Publications by authors named "Eugene Lifshits"

18 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

PF-06463922, an ALK/ROS1 Inhibitor, Overcomes Resistance to First and Second Generation ALK Inhibitors in Preclinical Models.

Cancer Cell 2015 Jul 2;28(1):70-81. Epub 2015 Jul 2.

Pfizer World Wide Research and Development, 10724 Science Center Drive, San Diego, CA 92121, USA.

We report the preclinical evaluation of PF-06463922, a potent and brain-penetrant ALK/ROS1 inhibitor. Compared with other clinically available ALK inhibitors, PF-06463922 displayed superior potency against all known clinically acquired ALK mutations, including the highly resistant G1202R mutant. Furthermore, PF-06463922 treatment led to regression of EML4-ALK-driven brain metastases, leading to prolonged mouse survival, in a superior manner. Finally, PF-06463922 demonstrated high selectivity and safety margins in a variety of preclinical studies. These results suggest that PF-06463922 will be highly effective for the treatment of patients with ALK-driven lung cancers, including those who relapsed on clinically available ALK inhibitors because of secondary ALK kinase domain mutations and/or brain metastases.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccell.2015.05.010DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4504786PMC
July 2015

Patient-derived models of acquired resistance can identify effective drug combinations for cancer.

Science 2014 Dec 13;346(6216):1480-6. Epub 2014 Nov 13.

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Department of Medicine and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

Targeted cancer therapies have produced substantial clinical responses, but most tumors develop resistance to these drugs. Here, we describe a pharmacogenomic platform that facilitates rapid discovery of drug combinations that can overcome resistance. We established cell culture models derived from biopsy samples of lung cancer patients whose disease had progressed while on treatment with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) or anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) tyrosine kinase inhibitors and then subjected these cells to genetic analyses and a pharmacological screen. Multiple effective drug combinations were identified. For example, the combination of ALK and MAPK kinase (MEK) inhibitors was active in an ALK-positive resistant tumor that had developed a MAP2K1 activating mutation, and the combination of EGFR and fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitors was active in an EGFR mutant resistant cancer with a mutation in FGFR3. Combined ALK and SRC (pp60c-src) inhibition was effective in several ALK-driven patient-derived models, a result not predicted by genetic analysis alone. With further refinements, this strategy could help direct therapeutic choices for individual patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/science.1254721DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4388482PMC
December 2014

Failure to induce apoptosis via BCL-2 family proteins underlies lack of efficacy of combined MEK and PI3K inhibitors for KRAS-mutant lung cancers.

Cancer Res 2014 Jun 27;74(11):3146-56. Epub 2014 Mar 27.

Authors' Affiliations: Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Charlestown; Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MassachusettsAuthors' Affiliations: Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Charlestown; Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Department of Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute; and Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts

Although several groups have demonstrated that concomitant use of MEK and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) inhibitors (MEKi/PI3Ki) can induce dramatic tumor regressions in mouse models of KRAS-mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), ongoing clinical trials investigating this strategy have been underwhelming to date. While efficacy may be hampered by a narrow therapeutic index, the contribution of biologic heterogeneity in the response of KRAS-mutant NSCLCs to MEKi/PI3Ki has been largely unexplored. In this study, we find that most human KRAS-mutant NSCLC cell lines fail to undergo marked apoptosis in response to MEKi/PI3Ki, which is key for tumor responsiveness in vivo. This heterogeneity of apoptotic response occurs despite relatively uniform induction of growth arrest. Using a targeted short hairpin RNA screen of BCL-2 family members, we identify BIM, PUMA, and BCL-XL as key regulators of the apoptotic response induced by MEKi/PI3Ki, with decreased expression of BIM and PUMA relative to BCL-XL in cell lines with intrinsic resistance. In addition, by modeling adaptive resistance to MEKi/PI3Ki both in vitro and in vivo, we find that, upon the development of resistance, tumors have a diminished apoptotic response due to downregulation of BIM and PUMA. These results suggest that the inability to induce apoptosis may limit the effectiveness of MEKi/PI3Ki for KRAS-mutant NSCLCs by contributing to intrinsic and adaptive resistance to this therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3728DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4046322PMC
June 2014

Spontaneous reversion of the angiogenic phenotype to a nonangiogenic and dormant state in human tumors.

