Posts Tagged ‘American Association for Cancer Research’

Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 28, 2020 Symposium: New Drugs on the Horizon Part 3 12:30-1:25 PM

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

New Drugs on the Horizon: Part 3

Andrew J. Phillips, C4 Therapeutics

  • symposium brought by AACR CICR and had about 30 proposals for talks and chose three talks
  • unfortunately the networking event is not possible but hope to see you soon in good health

ABBV-184: A novel survivin specific T cell receptor/CD3 bispecific therapeutic that targets both solid tumor and hematological malignancies

Edward B Reilly
AbbVie Inc. @abbvie

  • T-cell receptors (TCR) can recognize the intracellular targets whereas antibodies only recognize the 25% of potential extracellular targets
  • survivin is expressed in multiple cancers and correlates with poor survival and prognosis
  • CD3 bispecific TCR to survivn (Ab to CD3 on T- cells and TCR to survivin on cancer cells presented in MHC Class A3)
  • ABBV184  effective in vivo in lung cancer models as single agent;
  • in humanized mouse tumor models CD3/survivin bispecific can recruit T cells into solid tumors; multiple immune cells CD4 and CD8 positive T cells were found to infiltrate into tumor
  • therapeutic window as measured by cytokine release assays in tumor vs. normal cells very wide (>25 fold)
  • ABBV184 does not bind platelets and has good in vivo safety profile
  • First- in human dose determination trial: used in vitro cancer cell assays to determine 1st human dose
  • looking at AML and lung cancer indications
  • phase 1 trial is underway for safety and efficacy and determine phase 2 dose
  • survivin has very few mutations so they are not worried about a changing epitope of their target TCR peptide of choice

The discovery of TNO155: A first in class SHP2 inhibitor

Matthew J. LaMarche
Novartis @Novartis

  • SHP2 is an intracellular phosphatase that is upstream of MEK ERK pathway; has an SH2 domain and PTP domain
  • knockdown of SHP2 inhibits tumor growth and colony formation in soft agar
  • 55 TKIs there are very little phosphatase inhibitors; difficult to target the active catalytic site; inhibitors can be oxidized at the active site; so they tried to target the two domains and developed an allosteric inhibitor at binding site where three domains come together and stabilize it
  • they produced a number of chemical scaffolds that would bind and stabilize this allosteric site
  • block the redox reaction by blocking the cysteine in the binding site
  • lead compound had phototoxicity; used SAR analysis to improve affinity and reduce phototox effects
  • was very difficult to balance efficacy, binding properties, and tox by adjusting stuctures
  • TNO155 is their lead into trials
  • SHP2 expressed in T cells and they find good combo with I/O with uptick of CD8 cells
  • TNO155 is very selective no SHP1 inhibition; SHP2 can autoinhibit itself when three domains come together and stabilize; no cross reactivity with other phosphatases
  • they screened 1.5 million compounds and got low hit rate so that is why they needed to chemically engineer and improve on the classes they found as near hits

Closing Remarks


Xiaojing Wang
Genentech, Inc. @genentech

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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 28, 2020 Session on NCI Activities: COVID-19 and Cancer Research 5:20 PM

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

NCI Activities: COVID-19 and Cancer Research

Dinah S. Singer. NCI-DCB, Bethesda, MD @theNCI

  • at the NCI they are pivoting some of their clinical trials to address COVID related issues like trials on tocilizumab and producing longitudinal cohorts of cancer patients and COVID for further analysis and studies
  • vaccine and antibody efforts at NCI and they are asking all their cancer centers (Cancer COVID Consortium) collecting data
  • Moonshot is collecting metadata but now COVID data from cellular therapy patients
  • they are about to publish new grants related to COVID and adding option to investigators to use current funds to do COVID related options
  • she says if at home take the time to think, write manuscripts, analyze data BE A REVIEWER FOR JOURNALS,
  • SSMMART project from Moonshot is still active
  • so far NCI and NIH grant process is ongoing although the peer review process is slower
  • they have extended deadlines with NO justification required (extend 90 days)
  • also allowing flexibility on use of grant money and allowing more early investigator rules and lax on those rules
  • non competitive renewals (type 5) will allow restructuring of project; contact program administrator
  • she and NCI heard rumors of institutions shutting down cancer research she is stressing to them not to do that
  • non refundable travel costs may be charged to the grant
  • NCI contemplating on extending the early investigator time
  • for more information go to NIH and NCI COVID-19 pages which have more guidances updated regularly

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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 28, 2020 Session on Evaluating Cancer Genomics from Normal Tissues Through Metastatic Disease 3:50 PM

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

 Minisymposium: Evaluating Cancer Genomics from Normal Tissues through Evolution to Metastatic Disease

