MEK inhibition exhibits efficacy in human and mouse neurofibromatosis tumors

The Journal of clinical investigation (Impact Factor: 13.22). 12/2012; 123(1). DOI: 10.1172/JCI60578
Source: PubMed


Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) patients develop benign neurofibromas and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST). These incurable peripheral nerve tumors result from loss of NF1 tumor suppressor gene function, causing hyperactive Ras signaling. Activated Ras controls numerous downstream effectors, but specific pathways mediating the effects of hyperactive Ras in NF1 tumors are unknown. We performed cross-species transcriptome analyses of mouse and human neurofibromas and MPNSTs and identified global negative feedback of genes that regulate Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK signaling in both species. Nonetheless, ERK activation was sustained in mouse and human neurofibromas and MPNST. We used a highly selective pharmacological inhibitor of MEK, PD0325901, to test whether sustained Ras/Raf/MEK/ERK signaling contributes to neurofibroma growth in a neurofibromatosis mouse model (Nf1fl/fl;Dhh-Cre) or in NF1 patient MPNST cell xenografts. PD0325901 treatment reduced aberrantly proliferating cells in neurofibroma and MPNST, prolonged survival of mice implanted with human MPNST cells, and shrank neurofibromas in more than 80% of mice tested. Our data demonstrate that deregulated Ras/ERK signaling is critical for the growth of NF1 peripheral nerve tumors and provide a strong rationale for testing MEK inhibitors in NF1 clinical trials.

