[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cancer stem cells (CSCs) appear to explain many aspects of the neoplastic evolution of tumors and likely account for enhanced therapeutic resistance following treatment. Dysregulated Notch signaling, which affects CSCs plays an important role in pancreatic cancer progression. We have determined the ability of Quinomycin to inhibit CSCs and the Notch signaling pathway. Quinomycin treatment resulted in significant inhibition of proliferation and colony formation in pancreatic cancer cell lines, but not in normal pancreatic epithelial cells. Moreover, Quinomycin affected pancreatosphere formation. The compound also decreased the expression of CSC marker proteins DCLK1, CD44, CD24 and EPCAM. In addition, flow cytometry studies demonstrated that Quinomycin reduced the number of DCLK1+ cells. Furthermore, levels of Notch 1-4 receptors, their ligands Jagged1, Jagged2, DLL1, DLL3, DLL4 and the downstream target protein Hes-1 were reduced. The γ-secretase complex proteins, Presenilin 1, Nicastrin, Pen2, and APH-1, required for Notch activation also exhibited decreased expression. Ectopic expression of the Notch Intracellular Domain (NICD) partially rescued the cells from Quinomycin mediated growth suppression. To determine the effect of Quinomycin on tumor growth in vivo, nude mice carrying tumor xenografts were administered Quinomycin intraperitoneally every day for 21 days. Treatment with the compound significantly inhibited tumor xenograft growth, coupled with significant reduction in the expression of CSC markers and Notch signaling proteins. Together, these data suggest that Quinomycin is a potent inhibitor of pancreatic cancer that targets the stem cells by inhibiting Notch signaling proteins.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: This multicenter, open-label, dose-escalating, phase I study evaluated the safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and preliminary tumor response of a nanoparticulate formulation of paclitaxel (Nanotax(®)) administered intraperitoneally for multiple treatment cycles in patients with solid tumors predominantly confined to the peritoneal cavity for whom no other curative systemic therapy treatment options were available.
Twenty-one patients with peritoneal malignancies received Nanotax(®) in a modified dose-escalation approach utilizing an accelerated titration method. All patients enrolled had previously received chemotherapeutics and undergone surgical procedures, including 33 % with optimal debulking. Six doses (50-275 mg/m(2)) of Cremophor-free Nanotax(®) were administered intraperitoneally for one to six cycles (every 28 days).
Intraperitoneal (IP) administration of Nanotax(®) did not lead to increases in toxicity over that typically associated with intravenous (IV) paclitaxel. No patient reported ≥Grade 2 neutropenia and/or ≥Grade 3 neurologic toxicities. Grade 3 thrombocytopenia unlikely related to study medication occurred in one patient. The peritoneal concentration-time profile of paclitaxel rose during the 2 days after dosing to peritoneal fluid concentrations 450-2900 times greater than peak plasma drug concentrations and remained elevated through the entire dose cycle. Best response assessments were made in 16/21 patients: Four patients were assessed as stable or had no response and twelve patients had increasing disease. Five of 21 patients with advanced cancers survived longer than 400 days after initiation of Nanotax(®) IP treatment.
Compared to IV paclitaxel administration, Cremophor-free IP administration of Nanotax(®) provides higher and prolonged peritoneal paclitaxel levels with minimal systemic exposure and reduced toxicity.