Oncologic therapy shapes the fitness landscape of clonal hematopoiesis

April 28, 2020, 4:10 PM – 4:20 PM

Kelly L. Bolton, Ryan N. Ptashkin, Teng Gao, Lior Braunstein, Sean M. Devlin, Minal Patel, Antonin Berthon, Aijazuddin Syed, Mariko Yabe, Catherine Coombs, Nicole M. Caltabellotta, Mike Walsh, Ken Offit, Zsofia Stadler, Choonsik Lee, Paul Pharoah, Konrad H. Stopsack, Barbara Spitzer, Simon Mantha, James Fagin, Laura Boucai, Christopher J. Gibson, Benjamin Ebert, Andrew L. Young, Todd Druley, Koichi Takahashi, Nancy Gillis, Markus Ball, Eric Padron, David Hyman, Jose Baselga, Larry Norton, Stuart Gardos, Virginia Klimek, Howard Scher, Dean Bajorin, Eder Paraiso, Ryma Benayed, Maria Arcilla, Marc Ladanyi, David Solit, Michael Berger, Martin Tallman, Montserrat Garcia-Closas, Nilanjan Chatterjee, Luis Diaz, Ross Levine, Lindsay Morton, Ahmet Zehir, Elli Papaemmanuil. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, Washington University, St Louis, MO, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD

Recent studies among healthy individuals show evidence of somatic mutations in leukemia-associated genes, referred to as clonal hematopoiesis (CH). To determine the relationship between CH and oncologic therapy we collected sequential blood samples from 525 cancer patients (median sampling interval time = 23 months, range: 6-53 months) of whom 61% received cytotoxic therapy or external beam radiation therapy and 39% received either targeted/immunotherapy or were untreated. Samples were sequenced using deep targeted capture-based platforms. To determine whether CH mutational features were associated with tMN risk, we performed Cox proportional hazards regression on 9,549 cancer patients exposed to oncologic therapy of whom 75 cases developed tMN (median time to transformation=26 months). To further compare the genetic and clonal relationships between tMN and the proceeding CH, we analyzed 35 cases for which paired samples were available. We compared the growth rate of the variant allele fraction (VAF) of CH clones across treatment modalities and in untreated patients. A significant increase in the growth rate of CH mutations was seen in DDR genes among those receiving cytotoxic (p=0.03) or radiation therapy (p=0.02) during the follow-up period compared to patients who did not receive therapy. Similar growth rates among treated and untreated patients were seen for non-DDR CH genes such as DNMT3A. Increasing cumulative exposure to cytotoxic therapy (p=0.01) and external beam radiation therapy (2×10-8) resulted in higher growth rates for DDR CH mutations. Among 34 subjects with at least two CH mutations in which one mutation was in a DDR gene and one in a non-DDR gene, we studied competing clonal dynamics for multiple gene mutations within the same patient. The risk of tMN was positively associated with CH in a known myeloid neoplasm driver mutation (HR=6.9, p<10-6), and increased with the total number of mutations and clone size. The strongest associations were observed for mutations in TP53 and for CH with mutations in spliceosome genes (SRSF2, U2AF1 and SF3B1). Lower hemoglobin, lower platelet counts, lower neutrophil counts, higher red cell distribution width and higher mean corpuscular volume were all positively associated with increased tMN risk. Among 35 cases for which paired samples were available, in 19 patients (59%), we found evidence of at least one of these mutations at the time of pre-tMN sequencing and in 13 (41%), we identified two or more in the pre-tMN sample. In all cases the dominant clone at tMN transformation was defined by a mutation seen at CH Our serial sampling data provide clear evidence that oncologic therapy strongly selects for clones with mutations in the DDR genes and that these clones have limited competitive fitness, in the absence of cytotoxic or radiation therapy. We further validate the relevance of CH as a predictor and precursor of tMN in cancer patients. We show that CH mutations detected prior to tMN diagnosis were consistently part of the dominant clone at tMN diagnosis and demonstrate that oncologic therapy directly promotes clones with mutations in genes associated with chemo-resistant disease such as TP53.

  • therapy resulted also in clonal evolution and saw changes in splice variants and spliceosome
  • therapy promotes current DDR mutations
  • clonal hematopoeisis due to selective pressures
  • mutations, variants number all predictive of myeloid disease
  • deferring adjuvant therapy for breast cancer patients with patients in highest MDS risk group based on biomarkers, greatly reduced their risk for MDS

5704 – Pan-cancer genomic characterization of patient-matched primary, extracranial, and brain metastases

Presenter/AuthorsOlivia W. Lee, Akash Mitra, Won-Chul Lee, Kazutaka Fukumura, Hannah Beird, Miles Andrews, Grant Fischer, John N. Weinstein, Michael A. Davies, Jason Huse, P. Andrew Futreal. The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, TX, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, TX, Olivia Newton-John Cancer Research Institute and School of Cancer Medicine, La Trobe University, AustraliaDisclosures O.W. Lee: None. A. Mitra: None. W. Lee: None. K. Fukumura: None. H. Beird: None. M. Andrews: ; Merck Sharp and Dohme. G. Fischer: None. J.N. Weinstein: None. M.A. Davies: ; Bristol-Myers Squibb. ; Novartis. ; Array BioPharma. ; Roche and Genentech. ; GlaxoSmithKline. ; Sanofi-Aventis. ; AstraZeneca. ; Myriad Genetics. ; Oncothyreon. J. Huse: None. P. Futreal: None.

