[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One-year survival rates for newly diagnosed hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are <50%, and unresectable HCC carries a dismal prognosis owing to its aggressiveness and the undruggable nature of its main genetic drivers. By screening a custom library of shRNAs directed toward known drug targets in a genetically defined Myc-driven HCC model, we identified cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (Cdk9) as required for disease maintenance. Pharmacological or shRNA-mediated CDK9 inhibition led to robust anti-tumor effects that correlated with MYC expression levels and depended on the role that both CDK9 and MYC exert in transcription elongation. Our results establish CDK9 inhibition as a therapeutic strategy for MYC-overexpressing liver tumors and highlight the relevance of transcription elongation in the addiction of cancer cells to MYC.
Genes & development 08/2014; 28(16):1800-14. · 12.08 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Purpose
The PET tracer, 124I-cG250, directed against carbonic anhydrase IX (CAIX) shows promise for presurgical diagnosis of clear-cell renal cell carcinoma (ccRCC) (Divgi et al. in Lancet Oncol 8:304–310, 2007; Divgi et al. in J Clin Oncol 31:187–194, 2013). The radiometal 89Zr, however, may offer advantages as a surrogate PET nuclide over 124I in terms of greater tumor uptake and retention (Rice et al. in Semin Nucl Med 41:265–282, 2011). We have developed a nonlinear immunokinetic model to facilitate a quantitative comparison of absolute uptake and antibody turnover between 124I-cG250 and 89Zr-cG250 using a human ccRCC xenograft tumor model in mice. We believe that this unique model better relates quantitative imaging data to the salient biological features of tumor antibody–antigen binding and turnover.
We conducted experiments with 89Zr-cG250 and 124I-cG250 using a human ccRCC cell line (SK-RC-38) to characterize the binding affinity and internalization kinetics of the two tracers in vitro. Serial PET imaging was performed in mice bearing subcutaneous ccRCC tumors to simultaneously detect and quantify time-dependent tumor uptake in vivo. Using the known specific activities of the two tracers, the equilibrium rates of antibody internalization and turnover in the tumors were derived from the PET images using nonlinear compartmental modeling.
The two tracers demonstrated virtually identical tumor cell binding and internalization but showed markedly different retentions in vitro. Superior PET images were obtained using 89Zr-cG250, owing to the more prolonged trapping of the radiolabel in the tumor and simultaneous washout from normal tissues. Estimates of cG250/CAIX complex turnover were 1.35 – 5.51 × 1012 molecules per hour per gram of tumor (20 % of receptors internalized per hour), and the ratio of 124I/89Zr atoms released per unit time by tumor was 17.5.
Pairwise evaluation of 89Zr-cG250 and 124I-cG250 provided the basis for a nonlinear immunokinetic model which yielded quantitative information about the binding and internalization of radioantibody bound to CAIX on tumor cells in vivo. 89Zr-cG250 is likely to provide high-quality PET images and may be a useful tool to quantify CAIX/cG250 receptor turnover and cG250-accessible antigen density noninvasively in humans.
European journal of nuclear medicine and molecular imaging 05/2014; 41(5). · 5.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Over the past several decades, radionuclides have matured from largely esoteric and experimental technologies to indispensible components of medical diagnostics. Driving this transition, in part, have been mutually necessary advances in biomedical engineering, nuclear medicine, and cancer biology. Somewhat unsung has been the seminal role of inorganic chemistry in fostering the development of new radiotracers. In this regard, the purpose of this Forum Article is to more visibly highlight the significant contributions of inorganic chemistry to nuclear imaging by detailing the development of five metal-based imaging agents: (64)Cu-ATSM, (68)Ga-DOTATOC, (89)Zr-transferrin, (99m)Tc-sestamibi, and (99m)Tc-colloids. In a concluding section, several unmet needs both in and out of the laboratory will be discussed to stimulate conversation between inorganic chemists and the imaging community.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite their considerable advantages, many circulating biomarkers have well-documented limitations. One prominent shortcoming in oncology is a high frequency of false-positive indications for malignant disease in upfront diagnosis. Because one common cause of false positivism is biomarker production from benign disorders in unrelated host tissues, we hypothesized that probing the sites of biomarker secretion with an imaging tool could be a broadly useful strategy to deconvolute the meaning of foreboding but inconclusive circulating biomarker levels.
In preparation to address this hypothesis clinically, we developed (89)Zr-5B1, a fully human, antibody-based radiotracer targeting tumor-associated CA19.9 in the preclinical setting.
(89)Zr-5B1 localized to multiple tumor models representing diseases with undetectable and supraphysiologic serum CA19.9 levels. Among these, (89)Zr-5B1 detected orthotopic models of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, an elusive cancer for which the serum assay is measured in humans but with limited specificity in part because of the frequency of CA19.9 secretion from benign hepatic pathologies.
In this report, a general strategy to supplement some of the shortcomings of otherwise highly useful circulating biomarkers with immunoPET is described. To expedite the clinical validation of this model, a human monoclonal antibody to CA19.9 (a highly visible but partially flawed serum biomarker for several cancers) was radiolabeled and evaluated, and the compelling preclinical evidence suggests that the radiotracer may enhance the fidelity of diagnosis and staging of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, a notoriously occult cancer.
