[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proteins in the B cell CLL/lymphoma 2 (BCL-2) family are key regulators of the apoptotic process. This family comprises proapoptotic and prosurvival proteins, and shifting the balance toward the latter is an established mechanism whereby cancer cells evade apoptosis. The therapeutic potential of directly inhibiting prosurvival proteins was unveiled with the development of navitoclax, a selective inhibitor of both BCL-2 and BCL-2-like 1 (BCL-X(L)), which has shown clinical efficacy in some BCL-2-dependent hematological cancers. However, concomitant on-target thrombocytopenia caused by BCL-X(L) inhibition limits the efficacy achievable with this agent. Here we report the re-engineering of navitoclax to create a highly potent, orally bioavailable and BCL-2-selective inhibitor, ABT-199. This compound inhibits the growth of BCL-2-dependent tumors in vivo and spares human platelets. A single dose of ABT-199 in three patients with refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia resulted in tumor lysis within 24 h. These data indicate that selective pharmacological inhibition of BCL-2 shows promise for the treatment of BCL-2-dependent hematological cancers.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The ability of a cancer cell to avoid apoptosis is crucial to tumorigenesis and can also contribute to chemoresistance. The Bcl-2 family of prosurvival proteins (Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), Bcl-w, Mcl-1, and A1) plays a key role in these processes. We previously reported the discovery of ABT-263 (navitoclax), a potent small-molecule inhibitor of Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), and Bcl-w. While navitoclax exhibits single-agent activity in tumors dependent on Bcl-2 or Bcl-X(L) for survival, the expression of Mcl-1 has been shown to confer resistance to navitoclax, most notably in solid tumors. Thus, therapeutic agents that can downregulate or neutralize Mcl-1 are predicted to synergize potently with navitoclax. Here, we report the activity of navitoclax in combination with 19 clinically relevant agents across a panel of 46 human solid tumor cell lines. Navitoclax broadly enhanced the activity of multiple therapeutic agents in vitro and enhanced efficacy of both docetaxel and erlotinib in xenograft models. The ability of navitoclax to synergize with docetaxel or erlotinib corresponded to an altered sensitivity of the mitochondria toward navitoclax, which was associated with the downmodulation of Mcl-1 and/or upregulation of Bim. These data provide a rationale to interrogate these combinations clinically.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 09/2011; 10(12):2340-9. · 5.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Proteins of the BCL-2 family regulate clonal selection and survival of lymphocytes, and are frequently overexpressed in lymphomas. Navitoclax is a targeted high-affinity small molecule that inhibits the anti-apoptotic activity of BCL-2 and BCL-XL. We aimed to assess the safety and antitumour activity of navitoclax in patients with lymphoid tumours, and establish the drug's pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic profiles.
In this phase 1 dose-escalation study, patients (aged ≥18 years) with relapsed or refractory lymphoid malignancies were enrolled and treated at seven sites in the USA between November, 2006, and November, 2009. A modified Fibonacci 3+3 design was used to assign patients to receive oral navitoclax once daily by one of two dosing schedules: intermittently for the first 14 days of a 21-day cycle (14/21) at doses of 10, 20, 40, 80, 110, 160, 225, 315, or 440 mg/day; or continuously for 21 days of a 21-day cycle (21/21) at doses of 200, 275, 325, or 425 mg/day. Study endpoints were safety, maximum tolerated dose, pharmacokinetic profile, pharmacodynamic effects on platelets and T cells, and antitumour activity. This trial is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00406809.
55 patients were enrolled (median age 59 years, IQR 51-67), 38 to receive the 14/21 dosing schedule, and 17 to receive the 21/21 dosing schedule. Common toxic effects included grade 1 or 2 anaemia (41 patients), infection (39), diarrhoea (31), nausea (29), and fatigue (21); and grade 3 or 4 thrombocytopenia (29), lymphocytopenia (18), and neutropenia (18). On the intermittent 14/21 schedule, dose-limiting toxic effects were hospital admissions for bronchitis (one) and pleural effusion (one), grade 3 increase in aminotransferases (one), grade 4 thrombocytopenia (one), and grade 3 cardiac arrhythmia (one). To reduce platelet nadir associated with intermittent 14/21 dosing, we assessed a 150 mg/day lead-in dose followed by a continuous 21/21 dosing schedule. On the 21/21 dosing schedule, two patients did not complete the first cycle and were excluded from assessment of dose-limiting toxic effects; dose-limiting toxic effects were grade 4 thrombocytopenia (one), grade 3 increase in aminotransferases (one), and grade 3 gastrointestinal bleeding (one). Navitoclax showed a pharmacodynamic effect on circulating platelets and T cells. Clinical responses occurred across the range of doses and in several tumour types. Ten of 46 patients with assessable disease had a partial response, and these responders had median progression-free survival of 455 days (IQR 40-218).