Abstract: Brain metastases (BM) occur in 10-30% of patients with cancer. Approximately 200,000 new cases of brain metastases are diagnosed in the United States annually, with median survival after diagnosis ranging from 3 to 27 months. Recently, studies have identified significant genetic differences between BM and their corresponding primary tumors. It has been shown that BM harbor clinically actionable mutations that are distinct from those in the primary tumor samples. Additional genomic profiling of BM will provide deeper understanding of the pathogenesis of BM and suggest new therapeutic approaches.
We performed whole-exome sequencing of BM and matched tumors from 41 patients collected from renal cell carcinoma (RCC), breast cancer, lung cancer, and melanoma, which are known to be more likely to develop BM. We profiled total 126 fresh-frozen tumor samples and performed subsequent analyses of BM in comparison to paired primary tumor and extracranial metastases (ECM). We found that lung cancer shared the largest number of mutations between BM and matched tumors (83%), followed by melanoma (74%), RCC (51%), and Breast (26%), indicating that cancer type with high tumor mutational burden share more mutations with BM. Mutational signatures displayed limited differences, suggesting a lack of mutagenic processes specific to BM. However, point-mutation heterogeneity revealed that BM evolve separately into different subclones from their paired tumors regardless of cancer type, and some cancer driver genes were found in BM-specific subclones. These models and findings suggest that these driver genes may drive prometastatic subclones that lead to BM. 32 curated cancer gene mutations were detected and 71% of them were shared between BM and primary tumors or ECM. 29% of mutations were specific to BM, implying that BM often accumulate additional cancer gene mutations that are not present in primary tumors or ECM. Co-mutation analysis revealed a high frequency of TP53 nonsense mutation in BM, mostly in the DNA binding domain, suggesting TP53 nonsense mutation as a possible prerequisite for the development of BM. Copy number alteration analysis showed statistically significant differences between BM and their paired tumor samples in each cancer type (Wilcoxon test, p < 0.0385 for all). Both copy number gains and losses were consistently higher in BM for breast cancer (Wilcoxon test, p =1.307e-5) and lung cancer (Wilcoxon test, p =1.942e-5), implying greater genomic instability during the evolution of BM.
Our findings highlight that there are more unique mutations in BM, with significantly higher copy number alterations and tumor mutational burden. These genomic analyses could provide an opportunity for more reliable diagnostic decision-making, and these findings will be further tested with additional transcriptomic and epigenetic profiling for better characterization of BM-specific tumor microenvironments.

  • are there genomic signatures different in brain mets versus non metastatic or normal?
  • 32 genes from curated databases were different between brain mets and primary tumor
  • frequent nonsense mutations in TP53
  • divergent clonal evolution of drivers in BMets from primary
  • they were able to match BM with other mutational signatures like smokers and lung cancer signatures

5707 – A standard operating procedure for the interpretation of oncogenicity/pathogenicity of somatic mutations

Presenter/AuthorsPeter Horak, Malachi Griffith, Arpad Danos, Beth A. Pitel, Subha Madhavan, Xuelu Liu, Jennifer Lee, Gordana Raca, Shirley Li, Alex H. Wagner, Shashikant Kulkarni, Obi L. Griffith, Debyani Chakravarty, Dmitriy Sonkin. National Center for Tumor Diseases, Heidelberg, Germany, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, Georgetown University Medical Center, Washington, DC, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, Rockville, MD, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, Sunquest, Boston, MA, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, National Cancer Institute, Rockville, MDDisclosures P. Horak: None. M. Griffith: None. A. Danos: None. B.A. Pitel: None. S. Madhavan: ; Perthera Inc. X. Liu: None. J. Lee: None. G. Raca: None. S. Li: ; Sunquest Information Systems, Inc. A.H. Wagner: None. S. Kulkarni: ; Baylor Genetics. O.L. Griffith: None. D. Chakravarty: None. D. Sonkin: None.AbstractSomatic variants in cancer-relevant genes are interpreted from multiple partially overlapping perspectives. When considered in discovery and translational research endeavors, it is important to determine if a particular variant observed in a gene of interest is oncogenic/pathogenic or not, as such knowledge provides the foundation on which targeted cancer treatment research is based. In contrast, clinical applications are dominated by diagnostic, prognostic, or therapeutic interpretations which in part also depends on underlying variant oncogenicity/pathogenicity. The Association for Molecular Pathology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, and the College of American Pathologists (AMP/ASCO/CAP) have published structured somatic variant clinical interpretation guidelines which specifically address diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic implications. These guidelines have been well-received by the oncology community. Many variant knowledgebases, clinical laboratories/centers have adopted or are in the process of adopting these guidelines. The AMP/ASCO/CAP guidelines also describe different data types which are used to determine oncogenicity/pathogenicity of a variant, such as: population frequency, functional data, computational predictions, segregation, and somatic frequency. A second collaborative effort created the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Scale for Clinical Actionability of molecular Targets to provide a harmonized vocabulary that provides an evidence-based ranking system of molecular targets that supports their value as clinical targets. However, neither of these clinical guideline systems provide systematic and comprehensive procedures for aggregating population frequency, functional data, computational predictions, segregation, and somatic frequency to consistently interpret variant oncogenicity/pathogenicity, as has been published in the ACMG/AMP guidelines for interpretation of pathogenicity of germline variants. In order to address this unmet need for somatic variant oncogenicity/pathogenicity interpretation procedures, the Variant Interpretation for Cancer Consortium (VICC, a GA4GH driver project) Knowledge Curation and Interpretation Standards (KCIS) working group (WG) has developed a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) with contributions from members of ClinGen Somatic Clinical Domain WG, and ClinGen Somatic/Germline variant curation WG using an approach similar to the ACMG/AMP germline pathogenicity guidelines to categorize evidence of oncogenicity/pathogenicity as very strong, strong, moderate or supporting. This SOP enables consistent and comprehensive assessment of oncogenicity/pathogenicity of somatic variants and latest version of an SOP can be found at https://cancervariants.org/wg/kcis/.