Mol Cancer Res 2014 May 26;12(5):754-64. Epub 2014 Feb 26.

Authors' Affiliations: Departments of Surgery and 2Anesthesia; 3the Vascular Biology Program, Boston Children's Hospital; 4Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts; 5Department of Microbiology, Haukeland University Hospital; 6Section for Microbiology, The Gade Institute; 7Centre for Cancer Biomarkers CCBIO, Department of Clinical Medicine; and 8Section of Oncology, Institute of Internal Medicine, University of Bergen, Bergen, Norway.

Unlabelled: The angiogenic switch, a rate-limiting step in tumor progression, has already occurred by the time most human tumors are detectable. However, despite significant study of the mechanisms controlling this switch, the kinetics and reversibility of the process have not been explored. The stability of the angiogenic phenotype was examined using an established human liposarcoma xenograft model. Nonangiogenic cells inoculated into immunocompromised mice formed microscopic tumors that remained dormant for approximately 125 days (vs. <40 days for angiogenic cells) whereupon the vast majority (>95%) initiated angiogenic growth with second-order kinetics. These original, clonally derived angiogenic tumor cells were passaged through four in vivo cycles. At each cycle, a new set of single-cell clones was established from the most angiogenic clone and characterized for in vivo for tumorigenic activity. A total of 132 single-cell clones were tested in the second, third, and fourth in vivo passage. Strikingly, at each passage, a portion of the single-cell clones formed microscopic, dormant tumors. Following dormancy, like the original cell line, these revertant tumors spontaneously switched to the angiogenic phenotype. Finally, revertant clones were transcriptionally profiled and their angiogenic output determined. Collectively, these data demonstrate that the angiogenic phenotype in tumors is malleable and can spontaneously revert to the nonangiogenic phenotype in a population of human tumor cells.

Implications: Leveraging the rate of reversion to the nonangiogenic phenotype and tumor dormancy may be a novel anticancer strategy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-13-0532-TDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4020951PMC
May 2014

Synthetic lethal interaction of combined BCL-XL and MEK inhibition promotes tumor regressions in KRAS mutant cancer models.

Cancer Cell 2013 Jan 13;23(1):121-8. Epub 2012 Dec 13.

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA 02129, USA.

KRAS is the most commonly mutated oncogene, yet no effective targeted therapies exist for KRAS mutant cancers. We developed a pooled shRNA-drug screen strategy to identify genes that, when inhibited, cooperate with MEK inhibitors to effectively treat KRAS mutant cancer cells. The anti-apoptotic BH3 family gene BCL-XL emerged as a top hit through this approach. ABT-263 (navitoclax), a chemical inhibitor that blocks the ability of BCL-XL to bind and inhibit pro-apoptotic proteins, in combination with a MEK inhibitor led to dramatic apoptosis in many KRAS mutant cell lines from different tissue types. This combination caused marked in vivo tumor regressions in KRAS mutant xenografts and in a genetically engineered KRAS-driven lung cancer mouse model, supporting combined BCL-XL/MEK inhibition as a potential therapeutic approach for KRAS mutant cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccr.2012.11.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3667614PMC
January 2013

BIM expression in treatment-naive cancers predicts responsiveness to kinase inhibitors.

Cancer Discov 2011 Sep 22;1(4):352-65. Epub 2011 Jul 22.

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and Department of Medicine, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02129, USA.