Navitoclax has a novel mechanism of peripheral thrombocytopenia and T-cell lymphopenia, attributable to high-affinity inhibition of BCL-XL and BCL-2, respectively. On the basis of these findings, a 150 mg 7-day lead-in dose followed by a 325 mg dose administered on a continuous 21/21 dosing schedule was selected for phase 2 study.
Abbott Laboratories, Genentech, and National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health.
The Lancet Oncology 12/2010; 11(12):1149-59. · 25.12 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We describe the development of a novel series of N-aryl-benzimidazolone HSP90 inhibitors (9) targeting the N-terminal ATP-ase site. SAR development was influenced by structure-based design based around X-ray structures of ligand bound HSP90 complexes. Lead compounds exhibited high binding affinities, ATP-ase inhibition and cellular client protein degradation.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is the most deadly type of cancer in the United States and worldwide. Although new therapy is available, the survival rate of NSCLC patients remains low. One hallmark of cancer cells is defects in the apoptotic cell death program. In this study, we investigate the role of B-cell lymphoma 2 (Bcl-2) family members Bcl-2, Bcl-x(L) and Mcl-1, known to regulate cell survival and death, in a panel of fourteen NSCLC cell lines. NSCLC cell lines express high levels of Mcl-1 and Bcl-x(L), but not Bcl-2. Silencing the expression of Mcl-1 with small interfering RNA (siRNA) oligonucleotides potently killed a subgroup of NSCLC cell lines. In contrast, Bcl-x(L) siRNA had no effect in these lines unless Mcl-1 siRNA was also introduced. Interestingly, high MCL1 to BCL-xl messenger RNA determines whether the cells depend on Mcl-1 for survival. We further investigated the role of Mcl-1 in NSCLC cells using a Mcl-1-dependent cell line, H23. The expression of a complementary DNA containing only the coding region of MCL1 rescued H23 cells from the toxicity of a 3' untranslated region (UTR) targeting Mcl-1 siRNA but not a siRNA targeting the coding region of MCL1. Furthermore, we show that Mcl-1 sequesters the BH3-only protein Noxa and Bim and the apoptotic effector Bak. Not surprisingly, Noxa, Bim, or Bak knockdown partially rescued H23 cells from toxicity mediated by Mcl-1 siRNA to different degrees. Collectively, our results indicate that targeting Mcl-1 may improve therapy for a subset of NSCLC patients.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Bcl-2 family of proteins plays a major role in the regulation of apoptosis, or programmed cell death. Overexpression of the anti-apoptotic members of this family (Bcl-2, Bcl-x(L), and Mcl-1) can render cancer cells resistant to chemotherapeutic agents and therefore these proteins are important targets for the development of new anti-cancer agents. Here we describe the discovery of a potent, highly selective, Bcl-2 inhibitor using SAR by NMR and structure-based drug design which could serve as a starting point for the development of a Bcl-2 selective anti-cancer agent. Such an agent would potentially overcome the Bcl-x(L) mediated thrombocytopenia observed with ABT-263.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study was designed to test the ability of the Bcl-2 family inhibitor ABT-263 to potentiate commonly used chemotherapeutic agents and regimens in hematologic tumor models.
Models of B-cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma were tested in vitro and in vivo with ABT-263 in combination with standard chemotherapeutic regimens, including VAP, CHOP and R-CHOP, as well as single cytotoxic agents including etoposide, rituximab, bortezomib and cyclophosphamide. Alterations in Bcl-2 family member expression patterns were analyzed to define mechanisms of potentiation.
ABT-263 was additive with etoposide, vincristine and VAP in vitro in the diffuse large B-cell lymphoma line (DLBCL) DoHH-2, while rituximab potentiated its activity in SuDHL-4. Bortezomib strongly synergized with ABT-263 in the mantle cell lymphoma line Granta 519. Treatment of DoHH-2 with etoposide was associated with an increase in Puma expression, while bortezomib upregulated Noxa expression in Granta 519. Combination of ABT-263 with cytotoxic agents demonstrated superior tumor growth inhibition and delay in multiple models versus cytotoxic therapy alone, along with significant improvements in tumor response rates.
