Publications by authors named "Arturo Galvani"

40 Publications

Discovery of Stereospecific PARP-1 Inhibitor Isoindolinone NMS-P515.

ACS Med Chem Lett 2019 Apr 13;10(4):534-538. Epub 2019 Mar 13.

Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l., Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

Poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) is an enzyme involved in signaling and repair of DNA single strand breaks. PARP-1 employs NAD to modify substrate proteins via the attachment of poly(ADP-ribose) chains. PARP-1 is a well established target in oncology, as testified by the number of marketed drugs (e.g., Lynparza, Rubraca, Zejula, and Talzenna) used for the treatment of ovarian, breast, and prostate tumors. Efforts in investigating an uncharted region of the previously identified isoindolinone carboxamide series delivered ()- (NMS-P515), a potent inhibitor of PARP-1 both in biochemical (: 0.016 μM) and cellular (IC: 0.027 μM) assays. Cocrystal structure allowed explaining NMS-P515 stereospecific inhibition of the target. After having ruled out potential loss of enantiopurity in vitro and in vivo, NMS-P515 was synthesized in an asymmetric fashion. NMS-P515 ADME profile and its antitumor activity in a mouse xenograft cancer model render the compound eligible for further optimization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acsmedchemlett.8b00569DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6466814PMC
April 2019

Afatinib Is a New Therapeutic Approach in Chordoma with a Unique Ability to Target EGFR and Brachyury.

Mol Cancer Ther 2018 03 13;17(3):603-613. Epub 2017 Dec 13.

Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences, Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

Chordomas are rare bone tumors with no approved therapy. These tumors express several activated tyrosine kinase receptors, which prompted attempts to treat patients with tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Although clinical benefit was observed in phase II clinical trials with imatinib and sorafenib, and sporadically also with EGFR inhibitors, therapies evaluated to date have shown modest activity. With the goal of identifying new drugs with immediate therapeutic potential for chordoma patients, we collected clinically approved drugs and other advanced inhibitors of MET, PDGFRβ, and EGFR tyrosine kinases, and assessed their antiproliferative activity against a panel of chordoma cell lines. Chordoma cell lines were not responsive to MET and PDGFRβ inhibitors. U-CH1 and UM-Chor1 were sensitive to all EGFR inhibitors, whereas the remaining cell lines were generally insensitive to these drugs. Afatinib was the only EGFR inhibitor with activity across the chordoma panel. We then investigated the molecular mechanisms behind the responses observed and found that the antiproliferative ICs correlate with the unique ability of afatinib to promote degradation of EGFR and brachyury, an embryonic transcription factor considered a key driver of chordoma. Afatinib displayed potent antitumor efficacy in U-CH1, SF8894, CF322, and CF365 chordoma tumor models In the panel analyzed, high EGFR phosphorylation and low AXL and STK33 expression correlated with higher sensitivity to afatinib and deserve further investigation as potential biomarkers of response. These data support the use of afatinib in clinical trials and provide the rationale for the upcoming European phase II study on afatinib in advanced chordoma. .
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-17-0324DOI Listing
March 2018

Establishment and genomic characterization of the new chordoma cell line Chor-IN-1.

Sci Rep 2017 08 23;7(1):9226. Epub 2017 Aug 23.

Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences, Nerviano, (MI), Italy.

Chordomas are rare, slowly growing tumors with high medical need, arising in the axial skeleton from notochord remnants. The transcription factor "brachyury" represents a distinctive molecular marker and a key oncogenic driver of chordomas. Tyrosine kinase receptors are also expressed, but so far kinase inhibitors have not shown clear clinical efficacy in chordoma patients. The need for effective therapies is extremely high, but the paucity of established chordoma cell lines has limited preclinical research. Here we describe the isolation of the new Chor-IN-1 cell line from a recurrent sacral chordoma and its characterization as compared to other chordoma cell lines. Chor-IN-1 displays genomic identity to the tumor of origin and has morphological features, growth characteristics and chromosomal abnormalities typical of chordoma, with expression of brachyury and other relevant biomarkers. Chor-IN-1 gene variants, copy number alterations and kinome gene expression were analyzed in comparison to other four chordoma cell lines, generating large scale DNA and mRNA genomic data that can be exploited for the identification of novel pharmacological targets and candidate predictive biomarkers of drug sensitivity in chordoma. The establishment of this new, well characterized chordoma cell line provides a useful tool for the identification of drugs active in chordoma.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-10044-3DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5569021PMC
August 2017

Phase I dose escalation study of NMS-1286937, an orally available Polo-Like Kinase 1 inhibitor, in patients with advanced or metastatic solid tumors.

Invest New Drugs 2018 02 20;36(1):85-95. Epub 2017 Jul 20.

Virginia G. Piper Cancer Centers at Scottsdale Healthcare, Scottsdale, AZ, USA.

