Publications by authors named "Kymberly Levine"

5 Publications

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Small molecule inhibitors reveal PTK6 kinase is not an oncogenic driver in breast cancers.

PLoS One 2018 7;13(6):e0198374. Epub 2018 Jun 7.

Center of Therapeutic Innovation, Pfizer Inc., New York, NY, United States of America.

Protein tyrosine kinase 6 (PTK6, or BRK) is aberrantly expressed in breast cancers, and emerging as an oncogene that promotes tumor cell proliferation, migration and evasion. Both kinase-dependent and -independent functions of PTK6 in driving tumor growth have been described, therefore targeting PTK6 kinase activity by small molecule inhibitors as a therapeutic approach to treat cancers remains to be validated. In this study, we identified novel, potent and selective PTK6 kinase inhibitors as a means to investigate the role of PTK6 kinase activity in breast tumorigenesis. We report here the crystal structures of apo-PTK6 and inhibitor-bound PTK6 complexes, providing the structural basis for small molecule interaction with PTK6. The kinase inhibitors moderately suppress tumor cell growth in 2D and 3D cell cultures. However, the tumor cell growth inhibition shows neither correlation with the PTK6 kinase activity inhibition, nor the total or activated PTK6 protein levels in tumor cells, suggesting that the tumor cell growth is independent of PTK6 kinase activity. Furthermore, in engineered breast tumor cells overexpressing PTK6, the inhibition of PTK6 kinase activity does not parallel the inhibition of tumor cell growth with a >500-fold shift in compound potencies (IC50 values). Overall, these findings suggest that the kinase activity of PTK6 does not play a significant role in tumorigenesis, thus providing important evidence against PTK6 kinase as a potential therapeutic target for breast cancer treatment.
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December 2018

Therapeutic Effects of FGF23 c-tail Fc in a Murine Preclinical Model of X-Linked Hypophosphatemia Via the Selective Modulation of Phosphate Reabsorption.

J Bone Miner Res 2017 Oct 25;32(10):2062-2073. Epub 2017 Aug 25.

Center for Therapeutic Innovation, Pfizer, New York, NY, USA.

Fibroblast growth factor 23 (FGF23) is the causative factor of X-linked hypophosphatemia (XLH), a genetic disorder effecting 1:20,000 that is characterized by excessive phosphate excretion, elevated FGF23 levels and a rickets/osteomalacia phenotype. FGF23 inhibits phosphate reabsorption and suppresses 1α,25-dihydroxyvitamin D (1,25D) biosynthesis, analytes that differentially contribute to bone integrity and deleterious soft-tissue mineralization. As inhibition of ligand broadly modulates downstream targets, balancing efficacy and unwanted toxicity is difficult when targeting the FGF23 pathway. We demonstrate that a FGF23 c-tail-Fc fusion molecule selectively modulates the phosphate pathway in vivo by competitive antagonism of FGF23 binding to the FGFR/α klotho receptor complex. Repeated injection of FGF23 c-tail Fc in Hyp mice, a preclinical model of XLH, increases cell surface abundance of kidney NaPi transporters, normalizes phosphate excretion, and significantly improves bone architecture in the absence of soft-tissue mineralization. Repeated injection does not modulate either 1,25D or calcium in a physiologically relevant manner in either a wild-type or disease setting. These data suggest that bone integrity can be improved in models of XLH via the exclusive modulation of phosphate. We posit that the selective modulation of the phosphate pathway will increase the window between efficacy and safety risks, allowing increased efficacy to be achieved in the treatment of this chronic disease. © 2017 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
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October 2017

The role of the acidity of N-heteroaryl sulfonamides as inhibitors of bcl-2 family protein-protein interactions.

ACS Med Chem Lett 2013 Feb 4;4(2):186-90. Epub 2013 Jan 4.

Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research Inc. , 250 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, United States.