  • best to use this SOP for somatic mutations and not rearangements
  • variants based on oncogenicity as strong to weak
  • useful variant knowledge on pathogenicity curated from known databases
  • the recommendations would provide some guideline on curating unknown somatic variants versus known variants of hereditary diseases
  • they have not curated RB1 mutations or variants (or for other RBs like RB2? p130?)


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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 28, 2020 Session on Novel Targets and Therapies 2:35 PM

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD


Session VMS.ET04.01 – Novel Targets and Therapies

Targeting chromatin remodeling-associated genetic vulnerabilities in cancer: PBRM1 defects are synthetic lethal with PARP and ATR inhibitors

Presenter/AuthorsRoman Merial Chabanon, Daphné Morel, Léo Colmet-Daage, Thomas Eychenne, Nicolas Dorvault, Ilirjana Bajrami, Marlène Garrido, Suzanna Hopkins, Cornelia Meisenberg, Andrew Lamb, Theo Roumeliotis, Samuel Jouny, Clémence Astier, Asha Konde, Geneviève Almouzni, Jyoti Choudhary, Jean-Charles Soria, Jessica Downs, Christopher J. Lord, Sophie Postel-Vinay. Gustave Roussy, Villejuif, France, The Francis Crick Institute, London, United Kingdom, Institute of Cancer Research, London, United Kingdom, Sage Bionetworks, Seattle, WA, Institute of Cancer Research, London, United Kingdom, Institute of Cancer Research, London, United Kingdom, Institut Curie, Paris, France, Université Paris-Sud/Université Paris-Saclay, Le Kremlin-Bicêtre, France, Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus and U981 INSERM, ATIP-Avenir group, Villejuif, FranceDisclosures R.M. Chabanon: None. D. Morel: None. L. Colmet-Daage: None. T. Eychenne: None. N. Dorvault: None. I. Bajrami: None. M. Garrido: None. S. Hopkins: ; Fishawack Group of Companies. C. Meisenberg: None. A. Lamb: None. T. Roumeliotis: None. S. Jouny: None. C. Astier: None. A. Konde: None. G. Almouzni: None. J. Choudhary: None. J. Soria: ; Medimmune/AstraZeneca. ; Astex. ; Gritstone. ; Clovis. ; GSK. ; GamaMabs. ; Lilly. ; MSD. ; Mission Therapeutics. ; Merus. ; Pfizer. ; PharmaMar. ; Pierre Fabre. ; Roche/Genentech. ; Sanofi. ; Servier. ; Symphogen. ; Takeda. J. Downs: None. C.J. Lord: ; AstraZeneca. ; Merck KGaA. ; Artios. ; Tango. ; Sun Pharma. ; GLG. ; Vertex. ; Ono Pharma. ; Third Rock Ventures. S. Postel-Vinay: ; Merck KGaA. ; Principal investigator of clinical trials for Gustave Roussy.; Boehringer Ingelheim. ; Principal investigator of clinical trials for Gustave Roussy.; Roche. ; Principal investigator of clinical trials for Gustave Roussy. Benefited from reimbursement for attending symposia.; AstraZeneca. ; Principal investigator of clinical trials for Gustave Roussy.; Clovis. ; Principal investigator of clinical trials for Gustave Roussy.; Bristol-Myers Squibb. ; Principal investigator of clinical trials for Gustave Roussy.; Agios. ; Principal investigator of clinical trials for Gustave Roussy.; GSK.AbstractAim: Polybromo-1 (PBRM1), a specific subunit of the pBAF chromatin remodeling complex, is frequently inactivated in cancer. For example, 40% of clear cell Renal Cell Carcinoma (ccRCC) and 15% of cholangiocarcinoma present deleterious PBRM1 mutations. There is currently no precision medicine-based therapeutic approach that targets PBRM1 defects. To identify novel, targeted therapeutic strategies for PBRM1-defective cancers, we carried out high-throughput functional genomics and drug screenings followed by in vitro and in vivo validation studies.
Methods: High-throughput siRNA-drug sensitization and drug sensitivity screens evaluating > 150 cancer-relevant small molecules in dose-response were performed in Pbrm1 siRNA-transfected mouse embryonic stem cells (mES) and isogenic PBRM1-KO or -WT HAP1 cells, respectively. After identification of PBRM1-selective small molecules, revalidation was carried out in a series of in-house-generated isogenic models of PBRM1 deficiency – including 786-O (ccRCC), A498 (ccRCC), U2OS (osteosarcoma) and H1299 (non-small cell lung cancer) human cancer cell lines – and non-isogenic ccRCC models, using multiple clinical compounds. Mechanistic dissection was performed using immunofluorescence, RT-qPCR, western blotting, DNA fiber assay, transcriptomics, proteomics and DRIP-sequencing to evaluate markers of DNA damage response (DDR), replication stress and cell-autonomous innate immune signaling. Preclinical data were integrated with TCGA tumor data.
Results: Parallel high-throughput drug screens independently identified PARP inhibitors (PARPi) as being synthetic lethal with PBRM1 defects – a cell type-independent effect which was exacerbated by ATR inhibitors (ATRi) and which we revalidated in vitro in isogenic and non-isogenic systems and in vivo in a xenograft model. PBRM1 defects were associated with increased replication fork stress (higher γH2AX and RPA foci levels, decreased replication fork speed and increased ATM checkpoint activation), R-loop accumulation and enhanced genomic instability in vitro; these effects were exacerbated upon PARPi exposure. In patient tumor samples, we also found that PBRM1-mutant cancers possessed a higher mutational load. Finally, we found that ATRi selectively activated the cGAS/STING cytosolic DNA sensing pathway in PBRM1-deficient cells, resulting in increased expression of type I interferon genes.
Conclusion: PBRM1-defective cancer cells present increased replication fork stress, R-loop formation, genome instability and are selectively sensitive to PARPi and ATRi through a synthetic lethal mechanism that is cell type-independent. Our data provide the pre-clinical rationale for assessing PARPi as a monotherapy or in combination with ATRi or immune-modulating agents in molecularly-selected patients with PBRM1-defective cancers.