Background Pharmacological inhibition of polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) represents a new approach for the treatment of solid tumors. This study was aimed at determining the first cycle dose-limiting toxicities (DLTs) and related maximum tolerated dose (MTD) of NMS-1286937, a selective ATP-competitive PLK1-specific inhibitor. Secondary objectives included evaluation of its safety and pharmacokinetic (PK) profile in plasma, its antitumor activity, and its ability to modulate intracellular targets in biopsied tissue. Methods This was a Phase I, open-label, dose-escalation trial in patients with advanced/metastatic solid tumors. A treatment cycle comprised 5 days of oral administration followed by 16 days of rest, for a total of 21 days (3-week cycle). Results Nineteen of 21 enrolled patients with confirmed metastatic disease received study medication. No DLTs occurred at the first 3 dose levels (6, 12, and 24 mg/m/day). At the subsequent dose level (48 mg/m/day), 2 of 3 patients developed DLTs. An intermediate level of 36 mg/m/day was therefore investigated. Four patients were treated and two DLTs were observed. After further cohort expansion, the MTD and recommended phase II dose (RP2D) were determined to be 24 mg/m/day. Disease stabilization, observed in several patients, was the best treatment response observed. Hematological toxicity (mostly thrombocytopenia and neutropenia) was the major DLT. Systemic exposure to NMS-1286937 increased with dose and was comparable between two cycles of treatment following oral administration of the drug. Conclusions This study successfully identified the MTD and DLTs for NMS-1286937 and characterized its safety profile.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10637-017-0491-7DOI Listing
February 2018

Discovery of Entrectinib: A New 3-Aminoindazole As a Potent Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase (ALK), c-ros Oncogene 1 Kinase (ROS1), and Pan-Tropomyosin Receptor Kinases (Pan-TRKs) inhibitor.

J Med Chem 2016 Apr 30;59(7):3392-408. Epub 2016 Mar 30.

Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences Srl , Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

Anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) is a receptor tyrosine kinase responsible for the development of different tumor types. Despite the remarkable clinical activity of crizotinib (Xalkori), the first ALK inhibitor approved in 2011, the emergence of resistance mutations and of brain metastases frequently causes relapse in patients. Within our ALK drug discovery program, we identified compound 1, a novel 3-aminoindazole active on ALK in biochemical and in cellular assays. Its optimization led to compound 2 (entrectinib), a potent orally available ALK inhibitor active on ALK-dependent cell lines, efficiently penetrant the blood-brain barrier (BBB) in different animal species and highly efficacious in in vivo xenograft models. Moreover, entrectinib resulted to be strictly potent on the closely related tyrosine kinases ROS1 and TRKs recently found constitutively activated in several tumor types. Entrectinib is currently undergoing phase I/II clinical trial for the treatment of patients affected by ALK-, ROS1-, and TRK-positive tumors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.6b00064DOI Listing
April 2016

Entrectinib, a Pan-TRK, ROS1, and ALK Inhibitor with Activity in Multiple Molecularly Defined Cancer Indications.

Mol Cancer Ther 2016 04 3;15(4):628-39. Epub 2016 Mar 3.

Nerviano Medical Sciences srl, Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

Activated ALK and ROS1 tyrosine kinases, resulting from chromosomal rearrangements, occur in a subset of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) as well as other tumor types and their oncogenic relevance as actionable targets has been demonstrated by the efficacy of selective kinase inhibitors such as crizotinib, ceritinib, and alectinib. More recently, low-frequency rearrangements of TRK kinases have been described in NSCLC, colorectal carcinoma, glioblastoma, and Spitzoid melanoma. Entrectinib, whose discovery and preclinical characterization are reported herein, is a novel, potent inhibitor of ALK, ROS1, and, importantly, of TRK family kinases, which shows promise for therapy of tumors bearing oncogenic forms of these proteins. Proliferation profiling against over 200 human tumor cell lines revealed that entrectinib is exquisitely potent in vitro against lines that are dependent on the drug's pharmacologic targets. Oral administration of entrectinib to tumor-bearing mice induced regression in relevant human xenograft tumors, including the TRKA-dependent colorectal carcinoma KM12, ROS1-driven tumors, and several ALK-dependent models of different tissue origins, including a model of brain-localized lung cancer metastasis. Entrectinib is currently showing great promise in phase I/II clinical trials, including the first documented objective responses to a TRK inhibitor in colorectal carcinoma and in NSCLC. The drug is, thus, potentially suited to the therapy of several molecularly defined cancer settings, especially that of TRK-dependent tumors, for which no approved drugs are currently available. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(4); 628-39. ©2016 AACR.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-15-0758DOI Listing
April 2016

Novel CAD-ALK gene rearrangement is drugable by entrectinib in colorectal cancer.

Br J Cancer 2015 Dec 3;113(12):1730-4. Epub 2015 Dec 3.

Niguarda Cancer Center, Ospedale Niguarda Ca' Granda, 20162 Milan, Italy.

Background: Activated anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) gene fusions are recurrent events in a small fraction of colorectal cancers (CRCs), although these events have not yet been exploited as in other malignancies.

