[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background: Microglia are dependent upon colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) signaling for their survival in the adult brain, with administration of the dual CSF1R/c-kit inhibitor PLX3397 leading to the near-complete elimination of all microglia brainwide. Here, we determined the dose-dependent effects of a specific CSF1R inhibitor (PLX5622) on microglia in both wild-type and the 3xTg-AD mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.
Methods: Wild-type mice were treated with PLX5622 for up to 21 days, and the effects on microglial numbers were assessed. 3xTg-AD mice were treated with PLX5622 for 6 or 12 weeks and effects on microglial numbers and pathology subsequently assessed.
Results: High doses of CSF1R inhibitor eliminate most microglia from the brain, but a 75 % lower-dose results in sustained elimination of ~30 % of microglia in both wild-type and 3xTg-AD mice. No behavioral or cognitive deficits were found in mice either depleted of microglia or treated with lower CSF1R inhibitor concentrations. Aged 3xTg-AD mice treated for 6 or 12 weeks with lower levels of PLX5622 resulted in improved learning and memory. Aβ levels and plaque loads were not altered, but microglia in treated mice no longer associated with plaques, revealing a role for the CSF1R in the microglial reaction to plaques, as well as in mediating cognitive deficits.
Conclusions: We find that inhibition of CSF1R alone is sufficient to eliminate microglia and that sustained microglial elimination is concentration-dependent. Inhibition of the CSF1R at lower levels in 3xTg-AD mice prevents microglial association with plaques and improves cognition.
Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, Neuroinflammation, Cognition, Therapeutics
Journal of Neuroinflammation 08/2015; 12(139). DOI:10.1186/s12974-015-0366-9 · 4.90 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Expression of the colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) gene is elevated in most tenosynovial giant-cell tumors. This observation has led to the discovery and clinical development of therapy targeting the CSF1 receptor (CSF1R).
Using x-ray co-crystallography to guide our drug-discovery research, we generated a potent, selective CSF1R inhibitor, PLX3397, that traps the kinase in the autoinhibited conformation. We then conducted a multicenter, phase 1 trial in two parts to analyze this compound. In the first part, we evaluated escalations in the dose of PLX3397 that was administered orally in patients with solid tumors (dose-escalation study). In the second part, we evaluated PLX3397 at the chosen phase 2 dose in an extension cohort of patients with tenosynovial giant-cell tumors (extension study). Pharmacokinetic and tumor responses in the enrolled patients were assessed, and CSF1 in situ hybridization was performed to confirm the mechanism of action of PLX3397 and that the pattern of CSF1 expression was consistent with the pathological features of tenosynovial giant-cell tumor.
A total of 41 patients were enrolled in the dose-escalation study, and an additional 23 patients were enrolled in the extension study. The chosen phase 2 dose of PLX3397 was 1000 mg per day. In the extension study, 12 patients with tenosynovial giant-cell tumors had a partial response and 7 patients had stable disease. Responses usually occurred within the first 4 months of treatment, and the median duration of response exceeded 8 months. The most common adverse events included fatigue, change in hair color, nausea, dysgeusia, and periorbital edema; adverse events rarely led to discontinuation of treatment.
Treatment of tenosynovial giant-cell tumors with PLX3397 resulted in a prolonged regression in tumor volume in most patients. (Funded by Plexxikon; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01004861.).
New England Journal of Medicine 07/2015; 373(5):428-37. DOI:10.1056/NEJMoa1411366 · 54.42 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor cells frequently metastasize to bone where they can generate cancer-induced bone pain (CIBP) that can be difficult to fully control using available therapies. Here we explored whether PLX3397, a high affinity, small molecular antagonist that binds to and inhibits phosphorylation of colony stimulating factor-1 receptor (CSF1R), the tyrosine-protein kinase c-Kit, and the FMS-like tyrosine kinase 3 (FLT3), can reduce CIBP. These three targets all regulate the proliferation and function of a subset of the myeloid cells including macrophages, osteoclasts, and mast cells. Preliminary experiments show that PLX3397 attenuated inflammatory pain following formalin injection into the hindpaw of the rat. As there is an inflammatory component in CIBP, involving macrophages and osteoclasts, the effect of PLX3397 was explored in a prostate model of CIBP where skeletal pain, cancer cell proliferation, tumor metastasis, and bone remodeling could be monitored in the same animal. Administration of PLX3397 was initiated on day 14 following prostate cancer cell injection when the tumor was well established and tumor-induced bone remodeling was first evident. Over the next six weeks, sustained administration of PLX3397 attenuated CIBP behaviors by approximately 50% and was equally efficacious in reducing tumor cell growth, formation of new tumor colonies in bone, and pathological tumor-induced bone remodeling. Developing a better understanding of potential effects analgesic therapies have on the tumor itself may allow the development of therapies which not only better control the pain but positively impact disease progression and overall survival in patients with bone cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malignant melanoma is an aggressive tumor type that often develops drug resistance to targeted therapeutics. The production of colony stimulating factor 1 (CSF-1) in tumors recruits myeloid cells such as M2-polarized macrophages and myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC), leading to an immune suppressive tumor milieu.
