T M Gilmer

Centre for Cancer Biology, Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia

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Publications (67)542.49 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Although BRAF and MEK inhibitors have proven clinical benefits in melanoma, most patients develop resistance. We report a de novo MEK2-Q60P mutation and BRAF gain in a melanoma from a patient who progressed on the MEK inhibitor trametinib and did not respond to the BRAF inhibitor dabrafenib. We also identified the same MEK2-Q60P mutation along with BRAF amplification in a xenograft tumor derived from a second melanoma patient resistant to the combination of dabrafenib and trametinib. Melanoma cells chronically exposed to trametinib acquired concurrent MEK2-Q60P mutation and BRAF-V600E amplification, which conferred resistance to MEK and BRAF inhibitors. The resistant cells had sustained MAPK activation and persistent phosphorylation of S6K. A triple combination of dabrafenib, trametinib, and the PI3K/mTOR inhibitor GSK2126458 led to sustained tumor growth inhibition. Hence, concurrent genetic events that sustain MAPK signaling can underlie resistance to both BRAF and MEK inhibitors, requiring novel therapeutic strategies to overcome it.
    Cell Reports 09/2013; DOI:10.1016/j.celrep.2013.08.023 · 7.21 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The receptors for hepatocyte and vascular endothelial cell growth factors (MET and VEGFR2, respectively) are critical oncogenic mediators in gastric adenocarcinoma. The purpose is to examine the safety and efficacy of foretinib, an oral multikinase inhibitor targeting MET, RON, AXL, TIE-2, and VEGFR2 receptors, for the treatment of metastatic gastric adenocarcinoma. Foretinib safety and tolerability, and objective response rate (ORR) were evaluated in patients using intermittent (240 mg/day, for 5 days every 2 weeks) or daily (80 mg/day) dosing schedules. Thirty evaluable patients were required to achieve alpha = 0.10 and beta = 0.2 to test the alternative hypothesis that single-agent foretinib would result in an ORR of ≥25%. Up to 10 additional patients could be enrolled to ensure at least eight with MET amplification. Correlative studies included tumor MET amplification, MET signaling, pharmacokinetics and plasma biomarkers of foretinib activity. From March 2007 until October 2009, 74 patients were enrolled; 74% male; median age, 61 years (range, 25-88); 93% had received prior therapy. Best response was stable disease (SD) in 10 (23%) patients receiving intermittent dosing and five (20%) receiving daily dosing; SD duration was 1.9-7.2 months (median 3.2 months). Of 67 patients with tumor samples, 3 had MET amplification, one of whom had SD. Treatment-related adverse events occurred in 91% of patients. Rates of hypertension (35% vs. 15%) and elevated aspartate aminotransferase (23% vs. 8%) were higher with intermittent dosing. In both patients with high baseline tumor phospho-MET (pMET), the pMET:total MET protein ratio decreased with foretinib treatment. These results indicate that few gastric carcinomas are driven solely by MET and VEGFR2, and underscore the diverse molecular oncogenesis of this disease. Despite evidence of MET inhibition by foretinib, single-agent foretinib lacked efficacy in unselected patients with metastatic gastric cancer. ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00725712.
    PLoS ONE 03/2013; 8(3):e54014. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0054014 · 3.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mutations of the oncogene KRAS are important drivers of pancreatic cancer progression. Activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and human EGFR2 (HER2) is observed frequent in pancreatic adenocarcinomas. Because of co-activation of these two signaling pathways, we assessed the efficacy of inhibition of EGFR/HER2 receptors and the downstream KRAS effector, mitogen-activated protein kinase/extracellular-signal regulated kinase (ERK) kinase 1 and 2 (MEK1/2), on pancreatic cancer proliferation in vitro and in a murine orthotopic xenograft model. Treatment of established and patient-derived pancreatic cancer cell lines with the MEK1/2 inhibitor trametinib (GSK1120212) inhibited proliferation, and addition of the EGFR/HER2 inhibitor lapatinib enhanced the inhibition elicited by trametinib in three of eight cell lines. Importantly, in the orthotopic xenograft model, treatment with lapatinib and trametinib resulted in significantly enhanced inhibition of tumor growth relative to trametinib treatment alone in four of five patient-derived tumors tested and was, in all cases, significantly more effective in reducing the size of established tumors than treatment with lapatinib or trametinib alone. Acute treatment of established tumors with trametinib resulted in an increase in AKT2 phosphorylation that was blunted in mice treated with both trametinib and lapatinib. These data indicate that inhibition of the EGFR family receptor signaling may contribute to the effectiveness of MEK1/2 inhibition of tumor growth possibly through the inhibition of feedback activation of receptor tyrosine kinases in response to inhibition of the RAS-RAF-MEK-ERK pathway. These studies provide a rationale for assessing the co-inhibition of these pathways in the treatment of pancreatic cancer patients.
    Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 02/2013; 15(2):143-55. DOI:10.1593/neo.121712 · 5.40 Impact Factor
  • Cancer Research 06/2012; 72(8 Supplement):976-976. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2012-976 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Recent results from clinical trials with the BRAF inhibitors GSK2118436 (dabrafenib) and PLX4032 (vemurafenib) have shown encouraging response rates; however, the duration of response has been limited. To identify determinants of acquired resistance to GSK2118436 and strategies to overcome the resistance, we isolated GSK2118436 drug-resistant clones from the A375 BRAF(V600E) and the YUSIT1 BRAF(V600K) melanoma cell lines. These clones also showed reduced sensitivity to the allosteric mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MEK) inhibitor GSK1120212 (trametinib). Genetic characterization of these clones identified an in-frame deletion in MEK1 (MEK1(K59del)) or NRAS mutation (NRAS(Q61K) and/or NRAS(A146T)) with and without MEK1(P387S) in the BRAF(V600E) background and NRAS(Q61K) in the BRAF(V600K) background. Stable knockdown of NRAS with short hairpin RNA partially restored GSK2118436 sensitivity in mutant NRAS clones, whereas expression of NRAS(Q61K) or NRAS(A146T) in the A375 parental cells decreased sensitivity to GSK2118436. Similarly, expression of MEK1(K59del), but not MEK1(P387S), decreased sensitivity of A375 cells to GSK2118436. The combination of GSK2118436 and GSK1120212 effectively inhibited cell growth, decreased ERK phosphorylation, decreased cyclin D1 protein, and increased p27(kip1) protein in the resistant clones. Moreover, the combination of GSK2118436 or GSK1120212 with the phosphoinositide 3-kinase/mTOR inhibitor GSK2126458 enhanced cell growth inhibition and decreased S6 ribosomal protein phosphorylation in these clones. Our results show that NRAS and/or MEK mutations contribute to BRAF inhibitor resistance in vitro, and the combination of GSK2118436 and GSK1120212 overcomes this resistance. In addition, these resistant clones respond to the combination of GSK2126458 with GSK2118436 or GSK1120212. Clinical trials are ongoing or planned to test these combinations.
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 03/2012; 11(4):909-20. DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0989 · 6.11 Impact Factor
  • Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 11/2011; 10(Supplement 1):B71-B71. DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.TARG-11-B71 · 6.11 Impact Factor
  • Tona M Gilmer
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 11/2011; 10(11):2025. DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0700 · 6.11 Impact Factor
  • David Rusnak, Tona M Gilmer
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 11/2011; 10(11):2019. DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0697 · 6.11 Impact Factor
  • L. Liu, S. Hong, V. Zhang, T. Gilmer
    Cancer Research 07/2011; 71(8 Supplement):4394-4394. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2011-4394 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The HER and MET receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) are coactivated in a subset of human tumors. This study characterizes MET and HER expression and signaling in a panel of human tumor cell lines and the differential susceptibility of these cell lines to single agents or combinations of foretinib, a multikinase MET inhibitor, with HER-targeted agents, erlotinib or lapatinib. Most MET-amplified tumor lines without HER1 or HER2 amplification are sensitive to foretinib, whereas MET-amplified lines with HER1 or HER2 amplification are more sensitive to the combination of foretinib with lapatinib or erlotinib. Interestingly, MET-overexpressing tumor cell lines with HER1 or HER2 amplification also exhibited reduced sensitivity to lapatinib or erlotinib in the presence of hepatocyte growth factor (HGF), indicating MET activation can decrease the effectiveness of HER1/2 inhibitors in some cell lines. Consistent with this observation, the effect of HGF on lapatinib or erlotinib sensitivity in these cells was reversed by foretinib, other MET inhibitors, or siRNA to MET. Western blot analyses showed that combining foretinib with erlotinib or lapatinib effectively decreased the phosphorylation of MET, HER1, HER2, HER3, AKT, and ERK in these cells. Furthermore, HER2-positive advanced or metastatic breast cancer patients treated with lapatinib who had higher tumor MET expression showed shorter progression-free survival (19.29 weeks in MET-high patients vs. 28.14 weeks in MET-low patients, P < 0.0225). These data suggest that combination therapy with foretinib and HER-targeted agents should be tested as a treatment option for HER1- or HER2-positive patients with MET-amplified or -overexpressing tumors.
