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: 7.84). 05/2011; 17(15):5132-9. DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-11-0072
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT 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.

  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The monoclonal antibody trastuzumab has improved the outcomes of patients with breast cancer that overexpresses the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2). However, despite this advancement, many tumors develop resistance and novel approaches are needed. Recently, a greater understanding of cellular biology has translated into the development of novel anti-HER2 agents with varying mechanisms of action. The small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib has demonstrated activity in HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC) and in the preoperative setting. Pertuzumab is a monoclonal antibody with a distinct binding site from trastuzumab, which inhibits receptor dimerization. In recent studies, the addition of pertuzumab to combination therapy has led to improvements in progression-free survival in patients with HER2-positive MBC and higher response rates in the preoperative setting. An alternative approach is the use of novel antibody-drug conjugates such as trastuzumab-emtansine, which recently demonstrated activity in MBC. Neratinib, a pan-HER tyrosine kinase inhibitor, which irreversibly inhibits HER1 and HER2, also has proven activity in MBC. A range of compounds is being developed to attempt to overcome trastuzumab resistance by targeting heat shock protein 90, a molecular chaperone required for the stabilization of cellular proteins. Furthermore, agents are being developed to inhibit the mammalian target of rapamycin, a downstream component of the PTEN/PI3K pathway, which has been implicated in trastuzumab resistance. Finally, there are emerging data indicating that combinations of anti-HER2 agents may circumvent resistance mechanisms and improve patient outcomes. In this review, recent data on these emerging agents and novel combinations for HER2-positive breast cancer are discussed.
    Anti-cancer drugs 09/2012; 23(8):765-76. · 2.23 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) has an important role in many cancers. Biochemical inhibitors of Hsp90 are in advanced clinical development for the treatment of solid and hematological malignancies. At the cellular level, their efficacy is diminished by the fact that Hsp90 inhibition causes activation of heat shock factor 1 (HSF1). We report a mechanism by which HSF1 activation diminishes the effect of Hsp90 inhibitors geldanamycin and 17-allylaminogeldanamycin (17-AAG, tanespimycin). Silencing HSF1 with siRNA or inhibiting HSF1 activity with KRIBB11 lowers the threshold for apoptosis in geldanamycin and 17-AAG-treated cancer cells. Autophagy also mitigates the actions of Hsp90 inhibitors. Blocking autophagy with 3-methyladenine (3-MA), bafilomycin A1, or beclin 1 siRNA also lower the threshold forapoptosis. Exploring a potential relationship between HSF1 and autophagy, we monitored autophagosome formation and autophagic flux in control and HSF1-silenced cells. Results show HSF1 is required for autophagy in Hsp90 inhibitor-treated cells. The reduction in autophagy in observed HSF1-silenced cells correlates with enhanced cell death. We monitored the expression of genes involved in the autophagic cascade, showing HSF1 promotes autophagy. Sequestosome 1 (p62/SQSTM1), a protein involved in the delivery of autophagic substrates and nucleation of autophagosomes, is an HSF1-regulated gene. Gene silencing was used to evaluate the significance of p62/SQSTM1 in Hsp90 inhibitor resistance. Cells where p62/SQSTM1 was silenced showed a dramatic increase in sensitivity to Hsp90 inhibitors. Results highlight importance of HSF1 and HSF1-dependent p62/SQSTM1 expression in resistance Hsp90 inhibitors, revealing the potential of targeting HSF1 to improve the efficacy of Hsp90 inhibitors in cancer.
    Biochemical pharmacology 11/2013; · 4.25 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: In 1994 the first heat shock protein 90 (Hsp90) inhibitor was identified and Hsp90 was reported to be a target for anticancer therapeutics. In the past 18 years there have been 17 distinct Hsp90 inhibitors entered into clinical trial, and the small molecule Hsp90 inhibitors have been highly valuable as probes of the role of Hsp90 and its client proteins in cancer. Although no Hsp90 inhibitor has achieved regulatory approval, recently there has been significant progress in Hsp90 inhibitor clinical development, and in the past year RECIST responses have been documented in HER2-positive breast cancer and EML4-ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer. All of the clinical Hsp90 inhibitors studied to date are specific in their target, i.e. they bind exclusively to Hsp90 and two related heat shock proteins. However, Hsp90 inhibitors are markedly pleiotropic, causing degradation of over 200 client proteins and impacting critical multiprotein complexes. Furthermore, it has only recently been appreciated that Hsp90 inhibitors can, paradoxically, cause transient activation of the protein kinase clients they are chaperoning, resulting in initiation of signal transduction and significant physiological events in both tumor and tumor microenvironment. An additional area of recent progress in Hsp90 research is in studies of the posttranslational modifications of Hsp90 itself and Hsp90 co-chaperone proteins. Together, a picture is emerging in which the impact of Hsp90 inhibitors is shaped by the tumor intracellular and extracellular milieu, and in which Hsp90 inhibitors impact tumor and host on a microenvironmental and systems level. Here we review the tumor intrinsic and extrinsic factors that impact the efficacy of small molecules engaging the Hsp90 chaperone machine.
    Current Molecular Medicine 07/2012; · 4.20 Impact Factor