Journal of Nuclear Medicine 09/2013; · 5.77 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Based on their inability to express argininosuccinate synthetase (ASS), some cancer entities feature the characteristic of l-arginine (Arg) auxotrophy. This inability to intrinsically generate Arg makes them applicable for arginine deiminase (ADI) treatment, an Arg-depleting drug. Arg is also used for the synthesis of endothelial nitric oxide (NO), which mainly confers vasodilatation but is also considered to have a major influence on tumor vascularization. The purpose of this study was to define changes in tumor vasculature in an ADI-treated melanoma xenograft mouse model using the blood pool agent AngioSense 750 and fluorescence molecular tomography (FMT). We used an ASS-negative melanoma xenograft mouse model and subjected it to weekly ADI treatment. Changes in tumor size were measured, and alterations in tumor vasculature were depicted by FMT and CD31 immunohistochemistry (IHC). On ADI treatment and effective antitumor therapy, we observed a drop in NO plasma levels and visualized changes in tumor vascularization with FMT and IHC. ADI treatment in melanoma xenografts has a tumor-reducing effect, which can be noninvasively imaged by quantifying tumor vascularization with FMT and IHC.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The second-generation antiandrogen enzalutamide was recently approved for patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer. Despite its success, the duration of response is often limited. For previous antiandrogens, one mechanism of resistance is mutation of the androgen receptor (AR). To prospectively identify AR mutations that might confer resistance to enzalutamide, we performed a reporter-based mutagenesis screen and identified a novel mutation, F876L, which converted enzalutamide into an AR agonist. Ectopic expression of AR F876L rescued the growth inhibition of enzalutamide treatment. Molecular dynamics simulations performed on antiandrogen-AR complexes suggested a mechanism by which the F876L substitution alleviates antagonism through repositioning of the coactivator recruiting helix 12. This model then provided the rationale for a focused chemical screen which, based on existing antiandrogen scaffolds, identified three novel compounds that effectively antagonized AR F876L (and AR WT) to suppress the growth of prostate cancer cells resistant to enzalutamide. DOI:http://dx.doi.org/10.7554/eLife.00499.001.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A noninvasive technology that indiscriminately detects tumor tissue in the brain could substantially enhance the management of primary or metastatic brain tumors. Although the documented molecular heterogeneity of diseases that initiate or eventually deposit in the brain may preclude identifying a single smoking-gun molecular biomarker, many classes of brain tumors are generally avid for transferrin. Therefore, we reasoned that applying a radiolabeled derivative of transferrin ((89)Zr-labeled transferrin) may be an effective strategy to more thoroughly identify tumor tissue in the brain, regardless of the tumor's genetic background. METHODS: Transferrin was radiolabeled with (89)Zr, and its properties with respect to human models of glioblastoma multiforme were studied in vivo. RESULTS: In this report, we show proof of concept that (89)Zr-labeled transferrin ((89)Zr-transferrin) localizes to genetically diverse models of glioblastoma multiforme in vivo. Moreover, we demonstrate that (89)Zr-transferrin can detect an orthotopic lesion with exceptional contrast. Finally, the tumor-to-brain contrast conferred by (89)Zr-transferrin vastly exceeded that observed with (18)F-FDG, currently the most widely used radiotracer to assess tumor burden in the brain. CONCLUSION: The results from this study suggest that (89)Zr-transferrin could be a broadly applicable tool for identifying and monitoring tumors in the brain, with realistic potential for near-term clinical translation.
Journal of Nuclear Medicine 12/2012; · 5.77 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As parallel advances in cancer biology and drug development continue to elevate the role of targeted therapies in oncology, the need for imaging biomarkers that systematically measure the biology associated with therapeutic intervention has become more urgent. Although the molecular imaging community has a commitment to develop technologies to this end, few investigational radiotracers directly measure the biology of common oncogenic signaling pathways often addressed by targeted therapies. Visible progress has been achieved with a handful of radiotracers rationally designed to intercalate the pathobiology of prostate cancer, a molecularly heterogeneous disease nevertheless broadly defined by a fairly small repertoire of recurrent oncogenic lesions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite intense efforts to develop radiotracers to detect cancers or monitor treatment response, few are widely used as a result of challenges with demonstrating clear clinical use. We reasoned that a radiotracer targeting a validated clinical biomarker could more clearly assess the advantages of imaging cancer. The virtues and shortcomings of measuring secreted prostate-specific antigen (PSA), an androgen receptor (AR) target gene, in patients with prostate cancer are well documented, making it a logical candidate for assessing whether a radiotracer can reveal new (and useful) information beyond that conferred by serum PSA. Therefore, we developed (89)Zr-labeled 5A10, a novel radiotracer that targets "free" PSA. (89)Zr-5A10 localizes in an AR-dependent manner in vivo to models of castration-resistant prostate cancer, a disease state in which serum PSA may not reflect clinical outcomes. Finally, we demonstrate that (89)Zr-5A10 can detect osseous prostate cancer lesions, a context where bone scans fail to discriminate malignant and nonmalignant signals. SIGNIFICANCE: This report establishes that AR-dependent changes in PSA expression levels can be quantitatively measured at tumor lesions using a radiotracer that can be rapidly translated for human application and advances a new paradigm for radiotracer development that may more clearly highlight the unique virtues of an imaging biomarker.
