL2 and MCL1) on pCR rates were assessed, along with intrinsic BC subtypes. Immune response and pCR were lower in <i>PIK3CA</i>-mutated tumors compared with wildtype. Increased BCL2 at baseline in all patients and at Cycle 2 in the T-DM1 arms was associated with lower pCR. In the T-DM1 arms only, the HER2-enriched subtype was associated with increased pCR rate (54% vs. 28%). These findings support further prospective pCR-driven de-escalation studies in patients with HER2-positive EBC.
Project description:In locally advanced (LA) breast cancer (BC), neoadjuvant treatments have led to major achievements, which hold particular relevance in HER2-positive and triple-negative BC. Conversely, their role in hormone receptor positive (HR+), hormone epidermal growth factor 2 negative (HER2-) BC is still under debate, mainly due to the generally low rates of pathological complete response (pCR) and lower accuracy of pCR as predictors of long-term outcomes in this patient subset. While administration of neoadjuvant chemotherapy (NCT) in LA, HR+, HER2- BC patients is widely used in clinical practice, neoadjuvant endocrine therapy (NET) still retains an unfulfilled potential in the management of these subgroups, particularly in elderly and unfit patients. In addition, NET has gained a central role as a platform to test new drugs and predictive biomarkers in previously untreated patients. We herein present historical data regarding Tamoxifen and/or Aromatase Inhibitors and a debate on recent evidence regarding agents such as CDK4/6 and PI3K/mTOR inhibitors in the neoadjuvant setting. We also discuss key issues concerning the optimal treatment length, appropriate comparisons with NCT efficacy and use of NET in premenopausal patients.
Project description:PURPOSE:We examined the role of ERBB2-activating mutations in endocrine therapy resistance in estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN:ERBB2 mutation frequency was determined from large genomic databases. Isogenic knock-in ERBB2 mutations in ER+ MCF7 cells and xenografts were used to investigate estrogen-independent growth. Structural analysis was used to determine the molecular interaction of HER L755S with HER3. Small molecules and siRNAs were used to inhibit PI3K?, TORC1, and HER3. RESULTS:Genomic data revealed a higher rate of ERBB2 mutations in metastatic versus primary ER+ tumors. MCF7 cells with isogenically incorporated ERBB2 kinase domain mutations exhibited resistance to estrogen deprivation and to fulvestrant both in vitro and in vivo, despite maintaining inhibition of ER? transcriptional activity. Addition of the irreversible HER2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor neratinib restored sensitivity to fulvestrant. HER2-mutant MCF7 cells expressed higher levels of p-HER3, p-AKT, and p-S6 than cells with wild-type HER2. Structural analysis of the HER2 L755S variant implicated a more flexible active state, potentially allowing for enhanced dimerization with HER3. Treatment with a PI3K? inhibitor, a TORC1 inhibitor or HER3 siRNA, but not a MEK inhibitor, restored sensitivity to fulvestrant and to estrogen deprivation. Inhibition of mutant HER2 or TORC1, when combined with fulvestrant, equipotently inhibited growth of MCF7/ERBB2 V777L xenografts, suggesting a role for TORC1 in antiestrogen resistance induced by ERBB2 mutations. CONCLUSIONS:ERBB2 mutations hyperactivate the HER3/PI3K/AKT/mTOR axis, leading to antiestrogen resistance in ER+ breast cancer. Dual blockade of the HER2 and ER pathways is required for the treatment of ER+/HER2 mutant breast cancers.
