HSP90 Inhibition Is Effective in Breast Cancer: A Phase II Trial of Tanespimycin (17-AAG) Plus Trastuzumab in Patients with HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer Progressing on Trastuzumab

Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY 10065, USA.
Clinical Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 8.72). 05/2011; 17(15):5132-9. DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-0072
Source: PubMed


HSP90 is a chaperone protein required for the stability of a variety of client proteins. 17-Demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG) is a natural product that binds to HSP90 and inhibits its activity, thereby inducing the degradation of these clients. In preclinical studies, HER2 is one of the most sensitive known client proteins of 17-AAG. On the basis of these data and activity in a phase I study, we conducted a phase II study of 17-AAG (tanespimycin) with trastuzumab in advanced trastuzumab-refractory HER2-positive breast cancer.
We enrolled patients with metastatic HER2(+) breast cancer whose disease had previously progressed on trastuzumab. All patients received weekly treatment with tanespimycin at 450 mg/m(2) intravenously and trastuzumab at a conventional dose. Therapy was continued until disease progression. The primary endpoint was response rate by Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors (RECIST) criteria.
Thirty-one patients were enrolled with a median age of 53 years and a median Karnofsky performance status (KPS) of 90%. The most common toxicities, largely grade 1, were diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, and headache. The overall response rate was 22%, the clinical benefit rate [complete response + partial response + stable disease] was 59%, the median progression-free survival was 6 months (95% CI: 4-9), and the median overall survival was 17 months (95% CI: 16-28).
This is the first phase II study to definitively show RECIST-defined responses for 17-AAG in solid tumors. Tanespimycin plus trastuzumab has significant anticancer activity in patients with HER2-positive, metastatic breast cancer previously progressing on trastuzumab. Further research exploring this therapeutic interaction and the activity of HSP90 inhibitors is clearly warranted.