Cancers with specific genetic mutations are susceptible to selective kinase inhibitors. However, there is a wide spectrum of benefit among cancers harboring the same sensitizing genetic mutations. Herein, we measured apoptotic rates among cell lines sharing the same driver oncogene following treatment with the corresponding kinase inhibitor. There was a wide range of kinase inhibitor-induced apoptosis despite comparable inhibition of the target and associated downstream signaling pathways. Surprisingly, pretreatment RNA levels of the BH3-only pro-apoptotic BIM strongly predicted the capacity of EGFR, HER2, and PI3K inhibitors to induce apoptosis in EGFR-mutant, HER2-amplified, and PIK3CA-mutant cancers, respectively, but BIM levels did not predict responsiveness to standard chemotherapies. Furthermore, BIM RNA levels in EGFR-mutant lung cancer specimens predicted response and duration of clinical benefit from EGFR inhibitors. These findings suggest assessment of BIM levels in treatment-naïve tumor biopsies may indicate the degree of benefit from single-agent kinase inhibitors in multiple oncogene-addiction paradigms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/2159-8290.CD-11-0106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3229203PMC
September 2011

Receptor tyrosine kinases exert dominant control over PI3K signaling in human KRAS mutant colorectal cancers.

J Clin Invest 2011 Nov 10;121(11):4311-21. Epub 2011 Oct 10.

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Therapies inhibiting receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) are effective against some human cancers when they lead to simultaneous downregulation of PI3K/AKT and MEK/ERK signaling. However, mutant KRAS has the capacity to directly activate ERK and PI3K signaling, and this is thought to underlie the resistance of KRAS mutant cancers to RTK inhibitors. Here, we have elucidated the molecular regulation of both the PI3K/AKT and MEK/ERK signaling pathways in KRAS mutant colorectal cancer cells and identified combination therapies that lead to robust cancer cell apoptosis. KRAS knockdown using shRNA suppressed ERK signaling in all of the human KRAS mutant colorectal cancer cell lines examined. However, no decrease, and actually a modest increase, in AKT phosphorylation was often seen. By performing PI3K immunoprecipitations, we determined that RTKs, often IGF-IR, regulated PI3K signaling in the KRAS mutant cell lines. This conclusion was also supported by the observation that specific RTK inhibition led to marked suppression of PI3K signaling and biochemical assessment of patient specimens. Interestingly, combination of RTK and MEK inhibitors led to concomitant inhibition of PI3K and MEK signaling, marked growth suppression, and robust apoptosis of human KRAS mutant colorectal cancer cell lines in vitro and upon xenografting in mice. These findings provide a framework for utilizing RTK inhibitors in the treatment of KRAS mutant colorectal cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI57909DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3204842PMC
November 2011

Activation of ERBB2 signaling causes resistance to the EGFR-directed therapeutic antibody cetuximab.

Sci Transl Med 2011 Sep;3(99):99ra86

Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA 02215, USA.

Cetuximab, an antibody directed against the epidermal growth factor receptor, is an effective clinical therapy for patients with colorectal, head and neck, and non-small cell lung cancer, particularly for those with KRAS and BRAF wild-type cancers. Treatment in all patients is limited eventually by the development of acquired resistance, but little is known about the underlying mechanism. Here, we show that activation of ERBB2 signaling in cell lines, either through ERBB2 amplification or through heregulin up-regulation, leads to persistent extracellular signal-regulated kinase 1/2 signaling and consequently to cetuximab resistance. Inhibition of ERBB2 or disruption of ERBB2/ERBB3 heterodimerization restores cetuximab sensitivity in vitro and in vivo. A subset of colorectal cancer patients who exhibit either de novo or acquired resistance to cetuximab-based therapy has ERBB2 amplification or high levels of circulating heregulin. Collectively, these findings identify two distinct resistance mechanisms, both of which promote aberrant ERBB2 signaling, that mediate cetuximab resistance. Moreover, these results suggest that ERBB2 inhibitors, in combination with cetuximab, represent a rational therapeutic strategy that should be assessed in patients with cetuximab-resistant cancers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1126/scitranslmed.3002442DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3268675PMC
September 2011

Therapeutic strategies to overcome crizotinib resistance in non-small cell lung cancers harboring the fusion oncogene EML4-ALK.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2011 May 18;108(18):7535-40. Epub 2011 Apr 18.

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA 02129, USA.

The echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4)-anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) fusion oncogene represents a molecular target in a small subset of non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLCs). This fusion leads to constitutive ALK activation with potent transforming activity. In a pivotal phase 1 clinical trial, the ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) crizotinib (PF-02341066) demonstrated impressive antitumor activity in the majority of patients with NSCLC harboring ALK fusions. However, despite these remarkable initial responses, cancers eventually develop resistance to crizotinib, usually within 1 y, thereby limiting the potential clinical benefit. To determine how cancers acquire resistance to ALK inhibitors, we established a model of acquired resistance to crizotinib by exposing a highly sensitive EML4-ALK-positive NSCLC cell line to increasing doses of crizotinib until resistance emerged. We found that cells resistant to intermediate doses of crizotinib developed amplification of the EML4-ALK gene. Cells resistant to higher doses (1 μM) also developed a gatekeeper mutation, L1196M, within the kinase domain, rendering EML4-ALK insensitive to crizotinib. This gatekeeper mutation was readily detected using a unique and highly sensitive allele-specific PCR assay. Although crizotinib was ineffectual against EML4-ALK harboring the gatekeeper mutation, we observed that two structurally different ALK inhibitors, NVP-TAE684 and AP26113, were highly active against the resistant cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, these resistant cells remained highly sensitive to the Hsp90 inhibitor 17-AAG. Thus, we have developed a model of acquired resistance to ALK inhibitors and have shown that second-generation ALK TKIs or Hsp90 inhibitors are effective in treating crizotinib-resistant tumors harboring secondary gatekeeper mutations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1019559108DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3088626PMC
May 2011

Multiple mutations and bypass mechanisms can contribute to development of acquired resistance to MET inhibitors.

Cancer Res 2011 Feb 25;71(3):1081-91. Epub 2011 Jan 25.

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, Massachusetts 02129, USA.

Therapies targeting receptor tyrosine kinases have shown efficacy in molecularly defined subsets of cancers. Unfortunately, cancers invariably develop resistance, and overcoming or preventing resistance will ultimately be key to unleashing their full therapeutic potential. In this study, we examined how cancers become resistant to MET inhibitors, a class of drugs currently under clinical development. We utilized the highly sensitive gastric carcinoma cell line, SNU638, and two related MET inhibitors PHA-665752 and PF-2341066. To our surprise, we observed at least two mechanisms of resistance that arose simultaneously. Both resulted in maintenance of downstream PI3K (phosphoinositide 3-kinase)-AKT and MEK (MAP/ERK kinase)-ERK signaling in the presence of inhibitor. One mechanism, observed by modeling resistance both in vitro and in vivo, involved the acquisition of a mutation in the MET activation loop (Y1230). Structural analysis indicates that this mutation destabilizes the autoinhibitory conformation of MET and abrogates an important aromatic stacking interaction with the inhibitor. The other cause of resistance was activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) pathway due to increased expression of transforming growth factor α. Activation of EGFR bypassed the need for MET signaling to activate downstream signaling in these cells. This resistance could be overcome by combined EGFR and MET inhibition. Thus, therapeutic strategies that combine MET inhibitors capable of inhibiting Y1230 mutant MET in combination with anti-EGFR-based therapies may enhance clinical benefit for patients with MET-addicted cancers. Importantly, these results also underscore the notion that a single cancer can simultaneously develop resistance induced by several mechanisms and highlight the daunting challenges associated with preventing or overcoming resistance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-10-1623DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3208270PMC
February 2011

Preexistence and clonal selection of MET amplification in EGFR mutant NSCLC.

Cancer Cell 2010 Jan;17(1):77-88

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA 02129, USA.

MET amplification activates ERBB3/PI3K/AKT signaling in EGFR mutant lung cancers and causes resistance to EGFR kinase inhibitors. We demonstrate that MET activation by its ligand, HGF, also induces drug resistance, but through GAB1 signaling. Using high-throughput FISH analyses in both cell lines and in patients with lung cancer, we identify subpopulations of cells with MET amplification prior to drug exposure. Surprisingly, HGF accelerates the development of MET amplification both in vitro and in vivo. EGFR kinase inhibitor resistance, due to either MET amplification or autocrine HGF production, was cured in vivo by combined EGFR and MET inhibition. These findings highlight the potential to prospectively identify treatment naive, patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer who will benefit from initial combination therapy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ccr.2009.11.022DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2980857PMC
January 2010

Differential induction of apoptosis in HER2 and EGFR addicted cancers following PI3K inhibition.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2009 Nov 22;106(46):19503-8. Epub 2009 Oct 22.