Methods: We detected ALK protein expression by immunohistochemistry and gene rearrangements by fluorescence in situ hybridisation in the ALKA-372-001 phase I study of the pan-Trk, ROS1, and ALK inhibitor entrectinib. One out of 487 CRCs showed ALK positivity with a peculiar pattern that prompted further characterisation by targeted sequencing using anchored multiplex PCR.

Results: A novel ALK fusion with the carbamoyl-phosphate synthetase 2, aspartate transcarbamylase, and dihydroorotase (CAD) gene (CAD-ALK fusion gene) was identified. It resulted from inversion within chromosome 2 and the fusion of exons 1-35 of CAD with exons 20-29 of ALK. After failure of previous standard therapies, treatment of this patient with the ALK inhibitor entrectinib resulted in a durable objective tumour response.

Conclusions: We describe the novel CAD-ALK rearrangement as an oncogene and provide the first evidence of its drugability as a new molecular target in CRC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/bjc.2015.401DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4701996PMC
December 2015

Sensitivity to Entrectinib Associated With a Novel LMNA-NTRK1 Gene Fusion in Metastatic Colorectal Cancer.

J Natl Cancer Inst 2016 Jan 12;108(1). Epub 2015 Nov 12.

Niguarda Cancer Center, Ospedale Niguarda Ca' Granda, Milan, Italy (ASB, AA, EV, LP, EB, GM, SV, AV, SS); Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l Nerviano, Milan, Italy (EA, RB, AS, LR, PB, AL, RA, AG, AI); Candiolo Cancer Institute - FPO, IRCCS, Candiolo, Torino, Italy (SM, AB); University of Torino, Department of Oncology, Candiolo, Torino, Italy (AB); FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology (IFOM), Milano, Italy (SM); Ignyta, Inc., San Diego, CA (DL, ZH, JL); Clioss S.r.l. Nerviano, Milan, Italy (MM, CD); Università degli Studi di Milano, Milan, Italy (SS).

In metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC), actionable genetic lesions represent potential clinical opportunities. NTRK1, 2, and 3 gene rearrangements encode oncogenic fusions of the tropomyosin-receptor kinase (TRK) family of receptor tyrosine kinases in different tumor types. The TPM3-NTRK1 rearrangement is a recurring event in CRC that renders tumors sensitive to TRKA kinase inhibitors in preclinical models. We identified abnormal expression of the TRKA protein in tumor and liver metastases of a CRC patient refractory to standard therapy. Molecular characterization unveiled a novel LMNA-NTRK1 rearrangement within chromosome 1 with oncogenic potential, and the patient was treated with the pan-TRK inhibitor entrectinib, achieving partial response with decrease in hepatic target lesions from 6.8 and 8.2cm in longest diameter to 4.7 and 4.3cm, respectively. To our knowledge, this is the first clinical evidence of efficacy for therapeutic inhibition of TRKA in a solid tumor, illuminating a genomic-driven strategy to identify CRCs reliant on this oncogene to be clinically targeted with entrectinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/jnci/djv306DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4712682PMC
January 2016

Identification of thyroid tumor cell vulnerabilities through a siRNA-based functional screening.

Oncotarget 2015 Oct;6(33):34629-48

Molecular Mechanisms Unit, Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy.

The incidence of thyroid carcinoma is rapidly increasing. Although generally associated with good prognosis, a fraction of thyroid tumors are not cured by standard therapy and progress to aggressive forms for which no effective treatments are currently available. In order to identify novel therapeutic targets for thyroid carcinoma, we focused on the discovery of genes essential for sustaining the oncogenic phenotype of thyroid tumor cells, but not required to the same degree for the viability of normal cells (non-oncogene addiction paradigm). We screened a siRNA oligonucleotide library targeting the human druggable genome in thyroid cancer BCPAP cell line in comparison with immortalized normal human thyrocytes (Nthy-ori 3-1). We identified a panel of hit genes whose silencing interferes with the growth of tumor cells, while sparing that of normal ones. Further analysis of three selected hit genes, namely Cyclin D1, MASTL and COPZ1, showed that they represent common vulnerabilities for thyroid tumor cells, as their inhibition reduced the viability of several thyroid tumor cell lines, regardless the histotype or oncogenic lesion. This work identified non-oncogenes essential for sustaining the phenotype of thyroid tumor cells, but not of normal cells, thus suggesting that they might represent promising targets for new therapeutic strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5282DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4741478PMC
October 2015

Discovery of 2-[1-(4,4-Difluorocyclohexyl)piperidin-4-yl]-6-fluoro-3-oxo-2,3-dihydro-1H-isoindole-4-carboxamide (NMS-P118): A Potent, Orally Available, and Highly Selective PARP-1 Inhibitor for Cancer Therapy.

J Med Chem 2015 Sep 26;58(17):6875-98. Epub 2015 Aug 26.

Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences Srl , Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

The nuclear protein poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase-1 (PARP-1) has a well-established role in the signaling and repair of DNA and is a prominent target in oncology, as testified by the number of candidates in clinical testing that unselectively target both PARP-1 and its closest isoform PARP-2. The goal of our program was to find a PARP-1 selective inhibitor that would potentially mitigate toxicities arising from cross-inhibition of PARP-2. Thus, an HTS campaign on the proprietary Nerviano Medical Sciences (NMS) chemical collection, followed by SAR optimization, allowed us to discover 2-[1-(4,4-difluorocyclohexyl)piperidin-4-yl]-6-fluoro-3-oxo-2,3-dihydro-1H-isoindole-4-carboxamide (NMS-P118, 20by). NMS-P118 proved to be a potent, orally available, and highly selective PARP-1 inhibitor endowed with excellent ADME and pharmacokinetic profiles and high efficacy in vivo both as a single agent and in combination with Temozolomide in MDA-MB-436 and Capan-1 xenograft models, respectively. Cocrystal structures of 20by with both PARP-1 and PARP-2 catalytic domain proteins allowed rationalization of the observed selectivity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/acs.jmedchem.5b00680DOI Listing
September 2015

Novel pyrrole carboxamide inhibitors of JAK2 as potential treatment of myeloproliferative disorders.

Bioorg Med Chem 2015 May 28;23(10):2387-407. Epub 2015 Mar 28.

Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l., Oncology, Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano (MI), Italy.

Compound 1, a hit from the screening of our chemical collection displaying activity against JAK2, was deconstructed for SAR analysis into three regions, which were explored. A series of compounds was synthesized leading to the identification of the potent and orally bioavailable JAK2 inhibitor 16 (NMS-P830), which showed an encouraging tumour growth inhibition in SET-2 xenograft tumour model, with evidence for JAK2 pathway suppression demonstrated by in vivo pharmacodynamic effects.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2015.03.059DOI Listing
May 2015

Mcl-1 antagonism is a potential therapeutic strategy in a subset of solid cancers.

Exp Cell Res 2015 Mar 5;332(2):267-77. Epub 2014 Dec 5.

Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l. - Oncology, Viale Pasteur 10, I-20014 Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

Cancer cell survival is frequently dependent on the elevated levels of members of the Bcl-2 family of prosurvival proteins that bind to and inactivate BH3-domain pro-apoptotic cellular proteins. Small molecules that inhibit the protein-protein interactions between prosurvival and proapoptotic Bcl-2 family members (so-called "BH3 mimetics") have a potential therapeutic value, as indicated by clinical findings obtained with ABT-263 (navitoclax), a Bcl-2/Bcl-xL antagonist, and more recently with GDC-0199/ABT-199, a more selective antagonist of Bcl-2. Here, we report study results of the functional role of the prosurvival protein Mcl-1 against a panel of solid cancer cell lines representative of different tumor types. We observed silencing of Mcl-1 expression by small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) significantly reduced viability and induced apoptosis in almost 30% of cell lines tested, including lung and breast adenocarcinoma, as well as glioblastoma derived lines. Most importantly, we provide a mechanistic basis for this sensitivity by showing antagonism of Mcl-1 function with specific BH3 peptides against isolated mitochondria induces Bak oligomerization and cytochrome c release, therefore demonstrating that mitochondria from Mcl-1-sensitive cells depend on Mcl-1 for their integrity and that antagonizing Mcl-1 function is sufficient to induce apoptosis. Thus, our results lend further support for considering Mcl-1 as a therapeutic target in a number of solid cancers and support the rationale for development of small molecule BH3-mimetics antagonists of this protein.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yexcr.2014.11.022DOI Listing
March 2015

Discovery of 2-(cyclohexylmethylamino)pyrimidines as a new class of reversible valosine containing protein inhibitors.

J Med Chem 2014 Dec 12;57(24):10443-54. Epub 2014 Dec 12.

Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l. , Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

Valosine-containing protein (VCP), also known as p97 or cdc48 in yeast, is a highly abundant protein belonging to the AAA ATPase family involved in a number of essential cellular functions, including ubiquitin-proteasome mediated protein degradation, Golgi reassembly, transcription activation, and cell cycle control. Altered expression of VCP has been detected in many cancer types sometimes associated with poor prognosis. Furthermore, VCP mutations are causative of some neurodegenerative disorders. In this paper we report the discovery, synthesis, and structure-activity relationships of substituted 2-aminopyrimidines, representing a new class of reversible VCP inhibitors. This class of compounds, identified in a HTS campaign against recombinant VCP, has been progressively expanded and manipulated to increase biochemical potency and gain cellular activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jm501313xDOI Listing
December 2014

Optimization of diarylthiazole B-raf inhibitors: identification of a compound endowed with high oral antitumor activity, mitigated hERG inhibition, and low paradoxical effect.

ChemMedChem 2015 Feb 27;10(2):276-95. Epub 2014 Nov 27.

Nerviano Medical Sciences Srl, Business Unit Oncology, Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano (MI) (Italy).

