Monitoring Drug-Induced H2AX as a Pharmacodynamic Biomarker in Individual Circulating Tumor Cells

Laboratory of Human Toxicology and Pharmacology, Science Applications International Corporation, Frederick, MD, USA.
Clinical Cancer Research (Impact Factor: 8.72). 02/2010; 16(3):1073-84. DOI: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-09-2799
Source: PubMed
Circulating tumor cells (CTC) in peripheral blood of patients potentially represent a fraction of solid tumor cells available for more frequent pharmacodynamic assessment of drug action than is possible using tumor biopsy. However, currently available CTC assays are limited to cell membrane antigens. Here, we describe an assay that directly examines changes in levels of the nuclear DNA damage marker gammaH2AX in individual CTCs of patients treated with chemotherapeutic agents.
An Alexa Fluor 488-conjugated monoclonal gammaH2AX antibody and epithelial cancer cell lines treated with topotecan and spiked into whole blood were used to measure DNA damage-dependent nuclear gammaH2AX signals in individual CTCs. Time-course changes in both CTC number and gammaH2AX levels in CTCs were also evaluated in blood samples from patients undergoing treatment.
The percentage of gammaH2AX-positive CTCs increased in a concentration-dependent manner in cells treated with therapeutically relevant concentrations of topotecan ex vivo. In samples from five patients, percent gammaH2AX-positive cells increased post-treatment from a mean of 2% at baseline (range, 0-6%) to a mean of 38% (range, 22-64%) after a single day of drug administration; this increase was irrespective of increases or decreases in the total CTC count.
These data show promise for monitoring dynamic changes in nuclear biomarkers in CTCs (in addition to CTC count) for rapidly assessing drug activity in clinical trials of molecularly targeted anticancer therapeutics as well as for translational research.
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    • "Subsequently, we evaluated whether the sustained expression of top1 correlated with Dna damage. Previous studies have indicated that phosphorylation of H2aX (γH2aX) is directly associated with camptothecin-induced Dna damage leading to its evaluation as a biomarker of response to camptoth- ecins242526. In our study, γH2aX expression appeared to be schedule dependent with highest protein levels being detected in tissue samples obtained from the low-dose 3.75 mg/kg, D × 5 × 2 and 2.5 mg/kg, D × 5 × 3 treatment groups (Fig. 3a, c). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although preclinical studies on camptothecin antitumor effect have demonstrated the superiority of low-dose protracted dosing, these findings were not replicated in the clinic. 7-t-butyldimethylsilyl-10-hydroxycamptothecin (AR-67) is a camptothecin analogue currently under investigation in early phase clinical trials. To maximize the therapeutic potential of AR-67, we sought to identify factors that affect response to treatment. After determining the maximum tolerated dose using neutropenia as a toxicity endpoint, xenografts received AR-67 under varying dosing schedules and were monitored for survival. On the last treatment day, tumor tissue was collected and topoisomerase 1 (Top1), γH2AX, caspase 3 and PARP protein content was evaluated. AR-67 plasma and tumor pharmacokinetics were also studied in mice and cancer patients who were administered AR-67 as a 1-h intravenous infusion on days 1, 4, 8, 12 and 15 every 21 days. Low-dose protracted dosing schedules increased animal survival compared to less frequent, but higher-dose courses and the expression of Top1 and γH2AX were schedule dependent. Fatigue and neutropenia were the dose-limiting toxicities identified in patients receiving AR-67. Finally, elimination of AR-67 from the tumor site was slower in both xenografts and tumor of a patient enrolled in the pilot clinical trial. We demonstrated that low-dose protracted dosing schedules of AR-67 are therapeutically effective and Top1 reflects the biological activity of AR-67 in xenografts. Moreover, the tumor pharmacokinetics as well as the efficacy and safety of AR-67 given intermittently to cancer patients warrant further investigation.
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    • "Serum tumor markers can become elevated in nonmalignant disease states, when patients are experiencing a response to treatment, and may respond slowly to changes in disease status. In contrast, CTCs have high specificity for MBC and respond promptly to changes in disease state [8, 14, 44]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) were discovered nearly 150 years ago but have only recently been recognized as a feature of most solid tumors due to their extremely low concentration in the peripheral circulation. Several technologies have been developed to isolate and analyze CTCs, which can now be routinely accessed for clinical information. The most mature of these (the CELLSEARCH system) uses immunomagnetic selection of epithelial cell adhesion molecule to isolate CTCs for analysis. Studies using this system have demonstrated that categorization of patients into high and low CTC groups using a validated decision point is prognostic in patients with metastatic breast, colorectal, or prostate cancer. Initial attempts to use CTC counts to guide therapeutic decisions appeared to yield positive results and key concepts in clinical application of CTC information, including the CTC cutoff, predictive value in disease subtypes, and comparison to current evaluation methods, have been demonstrated. Clinical studies of the impact of CTC counts in routine clinical practice are ongoing; however, recent published evidence on the clinical use of CTCs in metastatic breast cancer continues to support these concepts, and experience in the community oncology setting also suggests that CTC enumeration can be useful for therapy management.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Journal of Oncology
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    • "The initial study of γ-H2AX expression in CTC by Wang et al. (2010), and further studies by Kummar et al. (2011, 2012) used the FDA approved, positive selection technology for CTCs, "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Circulating tumor cells (CTCs) are prognostic markers in a variety of solid tumor malignancies. The potential of CTCs to be used as a "liquid biopsy" to monitor a patient's condition and predict drug response and resistance is currently under investigation. Using a negative depletion, enrichment methodology, CTCs isolated from the peripheral blood of breast cancer patients with stage IV breast cancer undergoing DNA damaging therapy with platinum-based therapy were enriched. The enriched cell suspensions were stained with an optimized labeling protocol targeting: nuclei, cytokeratins 8, 18, and 19, the surface marker CD45, and the presence of the protein γ-H2AX. As a direct or indirect result of platinum therapy, double-strand break of DNA initiates phosphorylation of the histone H2AX, at serine 139; this phosphorylated form is referred to as γ-H2AX. In addition to γ-H2AX staining in specific locations with the cell nuclei, consistent with previous reports and referred to as foci, more general staining in the cell cytoplasm was also observed in some cells suggesting the potential of cell apoptosis. Our study underscores the utility and the complexity of investigating CTCs as predictive markers of response to various therapies. Additional studies are ongoing to evaluate the diverse γ-H2AX staining patterns we report here which needs to be further correlated with patient outcomes.
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