1057 – Targeting MTHFD2 using first-in-class inhibitors kills haematological and solid cancer through thymineless-induced replication stress

Presenter/AuthorsThomas Helleday. University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United KingdomDisclosures T. Helleday: None.AbstractSummary
Thymidine synthesis pathways are upregulated pathways in cancer. Since the 1940s, targeting nucleotide and folate metabolism to induce thymineless death has remained first-line anti-cancer treatment. Recent discoveries that showing cancer cells have rewired networks and exploit unique enzymes for proliferation, have renewed interest in metabolic pathways. The cancer-specific expression of MTHFD2 has gained wide-spread attention and here we describe an emerging role for MTHFD2 in the DNA damage response (DDR). The folate metabolism enzyme MTHFD2 is one of the most consistently overexpressed metabolic enzymes in cancer and an emerging anticancer target. We show a novel role for MTHFD2 being essential for DNA replication and genomic stability in cancer cells. We describe first-in-class nanomolar MTHFD2 inhibitors (MTHFD2i), with protein co-crystal structures demonstrating binding in the active site of MTHFD2 and engaging with the target in cells and tumours. We show MTHFD2i reduce replication fork speed and induce replication stress, followed by S phase arrest, apoptosis and killing of a range of haematological and solid cancer cells in vitro and in vivo, with a therapeutic window spanning up to four orders of magnitude compared to non-transformed cells. Mechanistically, MTHFD2i prevent thymidine production leading to mis-incorporation of uracil into DNA and replication stress. As MTHFD2 expression is cancer specific there is a potential of MTHFD2i to synergize with other treatments. Here, we show MTHFD2i synergize with dUTPase inhibitors as well as other DDR inhibitors and demonstrate the mechanism of action. These results demonstrate a new link between MTHFD2-dependent cancer metabolism and replication stress that can be exploited therapeutically.
MTHFD2, one-carbon metabolism, folate metabolism, DNA replication, replication stress, synthetic lethal, thymineless death, small-molecule inhibitor, DNA damage response



1060 – Genetic and pharmacologic inhibition of Skp2, an E3 ubiquitin ligase and RB1-target, has antitumor activity in RB1-deficient human and mouse small cell lung cancer (SCLC)