We used the syngeneic mouse model of BRAF (V600E) -driven melanoma SM1, which secretes CSF-1, to evaluate the ability of the CSF-1 receptor (CSF-1R) inhibitor PLX3397 to improve the antitumor efficacy of the oncogenic BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib.
Combined BRAF and CSF-1R inhibition resulted in superior antitumor responses compared with either therapy alone. In mice receiving PLX3397 treatment, a dramatic reduction of tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells (TIM) was observed. In this model, we could not detect a direct effect of TIMs or pro-survival cytokines produced by TIMs that could confer resistance to PLX4032 (vemurafenib). However, the macrophage inhibitory effects of PLX3397 treatment in combination with the paradoxical activation of wild type BRAF-expressing immune cells mediated by PLX4032 resulted in more tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL). Depletion of CD8+ T-cells abrogated the antitumor response to the combination therapy. Furthermore, TILs isolated from SM1 tumors treated with PLX3397 and PLX4032 displayed higher immune potentiating activity.
The combination of BRAF-targeted therapy with CSF-1R blockade resulted in increased CD8 T-cell responses in the SM1 melanoma model, supporting the ongoing evaluation of this therapeutic combination in patients with BRAF (V600) mutant metastatic melanoma.
BMC Cancer 05/2015; 15(1):356. DOI:10.1186/s12885-015-1377-8 · 3.32 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor associated macrophages (TAM) can promote angiogenesis, invasiveness and immunosuppression. The cytokine CSF-1 (or M-CSF) is an important factor of TAM recruitment and differentiation and several pharmacological agents targeting the CSF-1 receptor (CSF-1R) have been developed to regulate TAM in solid cancers. We show that the kinase inhibitor PLX3397 strongly dampened the systemic and local accumulation of macrophages driven by B16F10 melanomas, without affecting Gr-1+ myeloid derived suppressor cells. Removal of intratumoral macrophages was remarkably efficient and a modest, but statistically significant, delay in melanoma outgrowth was observed. Importantly, CSF-1R inhibition strongly enhanced tumor control by immunotherapy using tumor-specific CD8 T cells. Elevated IFNγ production by T cells was observed in mice treated with the combination of PLX3397 and immunotherapy. These results support the combined use of CSF-1R inhibition with CD8 T cell immunotherapy, especially for macrophage-stimulating tumors.
PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e104230. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0104230 · 3.23 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer immunotherapy generally offers limited clinical benefit without coordinated strategies to mitigate the immunosuppressive nature of the tumor microenvironment. Critical drivers of immune escape in the tumor microenvironment include tumor-associated macrophages (TAM) and myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSC), which not only mediate immune suppression but also promote metastatic dissemination and impart resistance to cytotoxic therapies. Thus, strategies to ablate the effects of these myeloid cell populations may offer great therapeutic potential. In this report, we demonstrate in a mouse model of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) that inhibiting signaling by the myeloid growth factor receptor CSF1R can functionally reprogram macrophage responses that enhance antigen presentation and productive anti-tumor T cell responses. Investigations of this response revealed that CSF1R blockade also upregulated T cell checkpoint molecules, including PDL1 and CTLA4, thereby restraining beneficial therapeutic effects. We found that PD1 and CTLA4 antagonists showed limited efficacy as single agents to restrain PDAC growth, but that that combining these agents with CSF1R blockade potently elicited tumor regressions, even in larger established tumors. Taken together, our findings provide a rationale to reprogram immunosuppressive myeloid cell populations in the tumor microenvironment under conditions that can significantly empower the therapeutic effects of checkpoint-based immunotherapeutics.