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, MA 02129, USA.

Non-small cell lung cancers with activating mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are highly responsive to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), such as gefitinib and erlotinib. Such cancers are "addicted" to EGFR, and treatment with a TKI invariably leads to down-regulation of the PI3K-AKT-mTOR and MEK-ERK signaling pathways, resulting in apoptosis. Using a dual PI3K-mTOR inhibitor, NVP-BEZ235, we evaluated whether PI3K-mTOR inhibition alone induced apoptosis in these cancers. In contrast to HER2-amplified breast cancers, we found that PI3K-mTOR inhibition did not promote substantial apoptosis in the EGFR mutant lung cancers. However, blocking both PI3K-mTOR and MEK simultaneously led to apoptosis to similar levels as the EGFR TKIs, suggesting that down-regulation of these pathways may account for much of the apoptosis promoted by EGFR inhibition. In EGFR mutant lung cancers, down-regulation of both intracellular pathways converged on the BH3 family of proteins regulating apoptosis. PI3K inhibition led to down-regulation of Mcl-1, and MEK inhibition led to up-regulation of BIM. In fact, down-regulation of Mcl-1 by siRNA was sufficient to sensitize these cancers to single-agent MEK inhibitors. Surprisingly, an AKT inhibitor did not decrease Mcl-1 levels, and when combined with MEK inhibitors, failed to induce apoptosis. Importantly, we observed that the combination of PI3K-mTOR and MEK inhibitors effectively shrunk tumors in a transgenic and xenograft model of EGFR T790M-L858R cancers. These data indicate simultaneous inhibition of PI3K-mTOR and MEK signaling is an effective strategy for treating EGFR mutant lung cancers, including those with acquired resistance to EGFR TKIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0905056106DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2765921PMC
November 2009

Combined vascular endothelial growth factor receptor and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) blockade inhibits tumor growth in xenograft models of EGFR inhibitor resistance.

Clin Cancer Res 2009 May 15;15(10):3484-94. Epub 2009 May 15.

Children's Hospital, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, and Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, MA, USA.

Purpose: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) gefitinib and erlotinib benefit some non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients, but most do not respond (primary resistance) and those who initially respond eventually progress (acquired resistance). EGFR TKI resistance is not completely understood and has been associated with certain EGFR and K-RAS mutations and MET amplification.

Experimental Design: We hypothesized that dual inhibition of the vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and EGFR pathways may overcome primary and acquired resistance. We investigated the VEGF receptor/EGFR TKI vandetanib, and the combination of bevacizumab and erlotinib in vivo using xenograft models of EGFR TKI sensitivity, primary resistance, and three models of acquired resistance, including models with mutated K-RAS and secondary EGFR T790M mutation.

Results: Vandetanib, gefitinib, and erlotinib had similar profiles of in vitro activity and caused sustained tumor regressions in vivo in the sensitive HCC827 model. In all four resistant models, vandetanib and bevacizumab/erlotinib were significantly more effective than erlotinib or gefitinib alone. Erlotinib resistance was associated with a rise in both host and tumor-derived VEGF but not EGFR secondary mutations in the KRAS mutant-bearing A549 xenografts. Dual inhibition reduced tumor endothelial proliferation compared with VEGF or EGFR blockade alone, suggesting that the enhanced activity of dual inhibition is due at least in part to antiendothelial effects.

Conclusion: These studies suggest that erlotinib resistance may be associated with a rise in both tumor cell and host stromal VEGF and that combined blockade of the VEGFR and EGFR pathways can abrogate primary or acquired resistance to EGFR TKIs. This approach merits further evaluation in NSCLC patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-2904DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2893040PMC
May 2009

Class 1A PI3K regulates vessel integrity during development and tumorigenesis.