Hongling ZhaoVineeth SukrithanNiloy IqbalCari NicholasYingjiao XueJoseph LockerJuntao ZouLiang ZhuEdward L. Schwartz. Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, NY
 H. Zhao: None. V. Sukrithan: None. N. Iqbal: None. C. Nicholas: None. Y. Xue: None. J. Locker: None. J. Zou: None. L. Zhu: None. E.L. Schwartz: None.
The identification of driver mutations and their corresponding targeted drugs has led to significant improvements in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and other solid tumors; however, similar advances have not been made in the treatment of small cell lung cancer (SCLC). Due to their aggressive growth, frequent metastases, and resistance to chemotherapy, the five-year overall survival of SCLC is less than 5%. While SCLC tumors can be sensitive to first-line therapy of cisplatin and etoposide, most patients relapse, often in less than 3 months after initial therapy. Dozens of drugs have been tested clinically in SCLC, including more than 40 agents that have failed in phase III trials.
The near uniform bi-allelic inactivation of the tumor suppressor gene RB1 is a defining feature of SCLC. RB1 is mutated in highly aggressive tumors, including SCLC, where its functional loss, along with that of TP53, is both required and sufficient for tumorigenesis. While it is known that RB1 mutant cells fail to arrest at G1/S in response to checkpoint signals, this information has not led to effective strategies to treat RB1-deficient tumors, and it has been challenging to develop targeted drugs for tumors that are driven by the loss of gene function.
Our group previously identified Skp2, a substrate recruiting subunit of the SCF-Skp2 E3 ubiquitin ligase, as an early repression target of pRb whose knockout blocked tumorigenesis in Rb1-deficient prostate and pituitary tumors. Here we used genetic mouse models to demonstrate that deletion of Skp2 completely blocked the formation of SCLC in Rb1/p53-knockout mice (RP mice). Skp2 KO caused an increased accumulation of the Skp2-degradation target p27, a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor, and we confirmed this was the mechanism of protection in the RP-Skp2 KO mice by using the knock-in of a mutant p27 that was unable to bind to Skp2. Building on the observed synthetic lethality between Rb1 and Skp2, we found that small molecules that bind to and/or inhibit Skp2 induced apoptosis and inhibited SCLC cell growth. In a panel of SCLC cell lines, growth inhibition by a Skp2 inhibitor was not correlated with sensitivity/resistance to etoposide. Targeting Skp2 also had in vivo antitumor activity in mouse tumors and human patient-derived xenograft models of SCLC. Using the genetic and pharmacologic approaches, antitumor activity was seen in vivo in established SCLC primary lung tumors, in liver metastases, and in chemotherapy-resistant tumors. The identification and validation of an actionable target downstream of RB1 could have a broad impact on treatment of SCLC and other advanced tumors with mutant RB1, for which there are currently no targeted therapies available.

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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 28, 2020 Session on Early Detection and ctDNA 1:35 – 3:55 PM

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

Alberto Bardelli

  • circulating tumor DNA has been around but with NGS now we can have more specificity in analyzing ctDNA
  • interest lately in using liquid biopsy to gain insight on tumor heterogeneity versus single needle biopsy of the solid tumor
  • these talks will however be on ctDNA as a diagnostic and therapeutic monitoring modality

Prediction of cancer and tissue of origin in individuals with suspicion of cancer using a cell-free DNA multi-cancer early detection test
David Thiel 


  • test has a specificity over 90% and intended to used along with guideline
  • The Circulating  Cell-free Genome Atlas Study (clinical trial NCT02889978) (CCGA) study divided into three substudies: highest performing assay, refining assay, validation of assays
  • methylation based assays worked better than sequencing (bisulfite sequencing)
  • used a machine learning algorithm to help refine assay
  • prediction was >90%; subgroup for high clinical suspicion of cancer
  • HCS sensitivity was 100% and specificity very high; but sensitivity on training set was 40% and results may have been confounded by including kidney cancer
  • TOO tissue of origin was predicted in greater than 99% in both training and validation sets

A first-of-its-kind prospective study of a multi-cancer blood test to screen and manage 10,000 women with no history of cancer

  • DETECT-A study: prospective interventional study; can multi blood test be used prospectively and can lead to a personalized care; can the screen be used to complement current therapy?
  • 10,000 women aged 65-75;  these women could not have previous cancer and conducted through Geisinger Health Network; multi test detects DNA and protein and standard of care screening
  • the study focused on safety so a committee was consulted on each case, and used a diagnostic PET-CT
  • blood test alone not good but combined with protein and CT scans much higher (5 fold increase) detection for breast cancer

Nickolas Papadopoulos


David Huntsman

  • there are mutiple opportunities yet at same time there are still challenges to utilize these cell free tests in therapeutic monitoring, diagnostic, and screening however sensitivities for some cancers are still too low to use in large scale screening however can supplement current screening guidelines
  • we have to ask about false positive rate and need to concentrate on prospective studies
  • we must consider how tests will be used, population health studies will need to show improved survival


Phylogenetic tracking and minimal residual disease detection using ctDNA in early-stage NSCLC: A lung TRACERx study
Chris Abbosh @ucl