Aberrant activation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK)-mediated pathway components, RAF-MEK-ERK, is frequently observed in human cancers and clearly contributes to oncogenesis. As part of a project aimed at finding inhibitors of B-Raf, a key player in the MAPK cascade, we originally identified a thiazole derivative endowed with high potency and selectivity, optimal in vitro ADME properties, and good pharmacokinetic profiles in rodents, but that suffers from elevated hERG inhibitory activity. An optimization program was thus undertaken, focused mainly on the elaboration of the R(1) and R(2) groups of the scaffold. This effort ultimately led to N-(4-{2-(1-cyclopropylpiperidin-4-yl)-4-[3-(2,5-difluorobenzenesulfonylamino)-2-fluorophenyl]thiazol-5-yl}-pyridin-2-yl)acetamide (20), which maintains favorable in vitro and in vivo properties, but lacks hERG liability. Besides exhibiting potent antiproliferative activity against only cell lines bearing B-Raf V600E or V600D mutations, compound 20 also intriguingly shows a weaker "paradoxical" activation of MEK in non-mutant B-Raf cells than other known B-Raf inhibitors. It also demonstrates very good efficacy in vivo against the A375 xenograft melanoma model (tumor volume inhibition >90% at 10 mg kg(-1) ); it is therefore a suitable candidate for preclinical development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cmdc.201402424DOI Listing
February 2015

Pyrrole-3-carboxamides as potent and selective JAK2 inhibitors.

Bioorg Med Chem 2014 Sep 21;22(17):4998-5012. Epub 2014 Jun 21.

Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l., Oncology, Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano (MI), Italy.

We report herein the discovery, structure guided design, synthesis and biological evaluation of a novel class of JAK2 inhibitors. Optimization of the series led to the identification of the potent and orally bioavailable JAK2 inhibitor 28 (NMS-P953). Compound 28 displayed significant tumour growth inhibition in SET-2 xenograft tumour model, with a mechanism of action confirmed in vivo by typical modulation of known biomarkers, and with a favourable pharmacokinetic and safety profile.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2014.06.025DOI Listing
September 2014

Fragment-based hit discovery and structure-based optimization of aminotriazoloquinazolines as novel Hsp90 inhibitors.

Bioorg Med Chem 2014 Aug 14;22(15):4135-50. Epub 2014 Jun 14.

Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences, Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano (MI), Italy. Electronic address:

In the last decade the heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) has emerged as a major therapeutic target and many efforts have been dedicated to the discovery of Hsp90 inhibitors as new potent anticancer agents. Here we report the identification of a novel class of Hsp90 inhibitors by means of a biophysical FAXS-NMR based screening of a library of fragments. The use of X-ray structure information combined with modeling studies enabled the fragment evolution of the initial triazoloquinazoline hit to a class of compounds with nanomolar potency and drug-like properties suited for further lead optimization.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2014.05.056DOI Listing
August 2014

The TPM3-NTRK1 rearrangement is a recurring event in colorectal carcinoma and is associated with tumor sensitivity to TRKA kinase inhibition.

Mol Oncol 2014 Dec 12;8(8):1495-507. Epub 2014 Jun 12.

Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l., Nerviano (Milan), Italy.

The NTRK1 gene encodes Tropomyosin-related kinase A (TRKA), the high-affinity Nerve Growth Factor Receptor. NTRK1 was originally isolated from a colorectal carcinoma (CRC) sample as component of a somatic rearrangement (TPM3-NTRK1) resulting in expression of the oncogenic chimeric protein TPM3-TRKA, but there has been no subsequent report regarding the relevance of this oncogene in CRC. The KM12 human CRC cell line expresses the chimeric TPM3-TRKA protein and is hypersensitive to TRKA kinase inhibition. We report the detailed characterization of the TPM3-NTRK1 genomic rearrangement in KM12 cells and through a cellular screening approach, the identification of NMS-P626, a novel highly potent and selective TRKA inhibitor. NMS-P626 suppressed TPM3-TRKA phosphorylation and downstream signaling in KM12 cells and showed remarkable antitumor activity in mice bearing KM12 tumors. Finally, using quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR and immunohistochemistry (IHC) we identified the TPM3-NTRK1 rearrangement in a CRC clinical sample, therefore suggesting that this chromosomal translocation is indeed a low frequency recurring event in CRC and that such patients might benefit from therapy with TRKA kinase inhibitors.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.molonc.2014.06.001DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5528583PMC
December 2014

Discovery and optimization of pyrrolo[1,2-a]pyrazinones leads to novel and selective inhibitors of PIM kinases.

Bioorg Med Chem 2013 Dec 2;21(23):7364-80. Epub 2013 Oct 2.

Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences, viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano (MI), Italy. Electronic address:

A novel series of PIM inhibitors was derived from a combined effort in natural product-inspired library generation and screening. The novel pyrrolo[1,2-a]pyrazinones initial hits are inhibitors of PIM isoforms with IC50 values in the low micromolar range. The application of a rational optimization strategy, guided by the determination of the crystal structure of the complex in the kinase domain of PIM1 with compound 1, led to the discovery of compound 15a, which is a potent PIM kinases inhibitor exhibiting excellent selectivity against a large panel of kinases, representative of each family. The synthesis, structure-activity relationship studies, and pharmacokinetic data of compounds from this inhibitor class are presented herein. Furthermore, the cellular activities including inhibition of cell growth and modulation of downstream targets are also described.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmc.2013.09.054DOI Listing
December 2013

Covalent and allosteric inhibitors of the ATPase VCP/p97 induce cancer cell death.

Nat Chem Biol 2013 Sep 28;9(9):548-56. Epub 2013 Jul 28.

Business Unit Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences, Nerviano, Italy.

VCP (also known as p97 or Cdc48p in yeast) is an AAA(+) ATPase regulating endoplasmic reticulum-associated degradation. After high-throughput screening, we developed compounds that inhibit VCP via different mechanisms, including covalent modification of an active site cysteine and a new allosteric mechanism. Using photoaffinity labeling, structural analysis and mutagenesis, we mapped the binding site of allosteric inhibitors to a region spanning the D1 and D2 domains of adjacent protomers encompassing elements important for nucleotide-state sensing and ATP hydrolysis. These compounds induced an increased affinity for nucleotides. Interference with nucleotide turnover in individual subunits and distortion of interprotomer communication cooperated to impair VCP enzymatic activity. Chemical expansion of this allosteric class identified NMS-873, the most potent and specific VCP inhibitor described to date, which activated the unfolded protein response, interfered with autophagy and induced cancer cell death. The consistent pattern of cancer cell killing by covalent and allosteric inhibitors provided critical validation of VCP as a cancer target.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nchembio.1313DOI Listing
September 2013

NMS-E973, a novel synthetic inhibitor of Hsp90 with activity against multiple models of drug resistance to targeted agents, including intracranial metastases.

Clin Cancer Res 2013 Jul 14;19(13):3520-32. Epub 2013 May 14.

Department of Biotechnology, Nerviano Medical Sciences Srl, Nerviano (MI), Italy.

Purpose: Recent developments of second generation Hsp90 inhibitors suggested a potential for development of this class of molecules also in tumors that have become resistant to molecular targeted agents. Disease progression is often due to brain metastases, sometimes related to insufficient drug concentrations within the brain. Our objective was to identify and characterize a novel inhibitor of Hsp90 able to cross the blood-brain barrier (BBB).

Experimental Design: Here is described a detailed biochemical and crystallographic characterization of NMS-E973. Mechanism-based anticancer activity was described in cell models, including models of resistance to kinase inhibitors. Pharmacokinetics properties were followed in plasma, tumor, liver, and brain. In vivo activity and pharmacodynamics, as well as the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic relationships, were evaluated in xenografts, including an intracranially implanted melanoma model.

Results: NMS-E973, representative of a novel isoxazole-derived class of Hsp90 inhibitors, binds Hsp90α with subnanomolar affinity and high selectivity towards kinases, as well as other ATPases. It possesses potent antiproliferative activity against tumor cell lines and a favorable pharmacokinetic profile, with selective retention in tumor tissue and ability to cross the BBB. NMS-E973 induces tumor shrinkage in different human tumor xenografts, and is highly active in models of resistance to kinase inhibitors. Moreover, consistent with its brain penetration, NMS-E973 is active also in an intracranially implanted melanoma model.

Conclusions: Overall, the efficacy profile of NMS-E973 suggests a potential for development in different clinical settings, including tumors that have become resistant to molecular targeted agents, particularly in cases of tumors which reside beyond the BBB.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-3512DOI Listing
July 2013

Cell line identity finding by fingerprinting, an optimized resource for short tandem repeat profile authentication.

Genet Test Mol Biomarkers 2013 Mar 28;17(3):254-9. Epub 2013 Jan 28.

Business Unit Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l., Nerviano (MI), Italy.

The generation of biological data on wide panels of tumor cell lines is recognized as a valid contribution to the cancer research community. However, research laboratories can benefit from this knowledge only after the identity of each individual cell line used in the experiments is verified and matched to external sources. Among the methods employed to assess cell line identity, DNA fingerprinting by profiling Short Tandem Repeat (STR) at variable loci has become the method of choice. However, the analysis of cancer cell lines is sometimes complicated by their intrinsic genetic instability, resulting in multiple allele calls per locus. In addition, comparison of data across different sources must deal with the heterogeneity of published profiles both in terms of number and type of loci used. The aim of this work is to provide the scientific community a homogeneous reference dataset for 300 widely used tumor cell lines, profiled in parallel on 16 loci. This large dataset is interfaced with an in-house developed software tool for Cell Line Identity Finding by Fingerprinting (CLIFF), featuring an original identity score calculation, which facilitates the comparison of STR profiles from different sources and enables accurate calls when multiple loci are present. CLIFF additionally allows import and query of proprietary STR profile datasets.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/gtmb.2012.0359DOI Listing
March 2013

Alkylsulfanyl-1,2,4-triazoles, a new class of allosteric valosine containing protein inhibitors. Synthesis and structure-activity relationships.