Cancer Research 07/2014; 74(18). DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-3723 · 9.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The colony-stimulating factor 1 receptor (CSF1R) is a key regulator of myeloid lineage cells. Genetic loss of the CSF1R blocks the normal population of resident microglia in the brain that originates from the yolk sac during early development. However, the role of CSF1R signaling in microglial homeostasis in the adult brain is largely unknown. To this end, we tested the effects of selective CSF1R inhibitors on microglia in adult mice. Surprisingly, extensive treatment results in elimination of ∼99% of all microglia brain-wide, showing that microglia in the adult brain are physiologically dependent upon CSF1R signaling. Mice depleted of microglia show no behavioral or cognitive abnormalities, revealing that microglia are not necessary for these tasks. Finally, we discovered that the microglia-depleted brain completely repopulates with new microglia within 1 week of inhibitor cessation. Microglial repopulation throughout the CNS occurs through proliferation of nestin-positive cells that then differentiate into microglia.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Colony stimulating factor-1 (CSF-1) recruits tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells (TIMs) that suppress tumor immunity, including M2 macrophages and myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC). The CSF-1 receptor (CSF-1R) is a tyrosine kinase that is targetable by small molecule inhibitors such as PLX3397. In this study, we used a syngeneic mouse model of BRAFV600E-driven melanoma to evaluate the ability of PLX3397 to improve the efficacy of adoptive T-cell therapy (ACT). In this model, we found that combined treatment produced superior anti-tumor responses compared with single treatments. In mice receiving the combined treatment, a dramatic reduction of TIMs and a skewing of MHCIIlow to MHCIIhi macrophages was observed. Further, mice receiving the combined treatment exhibited an increase in tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TILs) and T cells, as revealed by real-time imaging in vivo. In support of these observations, TILs from these mice released higher levels of IFN-γ. In conclusion, CSF-1R blockade with PLX3397 improved the efficacy of ACT immunotherapy by inhibiting the intratumoral accumulation of immune suppressive macrophages.
Cancer Research 11/2013; 74(1). DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-13-1816 · 9.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inflammation and cancer, two therapeutic areas historically addressed by separate drug discovery efforts, are now coupled in treatment approaches by a growing understanding of the dynamic molecular dialogues between immune and cancer cells. Agents that target specific compartments of the immune system, therefore, not only bring new disease modifying modalities to inflammatory diseases, but also offer a new avenue to cancer therapy by disrupting immune components of the microenvironment that foster tumor growth, progression, immune evasion, and treatment resistance. McDonough feline sarcoma viral (v-fms) oncogene homolog (FMS) and v-kit Hardy-Zuckerman 4 feline sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (KIT) are two hematopoietic cell surface receptors that regulate the development and function of macrophages and mast cells, respectively. We disclose a highly specific dual FMS and KIT kinase inhibitor developed from a multifaceted chemical scaffold. As expected, this inhibitor blocks the activation of macrophages, osteoclasts, and mast cells controlled by these two receptors. More importantly, the dual FMS and KIT inhibition profile has translated into a combination of benefits in preclinical disease models of inflammation and cancer.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2013; 110(14). DOI:10.1073/pnas.1219457110 · 9.81 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Radiotherapy is a major frontline treatment for prostate cancer patients, yet, a large portion of these patients suffer from local tumor recurrence. Tumor-infiltrating myeloid cells (TIMs), including CD11b+F4/80+ tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs) and CD11b+Gr-1+ myeloid-derived suppressor cells (MDSCs), play critical roles in promoting tumor angiogenesis, tissue remodeling and immunosuppression. Here, we show enhanced recruitment of TAMs and MDSCs after local irradiation. Although treatment is directed to the tumor sites, the impact of irradiation is systemic as dramatic increases of MDSCs were observed in the spleen, lung, lymph nodes and peripheral blood. Of the cytokines examined, we found that macrophage colony-stimulating factor 1 (CSF1) increased by 2 fold in irradiated tumors. Enhanced macrophage migration induced by conditioned media from irradiated tumor cells was completely blocked by the selective CSF1R inhibitor, GW2580. Importantly, increased CSF1 levels were also observed in the serum of prostate cancer patients after radiotherapy. ABL1 (c-Abl), a non-receptor tyrosine kinase, known to mediate apoptosis and signal transduction under stress, is activated by irradiation. Activated ABL1 translocates to the nucleus, binds to the CSF1 promoter region and enhances CSF1 transcription. Combination therapy using a CSF1R inhibitor currently in clinical trials, PLX3397, with radiation suppressed tumor growth more effectively than radiation alone. This study highlights the importance of CSF1/CSF1R signaling in the recruitment of TIMs in response to radiotherapy and suggests their significant role in promoting tumor recurrence. Furthermore, our data supports co-targeting TIMs in conjunction with radiotherapy to achieve a more effective and durable treatment strategy for prostate cancer patients.