Cancer Discovery 04/2012; 2(4):320-7. · 10.14 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Because of deficiencies in l-arginine biosynthesis, some cancers are susceptible to therapeutic intervention with arginine deiminase (ADI), an enzyme responsible for consuming the dietary supply of l-arginine to deprive the disease of an essential nutrient. ADI is currently being evaluated in several clinical trials, and fully realizing the drug's potential will depend on invoking the appropriate metrics to judge clinical response. Without a clear biologic mandate, PET/CT with (18)F-FDG is currently used to monitor patients treated with ADI. However, it is unclear if it can be expected that (18)F-FDG responses will indicate (or predict) clinical benefit.
(18)F-FDG responses to ADI therapy were studied in preclinical models of melanoma in vitro and in vivo. The molecular mechanism of response to ADI therapy was also studied, with a particular emphasis on biologic pathways known to regulate (18)F-FDG avidity.
Although proliferation of SK-MEL 28 was potently inhibited by ADI treatment in vitro and in vivo, no clear declines in (18)F-FDG uptake were observed. Further investigation showed that ADI treatment induces the posttranslational degradation of phosphatase and tensin homolog and the activation of the PI3K signaling pathway, an event known to enhance glycolysis and (18)F-FDG avidity. A more thorough mechanistic study showed that ADI triggered a complex mechanism of cell death, involving apoptosis via poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase cleavage-independent of caspase 3.
These findings suggest that some unexpected pharmacologic properties of ADI preclude using (18)F-FDG to evaluate clinical response in melanoma and, more generally, argue for further studies to explore the use of PET tracers that target apoptotic pathway activation or cell death.
Journal of Nuclear Medicine 02/2012; 53(2):281-6. · 5.77 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: There is little consensus on a standard approach to analysing bone scan images. The Bone Scan Index (BSI) is predictive of survival in patients with progressive prostate cancer (PCa), but the popularity of this metric is hampered by the tedium of the manual calculation.
Develop a fully automated method of quantifying the BSI and determining the clinical value of automated BSI measurements beyond conventional clinical and pathologic features.
We conditioned a computer-assisted diagnosis system identifying metastatic lesions on a bone scan to automatically compute BSI measurements. A training group of 795 bone scans was used in the conditioning process. Independent validation of the method used bone scans obtained ≤3 mo from diagnosis of 384 PCa cases in two large population-based cohorts. An experienced analyser (blinded to case identity, prior BSI, and outcome) scored the BSI measurements twice. We measured prediction of outcome using pretreatment Gleason score, clinical stage, and prostate-specific antigen with models that also incorporated either manual or automated BSI measurements.
The agreement between methods was evaluated using Pearson's correlation coefficient. Discrimination between prognostic models was assessed using the concordance index (C-index).
Manual and automated BSI measurements were strongly correlated (ρ=0.80), correlated more closely (ρ=0.93) when excluding cases with BSI scores≥10 (1.8%), and were independently associated with PCa death (p<0.0001 for each) when added to the prediction model. Predictive accuracy of the base model (C-index: 0.768; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.702-0.837) increased to 0.794 (95% CI, 0.727-0.860) by adding manual BSI scoring, and increased to 0.825 (95% CI, 0.754-0.881) by adding automated BSI scoring to the base model.
Automated BSI scoring, with its 100% reproducibility, reduces turnaround time, eliminates operator-dependent subjectivity, and provides important clinical information comparable to that of manual BSI scoring.
European Urology 01/2012; 62(1):78-84. · 10.48 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite encouraging clinical results with next generation drugs (MDV3100 and abiraterone) that inhibit androgen receptor (AR) signaling in patients with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC), responses are variable and short-lived. There is an urgent need to understand the basis of resistance to optimize their future use. We reasoned that a radiopharmaceutical that measures intratumoral changes in AR signaling could substantially improve our understanding of AR pathway directed therapies. Expanding on previous observations, we first show that prostate-specific membrane antigen (PSMA) is repressed by androgen treatment in multiple models of AR-positive prostate cancer in an AR-dependent manner. Conversely, antiandrogens up-regulate PSMA expression. These expression changes, including increased PSMA expression in response to treatment with the antiandrogen MDV3100, can be quantitatively measured in vivo in human prostate cancer xenograft models through PET imaging with a fully humanized, radiolabeled antibody to PSMA, (64)Cu-J591. Collectively, these results establish that relative changes in PSMA expression levels can be quantitatively measured using a human-ready imaging reagent and could serve as a biomarker of AR signaling to noninvasively evaluate AR activity in patients with CRPC.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 06/2011; 108(23):9578-82. · 9.74 Impact Factor