Overexpression of the antiapoptotic members of the Bcl-2 family of proteins is commonly associated with cancer cell survival and resistance to chemotherapeutics. Here, we describe the structure-based optimization of a series of N-heteroaryl sulfonamides that demonstrate potent mechanism-based cell death. The role of the acidic nature of the sulfonamide moiety as it relates to potency, solubility, and clearance is examined. This has led to the discovery of novel heterocyclic replacements for the acylsulfonamide core of ABT-737 and ABT-263.
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February 2013

Loss of the mismatch repair protein MSH6 in human glioblastomas is associated with tumor progression during temozolomide treatment.

Clin Cancer Res 2007 Apr;13(7):2038-45

Molecular Pathology Unit, Neurosurgical Service, Brain Tumor Center, and Center for Cancer Research, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02114, USA.

Purpose: Glioblastomas are treated by surgical resection followed by radiotherapy [X-ray therapy (XRT)] and the alkylating chemotherapeutic agent temozolomide. Recently, inactivating mutations in the mismatch repair gene MSH6 were identified in two glioblastomas recurrent post-temozolomide. Because mismatch repair pathway inactivation is a known mediator of alkylator resistance in vitro, these findings suggested that MSH6 inactivation was causally linked to these two recurrences. However, the extent of involvement of MSH6 in glioblastoma is unknown. We sought to determine the overall frequency and clinical relevance of MSH6 alterations in glioblastomas.

Experimental Design: The MSH6 gene was sequenced in 54 glioblastomas. MSH6 and O(6)-methylguanine methyltransferase (MGMT) immunohistochemistry was systematically scored in a panel of 46 clinically well-characterized glioblastomas, and the corresponding patient response to treatment evaluated.

Results: MSH6 mutation was not observed in any pretreatment glioblastoma (0 of 40), whereas 3 of 14 recurrent cases had somatic mutations (P = 0.015). MSH6 protein expression was detected in all pretreatment (17 of 17) cases examined but, notably, expression was lost in 7 of 17 (41%) recurrences from matched post-XRT + temozolomide cases (P = 0.016). Loss of MSH6 was not associated with O(6)-methylguanine methyltransferase status. Measurements of in vivo tumor growth using three-dimensional reconstructed magnetic resonance imaging showed that MSH6-negative glioblastomas had a markedly increased rate of growth while under temozolomide treatment (3.17 versus 0.04 cc/mo for MSH6-positive tumors; P = 0.020).

Conclusions: Loss of MSH6 occurs in a subset of post-XRT + temozolomide glioblastoma recurrences and is associated with tumor progression during temozolomide treatment, mirroring the alkylator resistance conferred by MSH6 inactivation in vitro. MSH6 deficiency may therefore contribute to the emergence of recurrent glioblastomas during temozolomide treatment.
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April 2007

A hypermutation phenotype and somatic MSH6 mutations in recurrent human malignant gliomas after alkylator chemotherapy.

Cancer Res 2006 Apr;66(8):3987-91

Cancer Genome Project, Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom.

Malignant gliomas have a very poor prognosis. The current standard of care for these cancers consists of extended adjuvant treatment with the alkylating agent temozolomide after surgical resection and radiotherapy. Although a statistically significant increase in survival has been reported with this regimen, nearly all gliomas recur and become insensitive to further treatment with this class of agents. We sequenced 500 kb of genomic DNA corresponding to the kinase domains of 518 protein kinases in each of nine gliomas. Large numbers of somatic mutations were observed in two gliomas recurrent after alkylating agent treatment. The pattern of mutations in these cases showed strong similarity to that induced by alkylating agents in experimental systems. Further investigation revealed inactivating somatic mutations of the mismatch repair gene MSH6 in each case. We propose that inactivating somatic mutations of MSH6 confer resistance to alkylating agents in gliomas in vivo and concurrently unleash accelerated mutagenesis in resistant clones as a consequence of continued exposure to alkylating agents in the presence of defective mismatch repair. The evidence therefore suggests that when MSH6 is inactivated in gliomas, alkylating agents convert from induction of tumor cell death to promotion of neoplastic progression. These observations highlight the potential of large scale sequencing for revealing and elucidating mutagenic processes operative in individual human cancers.
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April 2006