Cancer Research 02/2013; 73(9). DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-3981 · 9.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Tumor-infiltrating immune cells can promote chemoresistance and metastatic spread in aggressive tumors. Consequently, the type and quality of immune responses present in the neoplastic stroma are highly predictive of patient outcome in several cancer types. In addition to host immune responses, intrinsic tumor cell activities that mimic stem cell properties have been linked to chemoresistance, metastatic dissemination and the induction of immune suppression. Cancer stem cells are far from a static cell population; rather, their presence appears to be controlled by highly dynamic processes that are dependent on cues from the tumor stroma. However, the impact immune responses have on tumor stem cell differentiation or expansion is not well understood. In this study, we demonstrate that targeting tumor-infiltrating macrophages and inflammatory monocytes by inhibiting either the myeloid cell receptors CSF1R or CCR2 decreases the number of tumor-initiating cells in pancreatic tumors. Targeting CCR2 or CSF1R improves chemotherapeutic efficacy, inhibits metastasis and increases antitumor T-cell responses. Tumor-educated macrophages also directly enhanced the tumor-initiating capacity of pancreatic tumor cells by activating the transcription factor STAT3, thereby facilitating macrophage-mediated suppression of CD8+ T lymphocytes. Together, our findings show how targeting tumor-infiltrating macrophages can effectively overcome therapeutic resistance mediated by tumor-initiating cells.
Cancer Research 12/2012; 73(3). DOI:10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-12-2731 · 9.28 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is a common genetic disease that predisposes 30-50 % of affected individuals to develop plexiform neurofibromas. We found that macrophage infiltration of both mouse and human neurofibromas correlates with disease progression. Macrophages accounted for almost half of neurofibroma cells, leading us to hypothesize that nerve macrophages are inflammatory effectors in neurofibroma development and/or growth. We tested the effects of PLX3397, a dual kit/fms kinase inhibitor that blocks macrophage infiltration, in the Dhh-Cre; Nf1 ( flox/flox ) mouse model of GEM grade I neurofibroma. In mice aged 1-4 months, prior to development of nerve pathology and neurofibroma formation, PLX3397 did not impair tumor initiation and increased tumor volume compared to controls. However, in mice aged 7-9 months, after tumor establishment, a subset of mice demonstrating the largest reductions in macrophages after PLX3397 exhibited cell death and tumor volume regression. Macrophages are likely to provide an initial line of defense against developing tumors. Once tumors are established, they become tumor permissive. Macrophage depletion may result in impaired tumor maintenance and represent a therapeutic strategy for neurofibroma therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Advanced human thyroid cancers, particularly those that are refractory to treatment with radioiodine (RAI), have a high prevalence of BRAF (v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1) mutations. However, the degree to which these cancers are dependent on BRAF expression is still unclear. To address this question, we generated mice expressing one of the most commonly detected BRAF mutations in human papillary thyroid carcinomas (BRAF(V600E)) in thyroid follicular cells in a doxycycline-inducible (dox-inducible) manner. Upon dox induction of BRAF(V600E), the mice developed highly penetrant and poorly differentiated thyroid tumors. Discontinuation of dox extinguished BRAF(V600E) expression and reestablished thyroid follicular architecture and normal thyroid histology. Switching on BRAF(V600E) rapidly induced hypothyroidism and virtually abolished thyroid-specific gene expression and RAI incorporation, all of which were restored to near basal levels upon discontinuation of dox. Treatment of mice with these cancers with small molecule inhibitors of either MEK or mutant BRAF reduced their proliferative index and partially restored thyroid-specific gene expression. Strikingly, treatment with the MAPK pathway inhibitors rendered the tumor cells susceptible to a therapeutic dose of RAI. Our data show that thyroid tumors carrying BRAF(V600E) mutations are exquisitely dependent on the oncoprotein for viability and that genetic or pharmacological inhibition of its expression or activity is associated with tumor regression and restoration of RAI uptake in vivo in mice. These findings have potentially significant clinical ramifications.
The Journal of clinical investigation 11/2011; 121(12):4700-11. DOI:10.1172/JCI46382 · 13.77 Impact Factor