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 2008 Jul 10;105(28):9739-44. Epub 2008 Jul 10.

Departments of Systems Biology and Genetics, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

PI3K is important in the regulation of growth, proliferation, and survival of tumor cells. We show that class 1A PI3K is also critical in the tumor microenvironment by regulating the integrity of the tumor vasculature. Using Tie2Cre-mediated deletion of the PI3K regulatory subunits (p85alpha, p55alpha, p50alpha, and p85beta), we generated mice with endothelial cell-specific loss of class 1A PI3K. Complete loss of all subunits caused acute embryonic lethality at E11.5 due to hemorrhaging, whereas retention of a single p85alpha allele yielded viable mice that survived to adulthood. These heterozygous mice exhibited no vascular defects until challenged with a pathological insult, such as tumor cells or high levels of VEGF. Under these pathological conditions, heterozygous mice exhibited localized vascular abnormalities, including vessel leakage and the inability to maintain large vessels, which caused a deceleration of tumorigenesis. Furthermore, we show that a PI3K inhibitor can mimic the effects of class 1A PI3K loss, which suggests that targeting class 1A PI3K may be a promising therapy for blocking tumor angiogenesis.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.0804123105DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2453070PMC
July 2008

EML4-ALK fusion gene and efficacy of an ALK kinase inhibitor in lung cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2008 Jul;14(13):4275-83

Lowe Center for Thoracic Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, D820A, 44 Binney Street, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Purpose: The EML4-ALK fusion gene has been detected in approximately 7% of Japanese non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). We determined the frequency of EML4-ALK in Caucasian NSCLC and in NSCLC cell lines. We also determined whether TAE684, a specific ALK kinase inhibitor, would inhibit the growth of EML4-ALK-containing cell lines in vitro and in vivo.

Experimental Design: We screened 305 primary NSCLC [both U.S. (n = 138) and Korean (n = 167) patients] and 83 NSCLC cell lines using reverse transcription-PCR and by exon array analyses. We evaluated the efficacy of TAE684 against NSCLC cell lines in vitro and in vivo.

Results: We detected four different variants, including two novel variants, of EML4-ALK using reverse transcription-PCR in 8 of 305 tumors (3%) and 3 of 83 (3.6%) NSCLC cell lines. All EML4-ALK-containing tumors and cell lines were adenocarcinomas. EML4-ALK was detected more frequently in NSCLC patients who were never or light (<10 pack-years) cigarette smokers compared with current/former smokers (6% versus 1%; P = 0.049). TAE684 inhibited the growth of one of three (H3122) EML4-ALK-containing cell lines in vitro and in vivo, inhibited Akt phosphorylation, and caused apoptosis. In another EML4-ALK cell line, DFCI032, TAE684 was ineffective due to coactivation of epidermal growth factor receptor and ERBB2. The combination of TAE684 and CL-387,785 (epidermal growth factor receptor/ERBB2 kinase inhibitor) inhibited growth and Akt phosphorylation and led to apoptosis in the DFCI032 cell line.

Conclusions: EML4-ALK is found in the minority of NSCLC. ALK kinase inhibitors alone or in combination may nevertheless be clinically effective treatments for NSCLC patients whose tumors contain EML4-ALK.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-0168DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3025451PMC
July 2008

Targeting EGFR activity in blood vessels is sufficient to inhibit tumor growth and is accompanied by an increase in VEGFR-2 dependence in tumor endothelial cells.

Microvasc Res 2008 May 18;76(1):15-22. Epub 2008 Mar 18.

