Ellen Wei

The Princess Margaret Hospital, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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Publications (8)77.13 Total impact

  • Source
    British Journal of Haematology 02/2014; DOI:10.1111/bjh.12785 · 4.94 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Therapeutic strategies that target insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF-1R) hold promise in a wide variety of cancers including multiple myeloma (MM). In this study, we describe GTx-134, a novel small-molecule inhibitor of IGF-1R and insulin receptor (IR) and characterized its antitumor activity in preclinical models of MM. The activity of GTx-134 as a single agent and in combination was tested in MM cell lines and primary patient samples. Downstream effector proteins and correlation with apoptosis was evaluated. Cytotoxcity in bone marrow stroma coculture experiments was assessed. Finally, the in vivo efficacy was evaluated in a human myeloma xenograft model. GTx-134 inhibited the growth of 10 of 14 myeloma cell lines (<5 ╬╝mol/L) and induced apoptosis. Sensitivity to GTx-134 correlated with IGF-1R signal inhibition. Expression of MDR-1 and CD45 were associated with resistance to GTx-134. Coculture with insulin-growth factor-1 (IGF-1) or adherence to bone marrow stroma conferred modest resistance, but did not overcome GTx-134-induced cytotoxicity. GTx-134 showed in vitro synergies when combined with dexamethasone or lenalidomide. Further, GTx-134 enhanced the activity of PD173074, a fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) inhibitor, against t(4;14) myeloma cells. Therapeutic efficacy of GTx-134 was shown against primary cells and xenograft tumors. Although dysregulation of glucose homeostasis was observed in GTx-134-treated mice, impairment of glucose tolerance was modest. These studies support the potential therapeutic efficacy of GTx-134 in MM. Further, they provide a rationale for clinical application in combination with established antimyeloma treatments and novel targeted therapies.
    Clinical Cancer Research 06/2011; 17(14):4693-704. DOI:10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-10-3097 · 8.19 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Lenalidomide is an oral immunomodulatory drug with multiple effects on the immune system and tumor cell microenvironment leading to inhibition of malignant cell growth. Based on encouraging reports of lenalidomide in relapsed and refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), we investigated the first-line use of single-agent lenalidomide in CLL. Using a starting dose of lenalidomide 10 mg/d for 21 days of a 28-day cycle and weekly 5-mg dose escalations to a target of 25 mg, we encountered severe toxicities (tumor lysis, fatal sepsis) in the first two patients enrolled. The study was halted and the protocol amended to a more conservative regimen: starting dose of lenalidomide 2.5 mg with monthly escalations to a target dose of 10 mg, and extended tumor lysis prophylaxis and monitoring. Gene expression profiles from patient samples before and after 7 days of lenalidomide were performed. Twenty-five patients were enrolled on the amended protocol. No further tumor lysis events were reported. Tumor flare was common (88%) but mild. Grade 3 to 4 neutropenia occurred in 72% of patients, with only five episodes of febrile neutropenia. The overall response rate was 56% (no complete responses). Although rapid peripheral lymphocyte reductions were observed, rebound lymphocytoses during the week off-therapy were common. Lenalidomide-induced molecular changes enriched for cytoskeletal and immune-related genes were identified. Lenalidomide is clinically active as first-line CLL therapy and is well-tolerated if a conservative approach with slow dose escalation is used. A lenalidomide-induced molecular signature provides insights into its immunomodulatory mechanisms of action in CLL.
    Journal of Clinical Oncology 12/2010; 29(9):1175-81. DOI:10.1200/JCO.2010.29.8133 · 17.88 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Overexpression of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) is a hallmark of t(4;14) multiple myeloma (MM). To dissect the mechanism of FGFR3 oncogenesis in MM, we used 3 FGFR selective kinase inhibitors-CHIR258, PD173074, and SU5402-and FGFR3-specific siRNA to modulate FGFR3 activity. Conversely, the ligand FGF was used to stimulate FGFR3 function in human MM cells. The transcriptional response to FGFR3 modification was recorded, and gene expression changes common to all 5 modifiers were documented. Ten genes were commonly regulated. Macrophage inflammatory protein-1 alpha (MIP-1alpha) was the single most differentially altered gene. MIP-1 alpha promoter function, gene expression, and protein secretion were each down-regulated following inhibition of FGFR3 signaling. Down-regulation of MIP-1 alpha was not, however, observed following FGFR3 inhibition in MM cells with RAS mutations implicating RAS-MAPK in MIP-1 alpha regulation. As confirmation, inhibition of ERK1 also down-regulated MIP-1 alpha in FGFR3 inhibitor-resistant cells harboring RAS mutations. MIP-1 alpha is implicated in the survival and proliferation of MM cells and the pathogenesis of MM bone disease. Our observation is the first to directly link an initiating IgH translocation not only to MM-cell growth and survival but also to the disease-associated bone disease.