Project description:Overexpression of the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) is the cause of HER2-positive breast cancer (BC). Although HER2-inactivating therapies have benefited BC patients, development of resistance and disease recurrence have been the major clinical problems, pointing to a need for alternative therapeutic strategies. For that to happen, proteins that play critical roles in the biology of HER2-induced tumorigenesis have to be identified and characterized. Here, we show that the Src homology phosphotyrosyl phosphatase 2 (Shp2) encoded by the Ptpn11 gene is a requisite for ErbB2-induced tumorigenesis. We report that conditional knockout of Shp2 alleles in the ErbB2 BC model mice abrogates mammary tumorigenesis by blocking the expression of the ErbB2 transgene. We also show that inhibition of SHP2 encoded by the PTPN11 gene in the HER2-amplified BC cells induces a normal-like cellular phenotype and suppresses tumorigenesis and metastasis by blocking HER2 overexpression. These findings demonstrate that ErbB2-induced tumors in mice or xenograft tumors induced by transplantation of HER2-amplified BC cells are vulnerable to SHP2 inhibition since it abrogates the expression of the very oncogene that causes of the disease. This report paves the way for developing SHP2-targeting therapies for BC treatment in the future.
Project description:PIK3CA mutations are reported to be present in approximately 25% of breast cancer (BC), particularly the estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) and HER2-overexpressing (HER2+) subtypes, making them one of the most common genetic aberrations in BC. In experimental models, these mutations have been shown to activate AKT and induce oncogenic transformation, and hence these lesions have been hypothesized to render tumors highly sensitive to therapeutic PI3K/mTOR inhibition. By analyzing gene expression and protein data from nearly 1,800 human BCs, we report that a PIK3CA mutation-associated gene signature (PIK3CA-GS) derived from exon 20 (kinase domain) mutations was able to predict PIK3CA mutation status in two independent datasets, strongly suggesting a characteristic set of gene expression-induced changes. However, in ER+/HER2- BC despite pathway activation, PIK3CA mutations were associated with a phenotype of relatively low mTORC1 signaling and a good prognosis with tamoxifen monotherapy. The relationship between clinical outcome and the PIK3CA-GS was also assessed. Although the PIK3CA-GS was not associated with prognosis in ER- and HER2+ BC, it could identify better clinical outcomes in ER+/HER2- disease. In ER+ BC cell lines, PIK3CA mutations were also associated with sensitivity to tamoxifen. These findings could have important implications for the treatment of PIK3CA-mutant BCs and the development of PI3K/mTOR inhibitors.
Project description:Combinatorial targeted therapies are more effective in treating cancer by blocking by-pass mechanisms or inducing synthetic lethality. However, their clinical application is hampered by resistance and toxicity. To meet this important challenge, we developed and tested a novel concept of biomarker-guided sequential applications of various targeted therapies using ErbB2-overexpressing/PTEN-low, highly aggressive breast cancer as our model. Strikingly, sustained activation of ErbB2 and downstream pathways drives trastuzumab resistance in both PTEN-low/trastuzumab-resistant breast cancers from patients and mammary tumors with intratumoral heterogeneity from genetically-engineered mice. Although lapatinib initially inhibited trastuzumab-resistant mouse tumors, tumors by-passed the inhibition by activating the PI3K/mTOR signaling network as shown by the quantitative protein arrays. Interestingly, activation of the mTOR pathway was also observed in neoadjuvant lapatinib-treated patients manifesting lapatinib resistance. Trastuzumab + lapatinib resistance was effectively overcome by sequential application of a PI3K/mTOR dual kinase inhibitor (BEZ235) with no significant toxicity. However, our p-RTK array analysis demonstrated that BEZ235 treatment led to increased ErbB2 expression and phosphorylation in genetically-engineered mouse tumors and in 3-D, but not 2-D, culture, leading to BEZ235 resistance. Mechanistically, we identified ErbB2 protein stabilization and activation as a novel mechanism of BEZ235 resistance, which was reversed by subsequent treatment with lapatinib + BEZ235 combination. Remarkably, this sequential application of targeted therapies guided by biomarker changes in the tumors rapidly evolving resistance doubled the life-span of mice bearing exceedingly aggressive tumors. This fundamentally novel approach of using targeted therapies in a sequential order can effectively target and reprogram the signaling networks in cancers evolving resistance during treatment.