  • TRACERx study in collaboration with Charles Swanton.
  • multiplex PCR to track 200 SNVs: correlate tumor tissue biopsy with ctDNA
  • spike in assay shows very good sensitivity and specificity for SNVs variants tracked, did over 400 TRACERx libraries
  • sensitivity increases when tracking more variants but specificity does go down a bit
  • tracking variants can show evidence of subclonal dynamics and evolution and copy number deletion events;  they also show neoantigen editing or changing of their neoantigens
  • this assay can detect low variants in a reproducible manner

The TRACERx (TRAcking Cancer Evolution through therapy (Rx)) lung study is a multi-million pound research project taking place over nine years, which will transform our understanding of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and take a practical step towards an era of precision medicine. The study will uncover mechanisms of cancer evolution by analysing the intratumour heterogeneity in lung tumours from approximately 850 patients and tracking its evolutionary trajectory from diagnosis through to relapse. At £14 million, it’s the biggest single investment in lung cancer research by Cancer Research UK, and the start of a strategic UK-wide focus on the disease, aimed at making real progress for patients.

Led by Professor Charles Swanton at UCL, the study will bring together a network of experts from different disciplines to help integrate clinical and genomic data and identify patients who could benefit from trials of new, targeted treatments. In addition, it will use a whole suite of cutting edge analytical techniques on these patients’ tumour samples, giving unprecedented insight into the genomic landscape of primary and metastatic tumours and the impact of treatment upon this landscape.

In future, TRACERx will enable us to define how intratumour heterogeneity impacts upon cancer immunity throughout tumour evolution and therapy. Such studies will help define how the clinical evaluation of intratumour heterogeneity can inform patient stratification and the development of combinatorial therapies incorporating conventional, targeted and immune based therapeutics.

Intratumour heterogeneity is increasingly recognised as a major hurdle to achieve improvements in therapeutic outcome and biomarker validation. Intratumour genetic diversity provides a substrate for tumour adaptation and evolution. However, the evolutionary genomic landscape of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and how it changes through the disease course has not been studied in detail. TRACERx is a prospective observational study with the following objectives:

Primary Objectives

  • Define the relationship between intratumour heterogeneity and clinical outcome following surgery and adjuvant therapy (including relationships between intratumour heterogeneity and clinical disease stage and histological subtypes of NSCLC).
  • Establish the impact of adjuvant platinum-containing regimens upon intratumour heterogeneity in relapsed disease compared to primary resected tumour.

Key Secondary Objectives

  • Develop and validate an intratumour heterogeneity (ITH) ratio index as a prognostic and predictive biomarker in relation to disease-free survival and overall survival.
  • Infer a complete picture of NSCLC evolutionary dynamics – define drivers of genomic instability, metastatic progression and drug resistance by identifying and tracking the dynamics of somatic mutational heterogeneity, and chromosomal structural and numerical instability present in the primary tumour and at metastatic sites. Individual tumour phylogenetic tree analysis will:
    • Establish the order of somatic events in relation to genomic instability onset and metastatic progression
    • Decipher genetic “bottlenecking” events following metastasis and drug therapy
    • Establish dynamics of tumour evolution during the disease course from early to late stage NSCLC.
  • Initiate a longitudinal biobank of circulating tumour cells (CTCs) and circulating-free tumour DNA (cfDNA) to develop analytical methods for the early detection and monitoring of tumour evolution over time.
  • Develop a longitudinal tissue resource to serve as a platform to assess the relationship between genetic intratumour heterogeneity and the host immune response.
  • Define relationships between intratumour heterogeneity and targeted/cytotoxic therapeutic outcome.
  • Use a lung cancer specific gene panel in a certified Good Clinical Practice (GCP) laboratory environment to define clonally dominant disease drivers to address the role of clonal driver dominance in targeted therapeutic response and to guide stratification of lung cancer treatment and future clinical study inclusion (paired primary-metastatic site comparisons in at least 270 patients with relapsed disease).



Utility of longitudinal circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) modeling to predict RECIST-defined progression in first-line patients with epidermal growth factor receptor mutation-positive (EGFRm) advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
Martin Johnson


Impact of the EML4-ALK fusion variant on the efficacy of lorlatinib in patients (pts) with ALK-positive advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC)
Todd Bauer


From an interview with Dr. Bauer at https://www.lungcancernews.org/2019/08/14/making-headway-with-lorlatinib/

Lorlatinib, a smallmolecule inhibitor of ALK and ROS1, was granted accelerated U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval in November 2018 for patients with ALK-positive metastatic NSCLC whose disease has progressed on crizotinib and at least one other ALK inhibitor or whose disease has progressed on alectinib or ceritinib as the first ALK inhibitor therapy for metastatic disease. Todd M. Bauer, MD, a medical oncologist and senior investigator at Sarah Cannon Research Institute/Tennessee Oncology, PLLC, in Nashville, has been very involved with the development of lorlatinib since the beginning. In the following interview, Dr. Bauer discusses some of lorlatinib’s unique toxicities, as well as his first-hand experiences with the drug.