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    • "Since numerous oncoproteins have been identified as HSP90 clients, the inhibition of Hsp90 functions affects multiple oncogenic substrates simultaneously and represents an appealing molecular target for combination drug therapy [17]. In a recently completed phase II study of 17-AAG and trastuzumab, an overall clinical benefit (including stable disease) was seen in 57% of the patients with ErbB2-positive metastatic breast cancer progressing on trastuzumab [13]. It has also been reported that the inhibition of Hsp90 with 17-AAG sensitizes different cancer cell lines to DNA damage response mediated cellular senescence [18]. "
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    ABSTRACT: ErbB2-driven breast cancers constitute 20-25% of the cases diagnosed within the USA. The humanized anti-ErbB2 monoclonal antibody, Trastuzumab (Herceptin™; Genentech), with chemotherapy is the current standard of treatment. Novel agents and strategies continue to be explored, given the challenges posed by Trastuzumab-resistance development in most patients. The HSP90 inhibitor, 17-allylaminodemethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG), which induces ErbB2 degradation and attenuates downstream oncogenic signaling, is one such agent that showed significant promise in early phase I and II clinical trials. Its low water solubility, potential toxicities and undesirable side effects observed in patients, partly due to the Cremophor-based formulation, have been discouraging factors in the advancement of this promising drug into clinical use. Encapsulation of 17-AAG into polymeric nanoparticle formulations, particularly in synergistic combination with conventional chemotherapeutics, represents an alternative approach to overcome these problems. Herein, we report an efficient co-encapsulation of 17-AAG and doxorubicin, a clinically well-established and effective modality in breast cancer treatment, into biodegradable and biocompatible polypeptide-based nanogels. Dual drug-loaded nanogels displayed potent cytotoxicity in a breast cancer cell panel and exerted selective synergistic anticancer activity against ErbB2-overexpressing breast cancer cell lines. Analysis of ErbB2 degradation confirmed efficient 17-AAG release from nanogels with activity comparable to free 17-AAG. Furthermore, nanogels containing both 17-AAG and doxorubicin exhibited superior antitumor efficacy in vivo in an ErbB2-driven xenograft model compared to the combination of free drugs. These studies demonstrate that polypeptide-based nanogels can serve as novel nanocarriers for encapsulating 17-AAG along with other chemotherapeutics, providing an opportunity to overcome solubility issues and thereby exploit its full potential as an anti-cancer agent. Copyright © 2015. Published by Elsevier B.V.
    Journal of Controlled Release 02/2015; 208. DOI:10.1016/j.jconrel.2015.02.001 · 7.71 Impact Factor
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    • "Recently, combination drug strategies using RNAi targeted to specific genes, along with anticancer drugs, are promising for cancer treatment (Paduano et al, 2006; Gray et al, 2007; Holmes et al, 2008; Smith et al, 2009). The HSP90 inhibitor-17-AAG is in the phase II clinical trial as an anticancer drug (Heath et al, 2008; Solit et al, 2008; Modi et al, 2011; Pacey et al, 2012). Here we also found that the depletion of BCAS2 can enhance the IC 50 sensitivity of 17-AAG in prostate cancer cells (Figure 6C). "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: We showed previously that breast carcinoma amplified sequence 2 (BCAS2) functions as a negative regulator of p53. We also found that BCAS2 is a potential AR-associated protein. AR is essential for the growth and survival of prostate carcinoma. Therefore we characterised the correlation between BCAS2 and AR. Methods: Protein interactions were examined by GST pull-down assay and co-immunoprecipitation. Clinical prostate cancer (PCa) specimens were evaluated by immunohistochemical assay. AR transcriptional activity and LNCaP cell growth were assessed by luciferase assay and MTT assay, respectively. Results: BCAS2 expression was significantly increased in PCa. BCAS2 stabilised AR protein through both hormone-dependent and -independent manners. There are at least two mechanisms for BCAS2-mediated AR protein upregulation: One is p53-dependent. The p53 is suppressed by BCAS2 that results in increasing AR mRNA and protein expression. The other is via p53-independent inhibition of proteasome degradation. As BCAS2 can form a complex with AR and HSP90, it may function with HSP90 to stabilise AR protein from being degraded by proteasome. Conclusions: In this study, we show that BCAS2 is a novel AR-interacting protein and characterise the correlation between BCAS2 and PCa. Thus we propose that BCAS2 could be a diagnostic marker and therapeutic target for PCa.
    British Journal of Cancer 12/2014; 112(2). DOI:10.1038/bjc.2014.603 · 4.84 Impact Factor
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    • "In a phase 2 study of 31 patients with trastuzumab-refractory HER2+ breast cancer, combination therapy with an Hsp90 inhibitor (tanespimycin; development of which was discontinued because of a corporate decision) and trastuzumab provided a clinical benefit rate of 59%, and a median PFS and OS of 6 and 17 months, respectively ( identifier NCT00773344).92 Phase 1/2 clinical investigation of other Hsp90 inhibitors in patients with HER2-resistant breast cancer includes AUY922 and ganetespib. "
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    ABSTRACT: Human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) is overexpressed in up to 30% of breast cancers; HER2 overexpression is indicative of poor prognosis. Trastuzumab, an anti-HER2 monoclonal antibody, has led to improved outcomes in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, including improved overall survival in adjuvant and first-line settings. However, a large proportion of patients with breast cancer have intrinsic resistance to HER2-targeted therapies, and nearly all become resistant to therapy after initial response. Elucidation of underlying mechanisms contributing to HER2 resistance has led to development of novel therapeutic strategies, including those targeting HER2 and downstream pathways, heat shock protein 90, telomerase, and vascular endothelial growth factor inhibitors. Numerous clinical trials are ongoing or completed, including phase 3 data for the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor everolimus in patients with HER2-resistant breast cancer. This review considers the molecular mechanisms associated with HER2 resistance and evaluates the evidence for use of evolving strategies in patients with HER2-resistant breast cancer.
    Breast cancer 07/2014; 8(1):109-18. DOI:10.4137/BCBCR.S9453
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