[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The traditional view of cancer as a genetic disease that can successfully be treated with drugs targeting mutant onco-proteins has motivated whole-genome sequencing efforts in many human cancer types. However, only a subset of mutations found within the genomic landscape of cancer is likely to provide a fitness advantage to the cell. Distinguishing such "driver" mutations from innocuous "passenger" events is critical for prioritizing the validation of candidate mutations in disease-relevant models. We design a novel statistical index, called the Hitchhiking Index, which reflects the probability that any observed candidate gene is a passenger alteration, given the frequency of alterations in a cross-sectional cancer sample set, and apply it to a mutational data set in colorectal cancer. Our methodology is based upon a population dynamics model of mutation accumulation and selection in colorectal tissue prior to cancer initiation as well as during tumorigenesis. This methodology can be used to aid in the prioritization of candidate mutations for functional validation and contributes to the process of drug discovery.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Kinase inhibitors have played an increasingly prominent role in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. Currently, more than 25 oncology drugs that target kinases have been approved, and numerous additional therapeutics are in various stages of clinical evaluation. In this Review, we provide an in-depth analysis of activation mechanisms for kinases in cancer, highlight recent successes in drug discovery, and demonstrate the clinical impact of selective kinase inhibitors. We also describe the substantial progress that has been made in designing next-generation inhibitors to circumvent on-target resistance mechanisms, as well as ongoing strategies for combining kinase inhibitors in the clinic. Last, there are numerous prospects for the discovery of novel kinase targets, and we explore cancer immunotherapy as a new and promising research area for studying kinase biology.
The Journal of clinical investigation 05/2015; 125(5):1780-1789. DOI:10.1172/JCI76094 · 13.22 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Malignant mixed Müllerian tumours, also known as carcinosarcomas, are rare tumours of gynaecological origin. Here we perform whole-exome analyses of 22 tumours using massively parallel sequencing to determine the mutational landscape of this tumour type. On average, we identify 43 mutations per tumour, excluding four cases with a mutator phenotype that harboured inactivating mutations in mismatch repair genes. In addition to mutations in TP53 and KRAS, we identify genetic alterations in chromatin remodelling genes, ARID1A and ARID1B, in histone methyltransferase MLL3, in histone deacetylase modifier SPOP and in chromatin assembly factor BAZ1A, in nearly two thirds of cases. Alterations in genes with potential clinical utility are observed in more than three quarters of the cases and included members of the PI3-kinase and homologous DNA repair pathways. These findings highlight the importance of the dysregulation of chromatin remodelling in carcinosarcoma tumorigenesis and suggest new avenues for personalized therapy.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Human cancer genomes harbour a variety of alterations leading to the deregulation of key pathways in tumour cells. The genomic characterization of tumours has uncovered numerous genes recurrently mutated, deleted or amplified, but gene fusions have not been characterized as extensively. Here we develop heuristics for reliably detecting gene fusion events in RNA-seq data and apply them to nearly 7,000 samples from The Cancer Genome Atlas. We thereby are able to discover several novel and recurrent fusions involving kinases. These findings have immediate clinical implications and expand the therapeutic options for cancer patients, as approved or exploratory drugs exist for many of these kinases.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Post-chemotherapy relapse presents a major unmet medical need in AML where treatment options are limited. CD25 is a leukemic stem cell marker and a conspicuous prognostic marker for overall/relapse-free survival in AML. Rare occurrence of genetic alterations among PIM family members imposes a substantial hurdle in formulating a compelling patient stratification strategy for the clinical development of selective PIM inhibitors in cancer. Herein we show that CD25, a bona fide STAT5 regulated gene, is a mechanistically relevant predictive biomarker for sensitivity to PIM kinase inhibitors. Alone or in combination with tyrosine kinase inhibitors, PIM inhibitors can suppress STAT5 activation and significantly shorten half-life of MYC to achieve substantial growth inhibition of high CD25 expressing AML cells. Our results highlight the importance of STAT5 and MYC in rendering cancer cells sensitive to PIM inhibitors. Since the presence of a CD25 positive subpopulation in leukemic blasts correlates with poor overall or relapse-free survival, our data suggest that combination of PIM inhibitors with chemotherapy and tyrosine kinase inhibitors could improve long-term therapeutic outcomes in CD25-positive AML.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Inhibitors of JAK2 kinase are emerging as an important treatment modality for myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPN). However, similar to other kinase inhibitors, resistance to JAK2 inhibitors may eventually emerge through a variety of mechanisms. Effective drug combination is one way to enhance therapeutic efficacy and combat resistance against JAK2 inhibitors. To identify potential combination partners for JAK2 compounds in MPN cell lines, we performed pooled shRNA screen targeting 5,000 genes in the presence or absence of JAK2 blockade. One of the top hits identified was MYC, an oncogenic transcription factor that is difficult to inhibit directly, but could be targeted by modulation of upstream regulatory elements such as kinases. We demonstrate herein that PIM kinase inhibitors efficiently suppress MYC protein levels in MPN cell lines. Importantly, overexpression of MYC restores the viability of PIM inhibitor-treated cells, revealing causal relationship between MYC down-regulation and cell growth inhibition by PIM compounds. Combination of various PIM inhibitors with a JAK2 inhibitor results in significant synergistic growth inhibition of multiple MPN cancer cell lines and induction of apoptosis. Mechanistic studies revealed strong downregulation of phosphorylated forms of S6 and 4EBP1 by JAK2/PIM inhibitor combination treatment. Finally, such combination was effective in eradicating in vitro JAK2 inhibitor-resistant MPN clones, where MYC is consistently up-regulated. These findings demonstrate that simultaneous suppression of JAK2 and PIM kinase activity by small molecule inhibitors is more effective than either agent alone in suppressing MPN cell growth. Our data suggest that JAK2 and PIM combination might warrant further investigation for the treatment of JAK2-driven hematologic malignancies.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In our continuous efforts to identify and develop novel targeted cancer treatments, a new morpholino-thiazole scaffold active against PI3Kβ has been identified. This Letter reports the optimization of this compound class to develop PI3Kβ isoform-selective inhibitors with suitable pharmacological properties.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Compelling molecular biology publications have reported the implication of phosphoinositide kinase PI3K in PTEN-deficient cell lines growth and proliferation. These findings supported a scientific rationale for the development of PI3K-specific inhibitors for the treatment of PTEN-deficient cancers. This paper describes the discovery of 2-[2-(2,3-dihydro-indol-1-yl)-2-oxo-ethyl]-6-morpholin-4-yl-3H-pyrimidin-4-one 7 and the optimization of this new series of active and selective pyrimidone indoline amide PI3K inhibitors. 2-[2-(2-Methyl-2,3-dihydro-indol-1-yl)-2-oxo-ethyl]-6-morpholin-4-yl-3H-pyrimidin-4-one 28, identified following a carefully designed methyl scan, displayed improved physicochemical and in vitro pharmacokinetic properties. Structural biology efforts enabled the obtention of the first X-Ray co-crystal structure of p110 with the selective inhibitor compound 28 bound to the ATP site. The non-planar binding mode described herein is consistent with observed SAR for the series. Compound 28 demonstrated significant in vivo activity in a UACC-62 xenograft model in mice, warranting further preclinical investigation. Following successful development, compound 28 entered phase I/Ib clinical trial in patients with advanced cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: PRP4 kinase is known for its roles in regulating pre-mRNA splicing and beyond. Therefore, a wider spectrum of PRP4 kinase
substrates could be expected. The role of PRP4 kinase in cancer is also yet to be fully elucidated. Attaining specific and
potent PRP4 inhibitors would greatly facilitate the study of PRP4 biological function and its validation as a credible cancer
target. In this report, we verified the requirement of enzymatic activity of PRP4 in regulating cancer cell growth and identified
an array of potential novel substrates through orthogonal proteomics approaches. The ensuing effort in structural biology
unveiled for the first time unique features of PRP4 kinase domain and its potential mode of interaction with a low molecular
weight inhibitor. These results provide new and important information for further exploration of PRP4 kinase function in cancer.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: From a HTS campaign, a new series of pyrimidone anilides exemplified by compound 1 has been identified with good inhibitory activity for the PI3Kβ isoform. The structure of compound 1 in PI3Kγ was solved revealing a binding mode in agreement with the SAR observed on PI3Kβ. These compounds displayed inhibition in the nanomolar range in the biochemical assay and were also potent p-Akt inhibitors in a PTEN-deficient PC3 prostate cancer cell line. Optimization of in vitro pharmocokinetic properties led to compound 25 exhibiting 52% bioavailability in mice and target engagement in an acute PK/PD study.