    Blood 12/2006; 108(10):3465-71. DOI:10.1182/blood-2006-04-017087 · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The association of fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3) expression with t(4;14) multiple myeloma (MM) and the demonstration of the transforming potential of this receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) make it a particularly attractive target for drug development. We report here a novel and highly specific anti-FGFR3-neutralizing antibody (PRO-001). PRO-001 binds to FGFR3 expressed on transformed cells and inhibits FGFR3 autophosphorylation and downstream signaling. The antibody inhibited the growth of FGFR3-expressing FDCP cells (IC(50) of 0.5 microg/mL) but not that of cells expressing FGFR1 or FGFR2, and potently inhibited FGFR3-dependent solid tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model. Furthermore, PRO-001 inhibited the growth of the FGFR3-expressing, human myeloma cell line, UTMC2. Inhibition of viability was still observed when cells were cocultured with stroma or in the presence of IL-6 or IGF-1. PRO-001 did not inhibit constitutive activation of K650E, G384D, and Y373C FGFR3 in myeloma cell lines and failed to inhibit the growth of these cells. Most importantly, however, PRO-001 induced cytotoxic responses in primary t(4;14)(+) MM samples with an increase in apoptotic index of 20% to 80% as determined by annexin V staining. The data demonstrate that PRO-001 is a potent and specific inhibitor of FGFR3 and deserves further study for the treatment of FGFR3-expressing myeloma.
    Blood 06/2006; 107(10):4039-46. DOI:10.1182/blood-2005-10-4179 · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The t(4;14) translocation that occurs uniquely in a subset (15%) of patients with multiple myeloma (MM) results in the ectopic expression of the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK), fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 (FGFR3). Inhibition of activated FGFR3 in MM cells induces apoptosis, validating FGFR3 as a therapeutic target in t(4;14) MM and encouraging the clinical development of FGFR3 inhibitors for the treatment of these patients, who have a poor prognosis. We describe here the characterization of a novel, small-molecule inhibitor of class III, IV, and V RTKs, CHIR-258, as an inhibitor of FGFR3. CHIR-258 potently inhibits FGFR3 with an inhibitory concentration of 50% (IC50) of 5 nM in in vitro kinase assays and selectively inhibited the growth of B9 cells and human myeloma cell lines expressing wild-type (WT) or activated mutant FGFR3. In responsive cell lines, CHIR-258 induced cytostatic and cytotoxic effects. Importantly, addition of interleukin 6 (IL-6) or insulin growth factor 1 (IGF-1) or coculture on stroma did not confer resistance to CHIR-258. In primary myeloma cells from t(4;14) patients, CHIR-258 inhibited downstream extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) 1/2 phosphorylation with an associated cytotoxic response. Finally, therapeutic efficacy of CHIR-258 was demonstrated in a xenograft mouse model of FGFR3 MM. These studies support the clinical evaluation of CHIR-258 in MM.
    Blood 05/2005; 105(7):2941-8. DOI:10.1182/blood-2004-10-3913 · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: HACS1 is a Src homology 3 and sterile alpha motif domain-containing adaptor that is preferentially expressed in normal hematopoietic tissues and malignancies including myeloid leukemia, lymphoma, and myeloma. Microarray data showed HACS1 expression is up-regulated in activated human B cells treated with interleukin (IL)-4, CD40L, and anti-immunoglobulin (Ig)M and clustered with genes involved in signaling, including TNF receptor-associated protein 1, signaling lymphocytic activation molecule, IL-6, and DEC205. Immunoblot analysis demonstrated that HACS1 is up-regulated by IL-4, IL-13, anti-IgM, and anti-CD40 in human peripheral blood B cells. In murine spleen B cells, Hacs1 can also be up-regulated by lipopolysaccharide but not IL-13. Induction of Hacs1 by IL-4 is dependent on Stat6 signaling and can also be impaired by inhibitors of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, protein kinase C, and nuclear factor kappaB. HACS1 associates with tyrosine-phosphorylated proteins after B cell activation and binds in vitro to the inhibitory molecule paired Ig-like receptor B. Overexpression of HACS1 in murine spleen B cells resulted in a down-regulation of the activation marker CD23 and enhancement of CD138 expression, IgM secretion, and Xbp-1 expression. Knock down of HACS1 in a human B lymphoma cell line by small interfering ribonucleic acid did not significantly change IL-4-stimulated B cell proliferation. Our study demonstrates that HACS1 is up-regulated by B cell activation signals and is a participant in B cell activation and differentiation.
    Journal of Experimental Medicine 10/2004; 200(6):737-47. DOI:10.1084/jem.20031816 · 13.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have previously generated a mouse transgenic line with an insertional mutation designated lpd that demonstrates a phenotype of hypertriglyceridemia and fatty liver. Since the recently identified phosphatidylserine-specific phospholipase A1 (PS-PLA1) demonstrates significant homology to triglyceride lipases, we reasoned that the mouse Ps-plaI gene may be the disrupted gene within the lpd locus. Using a rat PS-PLA1 cDNA sequence to search the EST database, we identified a mouse EST homolog AA839424. Sequencing analysis of AA839424 revealed a putative Ps-pla1 protein of 456 amino acids with extensive overall structural conservation with human and rat PS-PLA1 and with triglyceride lipases. Conserved sequences in Ps-pla1 include a lipase consensus sequences GxSxG, a catalytic triad, and eight of the ten conserved cysteine residues that are required for tertiary structure. Mouse Ps-plal carries a phosphatidylserine-binding motif that is absent in all triglyceride lipases. Using a mouse whole-genome radiation hybrid (WG-RH) mapping panel (T31), we mapped mouse Ps-pla1 to Chromosome (Chr) 16 between genetic markers D16Mit194 and D16Mit38, which is 17.1 cM centromeric to the lpd locus. On the basis of chromosome location, we conclude that Ps-pla1 and lpd are distinct genes in lipid metabolism.
    Mammalian Genome 03/2001; 12(2):129-32. DOI:10.1007/s003350010256 · 2.88 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

378 Citations
77.13 Total Impact Points


  • 2010–2011
    • The Princess Margaret Hospital
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2006
    • University of Pittsburgh
      Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
  • 2004–2005
    • University of Toronto
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada
  • 2001
    • University Health Network
      • Division of Experimental Therapeutics
      Toronto, Ontario, Canada