No preview · Article · Apr 2015 · Cancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumor (GIST) is a rare and therefore often neglected disease. Introduction of the kinase inhibitor, imatinib mesylate (IM) radically improved the clinical response of patients with GIST; however, its effects are often short-lived, with GISTs demonstrating a median time to progression of approximately two years. Although many investigational drugs, approved first for other cancers, have been subsequently evaluated for the management of GIST, few have greatly impacted the overall survival of patients with advance disease. We employed a novel, focused, drug repurposing effort for GIST including IM-resistant GIST evaluating a large library of FDA-approved drugs regardless of current indication. As a result of the drug repurposing screen, we identified eight FDA-approved drugs including fludarabine phosphate (F-AMP) that showed synergy with and/or overcame resistance to IM. F-AMP induces DNA damage, annexin V and caspase 3/7 activities as the cytotoxic effects on GIST cells including IM-resistant GIST cells. F-AMP and IM combination treatment showed greater inhibition of GIST cell proliferation when compared to IM alone and F-AMP alone. Successful in vivo experiments confirmed the combination of IM with F-AMP enhanced the antitumor effects compared to IM alone. Our results identified F-AMP as a promising, repurposed drug therapy for the treatment of GISTs, with potential to be administered in combination with IM or for treatment of IM-refractory tumors.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The antimycotic ciclopirox olamine is an intracellular iron chelator that has anticancer activity in vitro and in vivo. We developed an oral formulation of ciclopirox olamine and conducted the first-in-human phase I study of this drug in patients with relapsed or refractory hematologic malignancies (Trial registration ID: NCT00990587). Patients were treated with 5-80 mg/m(2) oral ciclopirox olamine once daily for five days in 21-day treatment cycles. Pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic companion studies were performed in a subset of patients. Following definition of the half-life of ciclopirox olamine, an additional cohort was enrolled and treated with 80 mg/m(2) ciclopirox olamine four times daily. Adverse events and clinical response were monitored throughout the trial. Twenty-three patients received study treatment. Ciclopirox was rapidly absorbed and cleared with a short half-life. Plasma concentrations of an inactive ciclopirox glucuronide metabolite were greater than those of ciclopirox. Repression of survivin expression was observed in peripheral blood cells isolated from patients treated once daily with ciclopirox olamine at doses greater than 10 mg/m(2) , demonstrating biological activity of the drug. Dose-limiting gastrointestinal toxicities were observed in patients receiving 80 mg/m(2) four times daily, and no dose limiting toxicity was observed at 40 mg/m(2) once daily. Hematologic improvement was observed in two patients. Once-daily dosing of oral ciclopirox olamine was well tolerated in patients with relapsed or refractory hematologic malignancies, and further optimization of dosing regimens is warranted in this patient population.
No preview · Article · Apr 2014 · American Journal of Hematology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite significant treatment advances over the past decade, metastatic gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) remains largely incurable. Rare diseases, such as GIST, individually affect small groups of patients but collectively are estimated to affect 25-30 million people in the U.S. alone. Given the costs associated with the discovery, development and registration of new drugs, orphan diseases such as GIST are often not pursued by mainstream pharmaceutical companies. As a result, "drug repurposing" or "repositioning", has emerged as an alternative to the traditional drug development process. In this study we screened 796 FDA-approved drugs and found that two of these compounds, auranofin and fludarabine phosphate, effectively and selectively inhibited the proliferation of GISTs including imatinib-resistant cells. One of the most notable drug hits, auranofin (Ridaura®), an oral, gold-containing agent approved by the FDA in 1985 for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), was found to inhibit thioredoxin reductase (TrxR) activity and induce reactive oxygen species (ROS) production, leading to dramatic inhibition of GIST cell growth and viability. Importantly, the anti-cancer activity associated with auranofin was independent of IM resistant status, but was closely related to the endogenous and inducible levels of ROS, therefore is prior to IM response. Coupled with the fact auranofin has an established safety profile in patients, these findings suggest for the first time that auranofin may have clinical benefit for GIST patients, particularly in those suffering from imatinib-resistant and recurrent forms of this disease.
No preview · Article · May 2013 · Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A unique heterocyclic carbamate prodrug of seco-CBI-indole(2) that releases no residual byproduct is reported as a new member of a class of hydrolyzable prodrugs of the duocarmycin and CC-1065 family of natural products. The prodrug was designed to be activated by hydrolysis of a carbamate releasing the free drug without the cleavage release of a traceable extraneous group. Unlike prior carbamate prodrugs examined that are rapidly cleaved in vivo, the cyclic carbamate was found to be exceptionally stable to hydrolysis under both chemical and biological conditions providing a slow, sustained release of the exceptionally potent free drug. An in vivo evaluation of the prodrug found that its efficacy exceeded that of the parent drug, that its therapeutic window of efficacy versus toxicity is much larger than the parent drug, and that its slow free drug release permitted the safe and efficacious use of doses 150-fold higher than the parent compound.