Inhibition of the Bcl-2 family of proteins by ABT-263 enhances the cytotoxicity of multiple chemotherapeutics in hematologic tumors and represents a promising addition to the therapeutic arsenal for treatment of these diseases.
Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology 10/2010; 66(5):869-80. · 2.80 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Bcl-2 family of proteins plays a critical role in controlling immune responses by regulating the expansion and contraction of activated lymphocyte clones by apoptosis. ABT-737, which was originally developed for oncology, is a potent inhibitor of Bcl-2, Bcl-x(L), and Bcl-w protein function. There is evidence that Bcl-2-associated dysregulation of lymphocyte apoptosis may contribute to the pathogenesis of autoimmunity and lead to the development of autoimmune diseases. In this study, we report that ABT-737 treatment resulted in potent inhibition of lymphocyte proliferation as measured by in vitro mitogenic or ex vivo Ag-specific stimulation. More importantly, ABT-737 significantly reduced disease severity in tissue-specific and systemic animal models of autoimmunity. Bcl-2 family antagonism by ABT-737 was efficacious in treating animal models of arthritis and lupus. Our results suggest that treatment with a Bcl-2 family antagonist represents a novel and potentially attractive therapeutic approach for the clinical treatment of autoimmunity.
The Journal of Immunology 07/2009; 182(12):7482-9. · 5.52 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: ABT-263 is a potent, orally bioavailable inhibitor of the antiapoptotic Bcl-2 family members Bcl-2, Bcl-x(L), and Bcl-w, which is currently in phase I clinical trials. Previous work has shown that this compound has low nanomolar cell-killing activity in a variety of lymphoma and leukemia cell lines, many of which overexpress Bcl-2 through a variety of mechanisms. Rapamycin is a macrolide antibiotic that inhibits the mammalian target of rapamycin complex, leading to cell cycle arrest and inhibition of protein translation. Rapamycin (and its analogues) has shown activity in a variety of tumor cell lines primarily through induction of cell cycle arrest. Activity has also been shown clinically in mantle cell lymphoma and advanced renal cell carcinoma. Here, we show that treatment of the follicular lymphoma lines DoHH-2 and SuDHL-4 with 100 nmol/L rapamycin induces substantial G(0)-G(1) arrest. Addition of as little as 39 nmol/L ABT-263 to the rapamycin regimen induced a 3-fold increase in sub-G(0) cells. Combination of these agents also led to a significant increase in Annexin V staining over ABT-263 alone. In xenograft models of these tumors, rapamycin induced a largely cytostatic response in the DoHH-2 and SuDHL-4 models. Coadministration with ABT-263 induced significant tumor regression, with DoHH-2 and SuDHL-4 tumors showing 100% overall response rates. Apoptosis in these tumors was significantly enhanced by combination therapy as measured by staining with an antibody specific for cleaved caspase-3. These data suggest that combination of ABT-263 and rapamycin or its analogues represents a promising therapeutic strategy for the treatment of lymphoma.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 11/2008; 7(10):3265-74. · 5.60 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Overexpression of prosurvival proteins such as Bcl-2 and Bcl-X L has been correlated with tumorigenesis and resistance to chemotherapy, and thus, the development of antagonists of these proteins may provide a novel means for the treatment of cancer. We recently described the discovery of 1 (ABT-737), which binds Bcl-2, Bcl-X L, and Bcl-w with high affinity, shows robust antitumor activity in murine tumor xenograft models, but is not orally bioavailable. Herein, we report that targeted modifications at three key positions of 1 resulted in a 20-fold improvement in the pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic relationship (PK/PD) between oral exposure (AUC) and in vitro efficacy in human tumor cell lines (EC 50). The resulting compound, 2 (ABT-263), is orally efficacious in an established xenograft model of human small cell lung cancer, inducing complete tumor regressions in all animals. Compound 2 is currently in multiple phase 1 clinical trials in patients with small cell lung cancer and hematological malignancies.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 11/2008; 51(21):6902-15. · 5.61 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This study evaluated epithelial cell death ELISAs that measure circulating cytokeratin 18 in mice bearing small-cell lung cancer xenografts treated with a proapoptotic dose of the BH-3 mimetic ABT-737.