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Available from: Eva Dombi, Nov 10, 2014
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    • "Conventional treatments for PNF and MPNST tumours include surgical removal of all or part of the tumour, which is difficult to perform without damage to nerves. Although several targeted drug therapies have been developed (Johansson et al, 2008; Jessen et al, 2013; Ohishi et al, 2013) to date, no therapeutics have significantly reduced NF1 tumour burden in phase III trials (Zehou et al, 2013). Therefore, there is a pressing need to develop additional, novel effective therapeutics that target NF1 tumours without affecting the surrounding non-myelinating or myelinating Schwann cells. "
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    ABSTRACT: Background: Both the number and size of tumours in NF1 patients increase in response to the rise in steroid hormones seen at puberty and during pregnancy. The size of tumours decreases after delivery, suggesting that hormone-targeting therapy might provide a viable new NF1 treatment approach. Our earlier studies demonstrated that human NF1 tumour cell lines either went through apoptosis or ceased growth in the presence of 2-methoxyoestradiol (2ME2), a naturally occurring anticancer metabolite of 17-β estradiol. Previous reports of treatment with sulfamoylated steroidal and non-steroidal derivatives of 2ME2 showed promising reductions in tumour burden in hormone-responsive cancers other than NF1. Here we present the first studies indicating that 2ME2 derivatives could also provide an avenue for treating NF1, for which few treatment options are available. Methods: STX3451, (2-(3-Bromo-4,5-dimethoxybenzyl)-7-methoxy-6-sulfamoyloxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydroisoquinoline), a non-steroidal sulphamate analogue of 2ME2, was tested in dose-dependent studies of malignant and benign NF1 human tumour cell lines and cell lines with variable controlled neurofibromin expression. The mechanisms of action of STX3451 were also analysed. Results: We found that STX3451-induced apoptosis in human malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumour (MPNST) cell lines, even in the presence of elevated oestrogen and progesterone. It inhibits both PI3 kinase and mTOR signalling pathways. It disrupts actin- and microtubule-based cytoskeletal structures in cell lines derived from human MPNSTs and in cells derived from benign plexiform neurofibromas. STX3451 selectively kills MPNST-derived cells, but also halts growth of other tumour-derived NF1 cell lines. Conclusion: STX3451 provides a new approach for inducing cell death and lowering tumour burden in NF1 and other hormone-responsive cancers with limited treatment options.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2015 · British Journal of Cancer
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    • "While Twist1 is largely absent from adult differentiated tissues, it is expressed in diseased heart valves and highly metastatic cancers such as breast, pancreatic, gastric, prostate, and malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNST) [6, 7, 13, 14]. Human MPNST cells can harbor NF1 and p53 mutations, and murine NF1 and p53 mutations can cause similar nerve-associated sarcomas, peripheral nerve sheath tumors (PNST) [14–16]. siRNA-mediated knockdown of Twist1 abrogates the migratory activity of human MPNST cells in vitro [14, 16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: The basic helix-loop-helix transcription factor Twist1 has well-documented roles in progenitor populations of the developing embryo, including endocardial cushions (ECC) and limb buds, and also in cancer. Whether Twist1 regulates the same transcriptional targets in different tissue types is largely unknown. The tissue-specificity of Twist1 genomic occupancy was examined in mouse ECCs, limb buds, and peripheral nerve sheath tumor (PNST) cells using chromatin immunoprecipitation followed by sequencing (Chip-seq) analysis. Consistent with known Twist1 functions during development and in cancer cells, Twist1-DNA binding regions associated with genes related to cell migration and adhesion were detected in all three tissues. However, the vast majority of Twist1 binding regions were specific to individual tissue types. Thus, while Twist1 has similar functions in ECCs, limb buds, and PNST cells, the specific genomic sequences occupied by Twist1 were different depending on cellular context. Subgroups of shared genes, also predominantly related to cell adhesion and migration, were identified in pairwise comparisons of ECC, limb buds and PNST cells. Twist1 genomic occupancy was detected for six binding regions in all tissue types, and Twist1-binding sequences associated with Chst11, Litaf, Ror2, and Spata5 also bound the potential Twist1 cofactor RREB1. Pathway analysis of the genes associated with Twist1 binding suggests that Twist1 may regulate genes associated with the Wnt signaling pathway in ECCs and limb buds. Together, these data indicate that Twist1 interacts with genes that regulate adhesion and migration in different tissues, potentially through distinct sets of target genes. In addition, there is a small subset of genes occupied by Twist1 in all three tissues that may represent a core group of Twist1 target genes in multiple cell types.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2014 · BMC Genomics
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    • "On the basis of the finding that B16BR cells maintain refractory MEK activity, we supposed that combined inhibition of AAG8 and MEK could limit B16BR cell growth more efficiently. Substantiating this conjecture, we combined BD1047 and PD901 (hereafter PD901), a selective MEK inhibitor currently in clinical cancer trials which blocks MEK1 at values of 1 μmol/L in vitro 26. However, MEK inhibitors have often been reported for drug resistance and dose-limiting side effects, resulting in the compromised efficacy 19. "
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    ABSTRACT: Drug resistance presents a challenge to the treatment of cancer patients, especially for melanomas, most of which are caused by the hyperactivation of MAPK signaling pathway. Innate or acquired drug-resistant relapse calls for the investigation of the resistant mechanisms and new anti-cancer drugs to provide implications for the ultimate goal of curative therapy. Aging-associated gene 8 (AAG8, encoded by the SIGMAR1 gene) is a chaperone protein profoundly elaborated in neurology. However, roles of AAG8 in carcinogenesis remain unclear. Herein, we discover AAG8 antagonists as new MEK inhibitors in melanoma cells and propose a novel drug combination strategy for melanoma therapy by presenting the experimental evidences. We report that specific antagonism of AAG8, efficiently suppresses melanoma cell growth and migration through, at least in part, the inactivation of the RAS-CRAF-MEK signaling pathway. We further demonstrate that melanoma cells that are resistant to AAG8 antagonist harbor refractory CRAF-MEK activity. MEK acts as a central mediator for anti-cancer effects and also for the resistance mechanism, leading to our proposal of tandem AAG8-MEK inhibition in melanoma cells. Combination of AAG8 antagonist and very low concentration of a MEK inhibitor synergistically restricts the growth of drug-resistant cells. These data collectively pinpoint AAG8 as a potential target and delineate a promising drug combination strategy for melanoma therapy.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2014 · Cancer Medicine
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