J Med Chem 2013 Jan 4;56(2):437-50. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

Nerviano Medical Sciences S.r.l., Oncology, Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano (MI), Italy.

Valosine containing protein (VCP), also known as p97, is a member of AAA ATPase family that is involved in several biological processes and plays a central role in the ubiquitin-mediated degradation of misfolded proteins. VCP is an ubiquitously expressed, highly abundant protein and has been found overexpressed in many tumor types, sometimes associated with poor prognosis. In this respect, VCP has recently received a great deal of attention as a potential new target for cancer therapy. In this paper, the discovery and structure-activity relationships of alkylsulfanyl-1,2,4-triazoles, a new class of potent, allosteric VCP inhibitors, are described. Medicinal chemistry manipulation of compound 1, identified via HTS, led to the discovery of potent and selective inhibitors with submicromolar activity in cells and clear mechanism of action at consistent doses. This represents a first step toward a new class of potential anticancer agents.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jm3013213DOI Listing
January 2013

ALK Inhibitors, a Pharmaceutical Perspective.

Front Oncol 2012 22;2:17. Epub 2012 Feb 22.

Department of Cell Biology, Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences Milan, Italy.

In 2007, the ALK tyrosine kinase was described as a potential therapeutic target for a subset of non-small-cell lung cancer patients. Clinical proof of concept, culminating in the recent approval by the Food and Drug Administration of the Pfizer drug crizotinib followed in record time. The drug was approved together with a companion diagnostic for detection of patients eligible for therapy. This remarkable example of the coming of age of personalized medicine in cancer therapy is hopefully only an auspice of things to come in a rapidly developing field. Perhaps unsurprisingly, however, the appearance of clinical acquired resistance to crizotinib was observed early on in clinical testing, with the identification of several ALK secondary point mutations which diminish drug efficacy and which open the way for development of second-generation inhibitors. It is also emerging that acquired resistance to crizotinib may additionally occur through ALK-independent mechanisms, which still need to be elucidated in detail. Here we discuss the factors that led to such a rapid approval of a targeted agent, and we describe the second-generation compounds currently in development.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fonc.2012.00017DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3356102PMC
August 2012

Identification of a phenylacylsulfonamide series of dual Bcl-2/Bcl-xL antagonists.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2012 Jun 2;22(12):3946-50. Epub 2012 May 2.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Research, PO Box 4000, Princeton, NJ 08543, USA.

A series of phenylacylsulfonamides has been prepared as antagonists of Bcl-2/Bcl-xL. In addition to potent binding affinities for both Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL, these compounds were shown to induce classical markers of apoptosis in isolated mitochondria. Overall weak cellular potency was improved by the incorporation of polar functionality resulting in compounds with moderate antiproliferative activity.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2012.04.103DOI Listing
June 2012

Pyrazole and pyrimidine phenylacylsulfonamides as dual Bcl-2/Bcl-xL antagonists.

Bioorg Med Chem Lett 2012 Jun 30;22(12):3951-6. Epub 2012 Apr 30.

Bristol-Myers Squibb Research, PO Box 4000, Princeton, NJ 08543-4000, USA.

5-Butyl-1,4-diphenyl pyrazole and 2-amino-5-chloro pyrimidine acylsulfonamides were developed as potent dual antagonists of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL. Compounds were optimized for binding to the I88, L92, I95, and F99 pockets normally occupied by pro-apoptotic protein Bim. An X-ray crystal structure confirmed the proposed binding mode. Observation of cytochrome c release from isolated mitochondria in MV-411 cells provides further evidence of target inhibition. Compounds demonstrated submicromolar antiproliferative activity in Bcl-2/Bcl-xL dependent cell lines.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.bmcl.2012.04.106DOI Listing
June 2012

NMS-P937, an orally available, specific small-molecule polo-like kinase 1 inhibitor with antitumor activity in solid and hematologic malignancies.

Mol Cancer Ther 2012 Apr 7;11(4):1006-16. Epub 2012 Feb 7.

Nerviano Medical Sciences Srl, Nerviano, Milan, Italy.

Polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) is a serine/threonine protein kinase considered to be the master player of cell-cycle regulation during mitosis. It is indeed involved in centrosome maturation, bipolar spindle formation, chromosome separation, and cytokinesis. PLK1 is overexpressed in a variety of human tumors and its overexpression often correlates with poor prognosis. Although five different PLKs are described in humans, depletion or inhibition of kinase activity of PLK1 is sufficient to induce cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in cancer cell lines and in xenograft tumor models. NMS-P937 is a novel, orally available PLK1-specific inhibitor. The compound shows high potency in proliferation assays having low nanomolar activity on a large number of cell lines, both from solid and hematologic tumors. NMS-P937 potently causes a mitotic cell-cycle arrest followed by apoptosis in cancer cell lines and inhibits xenograft tumor growth with clear PLK1-related mechanism of action at well-tolerated doses in mice after oral administration. In addition, NMS-P937 shows potential for combination in clinical settings with approved cytotoxic drugs, causing tumor regression in HT29 human colon adenocarcinoma xenografts upon combination with irinotecan and prolonged survival of animals in a disseminated model of acute myelogenous leukemia in combination with cytarabine. NMS-P937, with its favorable pharmacologic parameters, good oral bioavailability in rodent and nonrodent species, and proven antitumor activity in different preclinical models using a variety of dosing regimens, potentially provides a high degree of flexibility in dosing schedules and warrants investigation in clinical settings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0765DOI Listing
April 2012

Targeting the mitotic checkpoint for cancer therapy with NMS-P715, an inhibitor of MPS1 kinase.

Cancer Res 2010 Dec;70(24):10255-64

Department of Cell Biology-Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences, Viale Pasteur 10, Nerviano 20014, Italy.

MPS1 kinase is a key regulator of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), a mitotic mechanism specifically required for proper chromosomal alignment and segregation. It has been found aberrantly overexpressed in a wide range of human tumors and is necessary for tumoral cell proliferation. Here we report the identification and characterization of NMS-P715, a selective and orally bioavailable MPS1 small-molecule inhibitor, which selectively reduces cancer cell proliferation, leaving normal cells almost unaffected. NMS-P715 accelerates mitosis and affects kinetochore components localization causing massive aneuploidy and cell death in a variety of tumoral cell lines and inhibits tumor growth in preclinical cancer models. Inhibiting the SAC could represent a promising new approach to selectively target cancer cells.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-2101DOI Listing
December 2010

Cdc7 kinase inhibitors: 5-heteroaryl-3-carboxamido-2-aryl pyrroles as potential antitumor agents. 1. Lead finding.

J Med Chem 2010 Oct;53(20):7296-315

Nerviano Medical Sciences Srl, Business Unit Oncology, Viale Pasteur 10, 20014 Nerviano, MI, Italy.

Cdc7 serine/threonine kinase is a key regulator of DNA synthesis in eukaryotic organisms. Cdc7 inhibition through siRNA or prototype small molecules causes p53 independent apoptosis in tumor cells while reversibly arresting cell cycle progression in primary fibroblasts. This implies that Cdc7 kinase could be considered a potential target for anticancer therapy. We previously reported that pyrrolopyridinones (e.g., 1) are potent and selective inhibitors of Cdc7 kinase, with good cellular potency and in vitro ADME properties but with suboptimal pharmacokinetic profiles. Here we report on a new chemical class of 5-heteroaryl-3-carboxamido-2-substituted pyrroles (1A) that offers advantages of chemistry diversification and synthetic simplification. This work led to the identification of compound 18, with biochemical data and ADME profile similar to those of compound 1 but characterized by superior efficacy in an in vivo model. Derivative 18 represents a new lead compound worthy of further investigation toward the ultimate goal of identifying a clinical candidate.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/jm100504dDOI Listing
October 2010

Dual targeting of CDK and tropomyosin receptor kinase families by the oral inhibitor PHA-848125, an agent with broad-spectrum antitumor efficacy.

Mol Cancer Ther 2010 Aug 3;9(8):2243-54. Epub 2010 Aug 3.

Cell Biology Department, BU Oncology, Nerviano Medical Sciences, v.le Pasteur 10, Nerviano, Milan 20014, Italy.

Altered expression and activity of cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) and tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK) families are observed in a wide variety of tumors. In those malignancies with aberrant CDK activation, the retinoblastoma protein (pRb) pathway is deregulated, leading to uncontrolled cell proliferation. Constitutive activation of TRKs is instead linked to cancer cell survival and dissemination. Here, we show that the novel small-molecule PHA-848125, a potent dual inhibitor of CDKs and TRKs, possesses significant antitumor activity. The compound inhibits cell proliferation of a wide panel of tumoral cell lines with submicromolar IC(50). PHA-848125-treated cells show cell cycle arrest in G(1) and reduced DNA synthesis, accompanied by inhibition of pRb phosphorylation and modulation of other CDK-dependent markers. The compound additionally inhibits phosphorylation of TRKA and its substrates in cells, which functionally express this receptor. Following oral administration, PHA-848125 has significant antitumor activity in various human xenografts and carcinogen-induced tumors as well as in disseminated primary leukemia models, with plasma concentrations in rodents in the same range as those found active in inhibiting cancer cell proliferation. Mechanism of action was also confirmed in vivo as assessed in tumor biopsies from treated mice. These results show that the dual CDK-TRK inhibitor PHA-848125 has the potential for being a novel and efficacious targeted drug for cancer treatment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-10-0190DOI Listing
August 2010