No preview · Article · May 2012 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Despite advances in molecular pathogenesis, pancreatic cancer remains a major unsolved health problem. It is a rapidly invasive, metastatic tumor that is resistant to standard therapies. The phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase/Akt and mTOR signaling pathways are frequently dysregulated in pancreatic cancer. Gemcitabine is the mainstay treatment for metastatic pancreatic cancer. P276 is a novel CDK inhibitor that induces G(2)/M arrest and inhibits tumor growth in vivo models. Here, we determined that P276 sensitizes pancreatic cancer cells to gemcitabine-induced apoptosis, a mechanism-mediated through inhibition of Akt-mTOR signaling. In vitro, the combination of P276 and gemcitabine resulted in a dose- and time-dependent inhibition of proliferation and colony formation of pancreatic cancer cells but not with normal pancreatic ductal cells. This combination also induced apoptosis, as seen by activated caspase-3 and increased Bax/Bcl2 ratio. Gene profiling studies showed that this combination downregulated Akt-mTOR signaling pathway, which was confirmed by Western blot analyses. There was also a downregulation of VEGF and interleukin-8 expression suggesting effects on angiogenesis pathway. In vivo, intraperitoneal administration of the P276-Gem combination significantly suppressed the growth of pancreatic cancer tumor xenografts. There was a reduction in CD31-positive blood vessels and reduced VEGF expression, again suggesting an effect on angiogenesis. Taken together, these data suggest that P276-Gem combination is a novel potent therapeutic agent that can target the Akt-mTOR signaling pathway to inhibit both tumor growth and angiogenesis.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2012 · Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Emerging evidence suggests that feeding a high-fat diet (HFD) to rodents affects the expression of genes involved in drug transport. However, gender-specific effects of HFD on drug transport are not known. The multidrug resistance-associated protein 2 (Mrp2, Abcc2) is a transporter highly expressed in the hepatocyte canalicular membrane and is important for biliary excretion of glutathione-conjugated chemicals. The current study showed that hepatic Mrp2 expression was reduced by HFD feeding only in female, but not male, C57BL/6J mice. In order to determine whether down-regulation of Mrp2 in female mice altered chemical disposition and toxicity, the biliary excretion and hepatotoxicity of the Mrp2 substrate, α-naphthylisothiocyanate (ANIT), were assessed in male and female mice fed control diet or HFD for 4weeks. ANIT-induced biliary injury is a commonly used model of experimental cholestasis and has been shown to be dependent upon Mrp2-mediated efflux of an ANIT glutathione conjugate that selectively injures biliary epithelial cells. Interestingly, HFD feeding significantly reduced early-phase biliary ANIT excretion in female mice and largely protected against ANIT-induced liver injury. In summary, the current study showed that, at least in mice, HFD feeding can differentially regulate Mrp2 expression and function and depending upon the chemical exposure may enhance or reduce susceptibility to toxicity. Taken together, these data provide a novel interaction between diet and gender in regulating hepatobiliary excretion and susceptibility to injury.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Excessive signaling from the Wnt pathway is associated with numerous human cancers. Using a high throughput screen designed to detect inhibitors of Wnt/β-catenin signaling, we identified a series of acyl hydrazones that act downstream of the β-catenin destruction complex to inhibit both Wnt-induced and cancer-associated constitutive Wnt signaling via destabilization of β-catenin. We found that these acyl hydrazones bind iron in vitro and in intact cells and that chelating activity is required to abrogate Wnt signaling and block the growth of colorectal cancer cell lines with constitutive Wnt signaling. In addition, we found that multiple iron chelators, desferrioxamine, deferasirox, and ciclopirox olamine similarly blocked Wnt signaling and cell growth. Moreover, in patients with AML administered ciclopirox olamine, we observed decreased expression of the Wnt target gene AXIN2 in leukemic cells. The novel class of acyl hydrazones would thus be prime candidates for further development as chemotherapeutic agents. Taken together, our results reveal a critical requirement for iron in Wnt signaling and they show that iron chelation serves as an effective mechanism to inhibit Wnt signaling in humans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Advancing novel therapeutic agents for the treatment of malignancy into the marketplace is an increasingly costly and lengthy process. As such, new strategies for drug discovery are needed. Drug repurposing represents an opportunity to rapidly advance new therapeutic strategies into clinical trials at a relatively low cost. Known on-patent or off-patent drugs with unrecognized anticancer activity can be rapidly advanced into clinical testing for this new indication by leveraging their known pharmacology, pharmacokinetics, and toxicology. Using this approach, academic groups can participate in the drug discovery field and smaller biotechnology companies can "de-risk" early-stage drug discovery projects. Here, several scientific approaches used to identify drug repurposing opportunities are highlighted, with a focus on hematologic malignancies. In addition, a discussion of the regulatory issues that are unique to drug repurposing and how they impact developing old drugs for new indications is included. Finally, the mechanisms to enhance drug repurposing through increased collaborations between academia, industry, and nonprofit charitable organizations are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: 6-Cyclohexyl-1-hydroxy-4-methyl-2(1H)-pyridone (ciclopirox) and specifically its olamine salt 6-cyclohexyl-1-hydroxy-4-methyl-2(1H)-pyridone 2-aminoethanol salt (ciclopirox olamine) are anti-fungal agents currently used for the treatment of mild to moderate cutaneous fungal infection. Our objective is to comment on the opportunity to rapidly reposition ciclopirox and its olamine for the treatment of haematologic malignancy by leveraging its prior published toxicology and pharmacology data.