H146 tumor-bearing and non-H146 tumor-bearing severe combined immunodeficient (SCID)/bg mice were treated with ABT-737 or vehicle control. Plasma collected before and 2 to 360 hours after treatment was analyzed by M30 (caspase-cleaved cytokeratin 18) and M65 (intact and cleaved cytokeratin 18) ELISA. In parallel, tumors were interrogated for cleaved caspase-3 and cleaved cytokeratin 18 as biomarkers of apoptosis.
ABT-737-treated tumors regressed by 48 hours (P < 0.01) compared with controls, correlating with increased cleaved cytokeratin 18 (P < 0.01; 6 and 24 hours) and increased intact cytokeratin 18 (P < 0.01; 24 hours). Cleaved cytokeratin 18 levels decreased below baseline between 72 and 360 hours for ABT-737-treated and control mice whereas intact cytokeratin 18 decreased below the level of detection at 8 and 15 days in ABT-737-treated mice only. Apoptosis in tumors reflected changes in circulating cytokeratin 18 (cleaved caspase-3, P < 0.05 at 2 hours and P < 0.001 at 6, 12, and 24 hours; caspase-cleaved cytokeratin 18, P < 0.05 at 15 days, for drug treated versus controls).
ABT-737 caused tumor regression by apoptosis in H146 xenografts that mapped to a drug-specific, early increase in circulating cleaved cytokeratin 18 that subsequently declined. Circulating, intact cytokeratin 18 levels correlated with tumor burden. Cleaved caspase-3 and caspase-cleaved cytokeratin 18 in tumor correlated with treatment (P < 0.05, 2 hours; P < 0.001, 6, 12, and 24 hours; cleaved caspase-3, P < 0.05, 15 days; caspase-cleaved cytokeratin 18), indicating that events in plasma were tumor derived. These circulating biomarker data will be translated to clinical trials wherein serial tumor biopsies are rarely obtained.
Clinical Cancer Research 11/2008; 14(22):7304-10. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The purpose of this study was to characterize the activity of the Bcl-2 protein family inhibitor ABT-263 in a panel of small cell lung cancer (SCLC) xenograft models.
A panel of 11 SCLC xenograft models was established to evaluate the efficacy of ABT-263. Single agent activity was examined on a continuous dosing schedule in each of these models. The H146 model was used to further evaluate dose and schedule, comparison to standard cytotoxic agents, and induction of apoptosis.
ABT-263 exhibited a range of antitumor activity, leading to complete tumor regression in several models. Significant regressions of tumors as large as 1 cc were also observed. The efficacy of ABT-263 was also quite durable; in several cases, minimal tumor regrowth was noted several weeks after the cessation of treatment. Antitumor effects were equal or superior to that of several clinically approved cytotoxic agents. Regression of large established tumors was observed through several cycles of therapy and efficacy was retained in a Pgp-1 overexpressing line. Significant efficacy was observed on several dose and therapeutic schedules and was associated with significant induction of apoptosis.
ABT-263 is a potent, orally bioavailable inhibitor of Bcl-2 family proteins that has recently entered clinical trials. The efficacy data reported here suggest that SCLC is a promising area of clinical investigation with this agent.
Clinical Cancer Research 06/2008; 14(11):3268-77. · 7.84 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Overexpression of the prosurvival Bcl-2 family members (Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Mcl-1) is commonly associated with tumor maintenance, progression, and chemoresistance. We previously reported the discovery of ABT-737, a potent, small-molecule Bcl-2 family protein inhibitor. A major limitation of ABT-737 is that it is not orally bioavailable, which would limit chronic single agent therapy and flexibility to dose in combination regimens. Here we report the biological properties of ABT-263, a potent, orally bioavailable Bad-like BH3 mimetic (K(i)'s of <1 nmol/L for Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Bcl-w). The oral bioavailability of ABT-263 in preclinical animal models is 20% to 50%, depending on formulation. ABT-263 disrupts Bcl-2/Bcl-xL interactions with pro-death proteins (e.g., Bim), leading to the initiation of apoptosis within 2 hours posttreatment. In human tumor cells, ABT-263 induces Bax translocation, cytochrome c release, and subsequent apoptosis. Oral administration of ABT-263 alone induces complete tumor regressions in xenograft models of small-cell lung cancer and acute lymphoblastic leukemia. In xenograft models of aggressive B-cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma where ABT-263 exhibits modest or no single agent activity, it significantly enhances the efficacy of clinically relevant therapeutic regimens. These data provide the rationale for clinical trials evaluating ABT-263 in small-cell lung cancer and B-cell malignancies. The oral efficacy of ABT-263 should provide dosing flexibility to maximize clinical utility both as a single agent and in combination regimens.