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 03/2011; 10(3):518-30. DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-10-0698 · 6.11 Impact Factor
  • J. G. Greger, H. Shi, L. Liu, T. M. Gilmer
    Cancer Research 01/2011; 70(8 Supplement):3627-3627. DOI:10.1158/1538-7445.AM10-3627 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: HER2-directed therapies, such as trastuzumab and lapatinib, are important treatments for breast cancer. However, some tumors do not respond or develop resistance to these agents. We isolated and characterized multiple lapatinib-resistant, HER2-positive, estrogen receptor (ER)-positive breast cancer clones derived from lapatinib-sensitive BT474 cells by chronic exposure to lapatinib. We show overexpression of AXL as a novel mechanism of acquired resistance to HER2-targeted agents in these models. GSK1363089 (foretinib), a multikinase inhibitor of AXL, MET, and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor currently in phase II clinical trials, restores lapatinib and trastuzumab sensitivity in these resistant cells that exhibit increased AXL expression. Furthermore, small interfering RNA to AXL, estrogen deprivation, or fulvestrant, an ER antagonist, decreases AXL expression and restores sensitivity to lapatinib in these cells. Taken together, these data provide scientific evidence to assess the expression of AXL in HER2-positive, ER-positive patients who have progressed on either lapatinib or trastuzumab and to test the combination of HER2-targeted agents and GSK1363089 in the clinic.
    Cancer Research 09/2009; 69(17):6871-8. DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-08-4490 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lapatinib, a selective orally available inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and ErbB2 receptor tyrosine kinases, is a promising agent for the treatment of breast cancer. We examined the effect of lapatinib on the development of mammary tumors in MMTV-erbB2 transgenic mice, which express wild-type ErbB2 under the control of the mouse mammary tumor virus promoter and spontaneously develop estrogen receptor (ER)-negative and ErbB2-positive mammary tumors by 14 months of age. Mice were treated from age 3 months to age 15 months with vehicle (n = 17) or lapatinib (30 or 75 mg/kg body weight; n = 16 mice per group) by oral gavage twice daily (6 d/wk). All statistical tests were two-sided. By 328 days after the start of treatment, all 17 (100%) of the vehicle-treated mice vs five (31%) of the 16 mice treated with high-dose lapatinib developed mammary tumors (P < .001). Among MMTV-erbB2 mice treated for 5 months (n = 20 mice per group), those treated with lapatinib had fewer premalignant lesions and noninvasive cancers in their mammary glands than those treated with vehicle (P = .02). Lapatinib also effectively blocked epidermal growth factor-induced signaling through the EGFR and ErbB2 receptors, suppressed cyclin D1 and epiregulin mRNA expression, and stimulated p27 mRNA expression in human mammary epithelial cells and in mammary epithelial cells from mice treated for 5 months with high-dose lapatinib. Thus, cyclin D1, epiregulin, and p27 may represent useful biomarkers of lapatinib response in patients. These data suggest that lapatinib is a promising agent for the prevention of ER-negative breast cancer.