Ciclopirox olamine chelates intracellular iron and displays preclinical efficacy in the treatment of haematologic malignancy. Currently, an ongoing study is evaluating topical ciclopirox olamine for the treatment of cervical cancer. Doses of ciclopirox olaine required for a systemic anti-cancer effect appear pharmacologically achievable. However, caution is required as at the highest doses tested in animal toxicology studies, irreversible cardiac degeneration was observed.
The existing pharmacology and toxicology data suggest that systemic ciclopirox olamine could be repositioned as a new investigational anti-cancer agent. The available pharmacology and toxicology data should aid in the design of phase I clinical trials of this agent in patients with refractory haematologic malignancies.
Full-text · Article · Apr 2011 · Journal of Clinical Pharmacy and Therapeutics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A series of N-acyl O-amino derivatives of seco-CBI-indole(2) are reported and examined as prototypical members of a unique class of reductively activated (cleaved) prodrugs of the duocarmycin and CC-1065 family of antitumor agents. These prodrugs were designed to be potentially preferentially activated in hypoxic tumor environments which carry an intrinsically higher concentration of "reducing" nucleophiles (e.g., thiols) capable of activating such derivatives by nucleophilic cleavage of a weak N-O bond. A remarkable range of stabilities and a resulting direct correlation with in vitro/in vivo biological potencies was observed for these prodrugs, even enlisting subtle variations in the electronic and steric environment around the weak N-O bond. An in vivo evaluation of several of the prodrugs demonstrates that some approach the potency and exceed the efficacy of the free drug itself (CBI-indole(2)), suggesting the prodrugs may offer an additional advantage related to a controlled or targeted release.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2010 · Journal of Medicinal Chemistry
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The objective of this study was to optimize the in vivo activity of proteolipid protein (PLP)-bifunctional peptide inhibitor (BPI) molecule to suppress experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in SJL/J mice and evaluate pharmacokinetic profiles of PLP-BPI. PLP-BPI is constructed via conjugation of myelin PLP(139-151) with CD11a(237-246)-derived peptide (LABL) via a spacer. The hypothesis is that PLP-BPI binds simultaneously to major histocompatibility complex-II and intercellular adhesion molecule-1 on the antigen-presenting cell (APC) and inhibits the formation of the immunological synapse during T-cell and APC interactions. In this study, the structure of BPI was modified by varying the spacer and was evaluated in the EAE model. Intravenous injections of BPI derivatives inhibited the onset, severity, and incidence of EAE more effectively and induced a lower incidence of anaphylaxis than that produced by unmodified PLP-BPI. As anticipated, production of interleukin-17, a proinflammatory cytokine commonly found in elevated levels among multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, was significantly lower in Ac-PLP-BPI-PEG6- or Ac-PLP-BPI-NH(2)-2-treated mice than in phosphate-buffered saline-treated mice. These results suggest that BPI-type molecules can be modified to achieve more efficient and better tolerated BPI-based derivatives for the treatment of MS.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2009 · Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics