Publications by authors named "Erdem Altunel"

5 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

A Comparative Oncology Drug Discovery Pipeline to Identify and Validate New Treatments for Osteosarcoma.

Cancers (Basel) 2020 Nov 11;12(11). Epub 2020 Nov 11.

Department of Medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.

Background: Osteosarcoma is a rare but aggressive bone cancer that occurs primarily in children. Like other rare cancers, treatment advances for osteosarcoma have stagnated, with little improvement in survival for the past several decades. Developing new treatments has been hampered by extensive genomic heterogeneity and limited access to patient samples to study the biology of this complex disease.

Methods: To overcome these barriers, we combined the power of comparative oncology with patient-derived models of cancer and high-throughput chemical screens in a cross-species drug discovery pipeline.

Results: Coupling in vitro high-throughput drug screens on low-passage and established cell lines with in vivo validation in patient-derived xenografts we identify the proteasome and CRM1 nuclear export pathways as therapeutic sensitivities in osteosarcoma, with dual inhibition of these pathways inducing synergistic cytotoxicity.

Conclusions: These collective efforts provide an experimental framework and set of new tools for osteosarcoma and other rare cancers to identify and study new therapeutic vulnerabilities.
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November 2020

A Precision Medicine Drug Discovery Pipeline Identifies Combined CDK2 and 9 Inhibition as a Novel Therapeutic Strategy in Colorectal Cancer.

Mol Cancer Ther 2020 12 6;19(12):2516-2527. Epub 2020 Nov 6.

Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina.

Colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer in the United States and responsible for over 50,000 deaths each year. Therapeutic options for advanced colorectal cancer are limited, and there remains an unmet clinical need to identify new treatments for this deadly disease. To address this need, we developed a precision medicine pipeline that integrates high-throughput chemical screens with matched patient-derived cell lines and patient-derived xenografts (PDX) to identify new treatments for colorectal cancer. High-throughput screens of 2,100 compounds were performed across six low-passage, patient-derived colorectal cancer cell lines. These screens identified the CDK inhibitor drug class among the most effective cytotoxic compounds across six colorectal cancer lines. Among this class, combined targeting of CDK1, 2, and 9 was the most effective, with ICs ranging from 110 nmol/L to 1.2 ╬╝mol/L. Knockdown of CDK9 in the presence of a CDK2 inhibitor (CVT-313) showed that CDK9 knockdown acted synergistically with CDK2 inhibition. Mechanistically, dual CDK2/9 inhibition induced significant G-M arrest and anaphase catastrophe. Combined CDK2/9 inhibition synergistically reduced PDX tumor growth. Our precision medicine pipeline provides a robust screening and validation platform to identify promising new cancer therapies. Application of this platform to colorectal cancer pinpointed CDK2/9 dual inhibition as a novel combinatorial therapy to treat colorectal cancer.
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December 2020

Metastatic Syringocystadenocarcinoma Papilliferum: A Case Report, Tumor Genomic Profiling, and Literature Review.

Case Rep Oncol Med 2020 8;2020:9056209. Epub 2020 Aug 8.

Department of Medicine, Saint Elizabeth's Medical Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Syringocystadenocarcinoma papilliferum (SCACP) is an extremely rare cutaneous neoplasm of the apocrine or eccrine sweat glands. Solid and cystic glandular structures with cribriform and tubular architecture along with CK5/6, pankeratin and p63 immuno-profile set apart SCACP from other cutaneous malignancies. Wide local excision (WLE) has been the mainstay treatment for localized SCACP; however, no standard treatment has yet been established for unresectable or metastatic disease. Herein, we report a 74-year-old male with SCACP, who initially presented with a painful nodule on the upper back and later developed metastatic disease. He was treated with carboplatin and paclitaxel with concurrent intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT), which resulted in disease stabilization for 12 months. Next generation sequencing (NGS) revealed a total of 18 genomic alterations associated with potential benefit from targeted therapeutics. PD-L1 expression was identified in 70% of tumor cells. These findings suggest that the opportunity of targeted therapeutics and immunotherapy exist as for metastatic SCACP. Reporting molecular profile of the rare tumors with no established standard treatment options should be encouraged.
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August 2020

Development of a precision medicine pipeline to identify personalized treatments for colorectal cancer.

BMC Cancer 2020 Jun 24;20(1):592. Epub 2020 Jun 24.

Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Oncology, Duke University Medical Center, 3008 Snyderman Building, 905 S. LaSalle St., Durham, NC, 27710, USA.

Background: Metastatic colorectal cancer (CRC) continues to be a major health problem, and current treatments are primarily for disease control and palliation of symptoms. In this study, we developed a precision medicine strategy to discover novel therapeutics for patients with CRC.

Methods: Six matched low-passage cell lines and patient-derived xenografts (PDX) were established from CRC patients undergoing resection of their cancer. High-throughput drug screens using a 119 FDA-approved oncology drug library were performed on these cell lines, which were then validated in vivo in matched PDXs. RNA-Seq analysis was then performed to identify predictors of response.

Results: Our study revealed marked differences in response to standard-of-care agents across patients and pinpointed druggable pathways to treat CRC. Among these pathways co-targeting of fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR), SRC, platelet derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR), or vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) signaling was found to be an effective strategy. Molecular analyses revealed potential predictors of response to these druggable pathways.

Conclusions: Our data suggests that the use of matched low-passage cell lines and PDXs is a promising strategy to identify new therapies and pathways to treat metastatic CRC.
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June 2020

From the Clinic to the Bench and Back Again in One Dog Year: How a Cross-Species Pipeline to Identify New Treatments for Sarcoma Illuminates the Path Forward in Precision Medicine.

Front Oncol 2020 11;10:117. Epub 2020 Feb 11.

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC, United States.

Cancer drug discovery is an inefficient process, with more than 90% of newly-discovered therapies failing to gain regulatory approval. Patient-derived models of cancer offer a promising new approach to identify new treatments; however, for rare cancers, such as sarcomas, access to patient samples is limited, which precludes development of patient-derived models. To address the limited access to patient samples, we have turned to pet dogs with naturally-occurring sarcomas. Although sarcomas make up <1% of all human cancers, sarcomas represent 15% of cancers in dogs. Because dogs have similar immune systems, an accelerated pace of cancer progression, and a shared environment with humans, studying pet dogs with cancer is ideal for bridging gaps between mouse models and human cancers. Here, we present our cross-species personalized medicine pipeline to identify new therapies for sarcomas. We explore this process through the focused study of a pet dog, Teddy, who presented with six synchronous leiomyosarcomas. Using our pipeline we identified proteasome inhibitors as a potential therapy for Teddy. Teddy was treated with bortezomib and showed a varied response across tumors. Whole exome sequencing revealed substantial genetic heterogeneity across Teddy's recurrent tumors and metastases, suggesting that intra-patient heterogeneity and tumoral adaptation were responsible for the heterogeneous clinical response. Ubiquitin proteomics coupled with exome sequencing revealed multiple candidate driver mutations in proteins related to the proteasome pathway. Together, our results demonstrate how the comparative study of canine sarcomas offers important insights into the development of personalized medicine approaches that can lead to new treatments for sarcomas in both humans and canines.
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February 2020