    CancerSpectrum Knowledge Environment 01/2009; 101(2):107-13. DOI:10.1093/jnci/djn436 · 15.16 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Topotecan resistance can result from drug efflux by P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) as well as survival signals initiated by epidermal growth factor receptor family members. The present studies were done to determine the effect of combining topotecan and the dual epidermal growth factor receptor/HER2 inhibitor lapatinib in tissue culture, a murine xenograft model, and a phase I clinical trial. The effects of lapatinib on topotecan accumulation and cytotoxicity in vitro were examined in paired cell lines lacking or expressing Pgp or BCRP. Antiproliferative effects of the combination were assessed in mice bearing HER2+ BT474 breast cancer xenografts. Based on tolerability in this preclinical model, 37 patients with advanced-stage cancers received escalating doses of lapatinib and topotecan in a phase I trial. Lapatinib increased topotecan accumulation in BCRP- or Pgp-expressing cells in vitro, and the combination showed enhanced efficacy in HER2+ BT474 xenografts. In the phase I study, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue were dose limiting. The maximum tolerated doses were 1,250 mg/d lapatinib by mouth for 21 or 28 days with 3.2 mg/m2 topotecan i.v. on days 1, 8, and 15 of 28-day cycles. Pharmacokinetic analyses showed that combined drug administration resulted in decreased topotecan clearance consistent with transporter-mediated interactions. Seventeen (46%) patients had disease stabilization. The lapatinib/topotecan combination is well tolerated and warrants further study.
    Clinical Cancer Research 01/2009; 14(23):7900-8. DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-0415 · 8.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The Translational Research Working Group (TRWG) was created as a national initiative to evaluate the current status of the National Cancer Institute's investment in translational research and envision its future. The TRWG conceptualized translational research as a set of six developmental processes or pathways focused on various clinical goals. One of those pathways describes the development of agents-both small molecules and biologics-for the treatment and prevention of cancer. The Agents Developmental Pathway was conceived not as a comprehensive description of the corresponding real-world processes, but rather as a tool designed to facilitate movement of an agent through the translational process to the point where it can begin definitive clinical testing. This article presents the Agents Developmental Pathway and discusses key challenges associated with the processes described.
    Clinical Cancer Research 10/2008; 14(18):5685-91. DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-08-1265 · 8.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Akt kinases 1, 2, and 3 are important regulators of cell survival and have been shown to be constitutively active in a variety of human tumors. GSK690693 is a novel ATP-competitive, low-nanomolar pan-Akt kinase inhibitor. It is selective for the Akt isoforms versus the majority of kinases in other families; however, it does inhibit additional members of the AGC kinase family. It causes dose-dependent reductions in the phosphorylation state of multiple proteins downstream of Akt, including GSK3 beta, PRAS40, and Forkhead. GSK690693 inhibited proliferation and induced apoptosis in a subset of tumor cells with potency consistent with intracellular inhibition of Akt kinase activity. In immune-compromised mice implanted with human BT474 breast carcinoma xenografts, a single i.p. administration of GSK690693 inhibited GSK3 beta phosphorylation in a dose- and time-dependent manner. After a single dose of GSK690693, >3 micromol/L drug concentration in BT474 tumor xenografts correlated with a sustained decrease in GSK3 beta phosphorylation. Consistent with the role of Akt in insulin signaling, treatment with GSK690693 resulted in acute and transient increases in blood glucose level. Daily administration of GSK690693 produced significant antitumor activity in mice bearing established human SKOV-3 ovarian, LNCaP prostate, and BT474 and HCC-1954 breast carcinoma xenografts. Immunohistochemical analysis of tumor xenografts after repeat dosing with GSK690693 showed reductions in phosphorylated Akt substrates in vivo. These results support further evaluation of GSK690693 as an anticancer agent.