Cancer Research 05/2008; 68(9):3421-8. · 8.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The molecular chaperone HSP90 has been shown to facilitate cancer cell survival by stabilizing key proteins responsible for a malignant phenotype. We report here the results of parallel fragment-based drug design approaches in the design of novel HSP90 inhibitors. Initial aminopyrimidine leads were elaborated using high-throughput organic synthesis to yield nanomolar inhibitors of the enzyme. Second site leads were also identified which bound to HSP90 in two distinct conformations, an 'open' and 'closed' form. Intriguingly, linked fragment approaches targeting both of these conformations were successful in producing novel, micromolar inhibitors. Overall, this study shows that, with only a few fragment hits, multiple lead series can be generated for HSP90 due to the inherent flexibility of the active site. Thus, ample opportunities exist to use these lead series in the development of clinically useful HSP90 inhibitors for the treatment of cancers.
Chemical Biology & Drug Design 08/2007; 70(1):1-12. · 2.47 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Platelets are relatively short-lived, anucleated cells that are essential for proper hemostasis. The regulation of platelet survival in the circulation remains poorly understood. The process of platelet activation and senescence in vivo is associated with processes similar to those observed during apoptosis in nucleated cells, including loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, caspase activation, phosphatidylserine (PS) externalization, and cell shrinkage. ABT-737, a potent antagonist of Bcl-2, Bcl-X(L), and Bcl-w, induces apoptosis in nucleated cells dependent on these proteins for survival. In vivo, ABT-737 induces a reduction of circulating platelets that is maintained during drug therapy, followed by recovery to normal levels within several days after treatment cessation. Whole body scintography utilizing ()Indium-labeled platelets in dogs shows that ABT-737-induced platelet clearance is primarily mediated by the liver. In vitro, ABT-737 treatment leads to activation of key apoptotic processes including cytochrome c release, caspase-3 activation, and PS externalization in isolated platelets. Despite these changes, ABT-737 is ineffective in promoting platelet activation as measured by granule release markers and platelet aggregation. Taken together, these data suggest that ABT-737 induces an apoptosis-like response in platelets that is distinct from platelet activation and results in enhanced clearance in vivo by the reticuloendothelial system.
Cell Death and Differentiation 06/2007; 14(5):943-51. · 8.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Survivin is one of the most tumor-specific genes in the human genome and is an attractive target for cancer therapy. However, small-molecule ligands for survivin have not yet been described. Thus, an interrogation of survivin which could potentially both validate a small-molecule therapy approach, and determine the biochemical nature of any of survivin's functions has not been possible. Here we describe the discovery and characterization of a small molecule binding site on the survivin surface distinct from the Smac peptide-binding site. The new site is located at the dimer interface and exhibits many of the features of highly druggable, biologically relevant protein binding sites. A variety of small hydrophobic compounds were found that bind with moderate affinity to this binding site, from which one lead was developed into a group of compounds with nanomolar affinity. Additionally, a subset of these compounds are adequately water-soluble and cell-permeable. Thus, the structural studies and small molecules described here provide tools that can be used to probe the biochemical role(s) of survivin, and may ultimately serve as a basis for the development of small molecule therapeutics acting via direct or allosteric disruption of binding events related to this poorly understood target.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Overexpression of the antiapototic proteins Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL provides a common mechanism through which cancer cells gain a survival advantage and become resistant to conventional chemotherapy. Inhibition of these prosurvival proteins is an attractive strategy for cancer therapy. We recently described the discovery of a selective Bcl-xL antagonist that potentiates the antitumor activity of chemotherapy and radiation. Here we describe the use of structure-guided design to exploit a deep hydrophobic binding pocket on the surface of these proteins to develop the first dual, subnanomolar inhibitors of Bcl-xL and Bcl-2. This study culminated in the identification of 2, which exhibited EC50 values of 8 nM and 30 nM in Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL dependent cells, respectively. Compound 2 demonstrated single agent efficacy against human follicular lymphoma cell lines that overexpress Bcl-2, and efficacy in a murine xenograft model of lymphoma when given both as a single agent and in combination with etoposide.
Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 03/2007; 50(4):641-62. · 5.61 Impact Factor