Vascular Biology Program, Children's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) targeting agents such as kinase inhibitors reduce tumor growth and progression. We have previously reported that EGFR is not only expressed by the tumor cells but by the tumor endothelial cells (EC) as well (Amin, D. N., Hida, K., Bielenberg, D. R., Klagsbrun, M., 2006. Tumor endothelial cells express epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) but not ErbB3 and are responsive to EGF and to EGFR kinase inhibitors. Cancer Res. 66, 2173-80). Thus, targeting tumor blood vessel EGFR may be a viable strategy for tumor growth inhibition. We describe here a melanoma xenograft model where the tumor cells express very little or no EGFR but the tumor blood vessels express activated EGFR. The EGFR kinase inhibitor, gefitinib (Iressa), retarded tumor growth with a size decrease of 38% compared to control mice, ostensibly due to targeting of the blood vessels. EC were isolated from tumors of gefitinib-treated mice. These EC were unable to proliferate in response to EGF and displayed relatively weaker activation of MAPK and AKT signaling in response to EGF compared to tumor EC isolated from vehicle-treated mice. In contrast, the tumor EC from gefitinib-treated mice expressed higher levels of VEGFR-2 both at the mRNA and protein level. In addition, these cells were less sensitive to EGFR kinase inhibitors in vitro but more sensitive to a VEGFR-2 kinase inhibitor. These results suggest that in tumor EC from gefitinib-treated mice there is a switch from dependence on EGFR activity to signaling via VEGFR-2. Our data provide a molecular rationale for combination therapies targeting both EGF and VEGF signaling on the tumor vasculature.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.mvr.2008.01.002DOI Listing
May 2008

PF00299804, an irreversible pan-ERBB inhibitor, is effective in lung cancer models with EGFR and ERBB2 mutations that are resistant to gefitinib.

Cancer Res 2007 Dec;67(24):11924-32

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA, USA.

Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors gefitinib and erlotinib are effective treatments for a subset of non-small cell lung cancers. In particular, cancers with specific EGFR-activating mutations seem to be the most sensitive to these agents. However, despite their initial response, such cancers almost invariably develop resistance. In 50% of such cancers, a secondary EGFR mutation, T790M, has been identified that renders gefitinib and erlotinib ineffective inhibitors of EGFR kinase activity. Thus, there is a clinical need to develop novel EGFR inhibitors that can effectively inactivate T790M-containing EGFR proteins. In this study, we evaluate the effectiveness of a novel compound, PF00299804, an irreversible pan-ERBB inhibitor. The results from these studies show that PF00299804 is a potent inhibitor of EGFR-activating mutations as well as the EGFR T790M resistance mutation both in vitro and in vivo. Additionally, PF00299804 is a highly effective inhibitor of both the wild-type ERBB2 and the gefitinib-resistant oncogenic ERBB2 mutation identified in lung cancers. These preclinical evaluations support further clinical development of PF00299804 for cancers with mutations and/or amplifications of ERBB family members.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-1885DOI Listing
December 2007

Allelic dilution obscures detection of a biologically significant resistance mutation in EGFR-amplified lung cancer.

J Clin Invest 2006 Oct 10;116(10):2695-706. Epub 2006 Aug 10.

Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

EGFR is frequently mutated and amplified in lung adenocarcinomas sensitive to EGFR inhibitors gefitinib and erlotinib. A secondary mutation, T790M, has been associated with acquired resistance but has not been shown to be sufficient to render EGFR mutant/amplified lung cancers resistant to EGFR inhibitors. We created a model for studying acquired resistance to gefitinib by prolonged exposure of a gefitinib-sensitive lung carcinoma cell line (H3255; EGFR mutated and amplified) to gefitinib in vitro. The resulting resistant cell line acquired a T790M mutation in a small fraction of the amplified alleles that was undetected by direct sequencing and identified only by a highly sensitive HPLC-based technique. In gefitinib-sensitive lung cancer cells with EGFR mutations and amplifications, exogenous introduction of EGFR T790M effectively conferred resistance to gefitinib and continued ErbB-3/PI3K/Akt signaling when in cis to an activating mutation. Moreover, continued activation of PI3K signaling by the PIK3CA oncogenic mutant, p110alpha E545K, was sufficient to abrogate gefitinib-induced apoptosis. These findings suggest that allelic dilution of biologically significant resistance mutations may go undetected by direct sequencing in cancers with amplified oncogenes and that restoration of PI3K activation via either a T790M mutation or other mechanisms can provide resistance to gefitinib.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1172/JCI28656DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1570180PMC
October 2006
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