    Cancer Research 05/2008; 68(7):2366-74. DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-5783 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A common aim of pharmacogenomic studies that use genome-wide assays on panels of cancers is the unbiased discovery of genomic alterations that are associated with clinical outcome and drug response. Previous studies of lapatinib, a selective dual-kinase inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER2 tyrosine kinases, have shown predictable relationships between the activity of these target genes and response. Under the hypothesis that additional genes may play a role in drug sensitivity, a predictive model for lapatinib response was constructed from genome-wide DNA copy number data from 24 cancer cell lines. An optimal predictive model which consists of aberrations at nine distinct genetic loci, includes gains of HER2, EGFR, and loss of CDKN2A. This model achieved an area under the receiver operating characteristic curve of approximately 0.85 (80% confidence interval, 0.70-0.98; P < 0.01), and correctly classified the sensitivity status of 8 of 10 head and neck cancer cell lines. This study shows that biomarkers predictive for lapatinib sensitivity, including the previously described copy number gains of EGFR and HER2, can be discovered using novel genomic assays in an unbiased manner. Furthermore, these results show the utility of DNA copy number profiles in pharmacogenomic studies.
    Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 05/2008; 7(4):935-43. DOI:10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-07-2072 · 6.11 Impact Factor
  • Gastroenterology 04/2008; 134(4). DOI:10.1016/S0016-5085(08)63456-3 · 13.93 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The goal of this study was to characterize the effects of non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC)-associated mutations in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR/ErbB1) and HER2 (ErbB2) on interactions with the dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib. Biochemical studies show that commonly observed variants of EGFR [G719C, G719S, L858R, L861Q, and Delta746-750 (del15)] are enzyme activating, increasing the tyrosine kinase V(max) and increasing the K(m)((app)) for ATP. The point mutations G719C and L861Q had minor effects on lapatinib K(i)s, whereas EGFR mutations L858R and del15 had a higher K(i) for lapatinib than wild-type EGFR. Structural analysis of wild-type EGFR-lapatinib complexes and modeling of the EGFR mutants were consistent with these data, suggesting that loss of structural flexibility and possible stabilization of the active-like conformation could interfere with lapatinib binding, particularly to the EGFR deletion mutants. Furthermore, EGFR deletion mutants were relatively resistant to lapatinib-mediated inhibition of receptor autophosphorylation in recombinant cells expressing the variants, whereas EGFR point mutations had a modest or no effect. Of note, EGFR T790M, a receptor variant found in patients with gefitinib-resistant NSCLC, was also resistant to lapatinib-mediated inhibition of receptor autophosphorylation. Two HER2 insertional variants found in NSCLC were less sensitive to lapatinib inhibition than two HER2 point mutants. The effects of lapatinib on the proliferation of human NSCLC tumor cell lines expressing wild-type or variant EGFR and HER2 cannot be explained solely on the basis of the biochemical activity or receptor autophosphorylation in recombinant cells. These data suggest that cell line genetic heterogeneity and/or multiple determinants modulate the role played by EGFR/HER2 in regulating cell proliferation.
    Cancer Research 02/2008; 68(2):571-9. DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-2404 · 9.28 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lapatinib (Tykerb, GW572016), a potent inhibitor of the catalytic activities of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) (ErbB2), inhibits population growth of selected EGFR and HER2 overexpressing cell lines. Previous studies with a small number of cell lines suggest a correlation between overexpression of EGFR and/or HER2 and sensitivity to growth inhibition by lapatinib; however, the precise determinants of lapatinib selectivity for tumour and/or other cells remain unclear. To clarify the determinants of its selectivity in cultured cells, lapatinib-induced cell population growth inhibition and relative EGFR and HER2 protein expression were quantified in 61 different human tumour cell lines from 12 tumour types, two oncogene transformed human cell lines and two normal human cell cultures. Using statistical tools to analyse the data, a model describing the relationship between lapatinib IC(50) (the response variable) and EGFR and HER2 expression and tissue type (explanatory variables) was derived. The results suggest that simultaneous consideration of EGFR and HER2 expression, as well as tissue type yields the best determinant of lapatinib selectivity in cultured cells.
    Cell Proliferation 09/2007; 40(4):580-94. DOI:10.1111/j.1365-2184.2007.00455.x · 3.28 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

5k Citations
542.49 Total Impact Points


  • 1999
    • Centre for Cancer Biology
      Tarndarnya, South Australia, Australia
  • 1988–1995
    • National Institutes of Health
      • • Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology
      • • Laboratory of Human Carcinogenesis
      Bethesda, MD, United States
  • 1985–1989
    • National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
      • Laboratory of Molecular Carcinogenesis (LMC)
      Durham, North Carolina, United States