For further reading: Solomon B, Besse B, Bauer T, et al. Lorlatinib in Patients with ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer: results from a global phase 2 study. Lancet. 2018;19(12):P1654-1667.


BACKGROUND: Lorlatinib is a potent, brain-penetrant, third-generation inhibitor of ALK and ROS1 tyrosine kinases with broad coverage of ALK mutations. In a phase 1 study, activity was seen in patients with ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer, most of whom had CNS metastases and progression after ALK-directed therapy. We aimed to analyse the overall and intracranial antitumour activity of lorlatinib in patients with ALK-positive, advanced non-small-cell lung cancer.

METHODS: In this phase 2 study, patients with histologically or cytologically ALK-positive or ROS1-positive, advanced, non-small-cell lung cancer, with or without CNS metastases, with an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group performance status of 0, 1, or 2, and adequate end-organ function were eligible. Patients were enrolled into six different expansion cohorts (EXP1-6) on the basis of ALK and ROS1 status and previous therapy, and were given lorlatinib 100 mg orally once daily continuously in 21-day cycles. The primary endpoint was overall and intracranial tumour response by independent central review, assessed in pooled subgroups of ALK-positive patients. Analyses of activity and safety were based on the safety analysis set (ie, all patients who received at least one dose of lorlatinib) as assessed by independent central review. Patients with measurable CNS metastases at baseline by independent central review were included in the intracranial activity analyses. In this report, we present lorlatinib activity data for the ALK-positive patients (EXP1-5 only), and safety data for all treated patients (EXP1-6). This study is ongoing and is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01970865.

FINDINGS: Between Sept 15, 2015, and Oct 3, 2016, 276 patients were enrolled: 30 who were ALK positive and treatment naive (EXP1); 59 who were ALK positive and received previous crizotinib without (n=27; EXP2) or with (n=32; EXP3A) previous chemotherapy; 28 who were ALK positive and received one previous non-crizotinib ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitor, with or without chemotherapy (EXP3B); 112 who were ALK positive with two (n=66; EXP4) or three (n=46; EXP5) previous ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors with or without chemotherapy; and 47 who were ROS1 positive with any previous treatment (EXP6). One patient in EXP4 died before receiving lorlatinib and was excluded from the safety analysis set. In treatment-naive patients (EXP1), an objective response was achieved in 27 (90·0%; 95% CI 73·5-97·9) of 30 patients. Three patients in EXP1 had measurable baseline CNS lesions per independent central review, and objective intracranial responses were observed in two (66·7%; 95% CI 9·4-99·2). In ALK-positive patients with at least one previous ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EXP2-5), objective responses were achieved in 93 (47·0%; 39·9-54·2) of 198 patients and objective intracranial response in those with measurable baseline CNS lesions in 51 (63·0%; 51·5-73·4) of 81 patients. Objective response was achieved in 41 (69·5%; 95% CI 56·1-80·8) of 59 patients who had only received previous crizotinib (EXP2-3A), nine (32·1%; 15·9-52·4) of 28 patients with one previous non-crizotinib ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EXP3B), and 43 (38·7%; 29·6-48·5) of 111 patients with two or more previous ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EXP4-5). Objective intracranial response was achieved in 20 (87·0%; 95% CI 66·4-97·2) of 23 patients with measurable baseline CNS lesions in EXP2-3A, five (55·6%; 21·2-86·3) of nine patients in EXP3B, and 26 (53·1%; 38·3-67·5) of 49 patients in EXP4-5. The most common treatment-related adverse events across all patients were hypercholesterolaemia (224 [81%] of 275 patients overall and 43 [16%] grade 3-4) and hypertriglyceridaemia (166 [60%] overall and 43 [16%] grade 3-4). Serious treatment-related adverse events occurred in 19 (7%) of 275 patients and seven patients (3%) permanently discontinued treatment because of treatment-related adverse events. No treatment-related deaths were reported.

INTERPRETATION: Consistent with its broad ALK mutational coverage and CNS penetration, lorlatinib showed substantial overall and intracranial activity both in treatment-naive patients with ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer, and in those who had progressed on crizotinib, second-generation ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors, or after up to three previous ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Thus, lorlatinib could represent an effective treatment option for patients with ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer in first-line or subsequent therapy.

  • loratinib could be used for crizotanib resistant tumors based on EML4-ALK variants present in ctDNA

1. Updated efficacy and safety data from the global phase III ALEX study of alectinib (ALC) vs crizotinib (CZ) in untreated advanced ALK+ NSCLCJ Clin Oncol 36, 2018 (suppl; abstr 9043).


Corey Langer


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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 28, 2020 Session on COVID-19 and Cancer 9:00 AM

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD


COVID-19 and Cancer


Antoni Ribas
UCLA Medical Center

  • Almost 60,000 viewed the AACR 2020 Virtual meeting for the April 27 session
  • The following speakers were the first cancer researchers treating patients at the epicenters of the pandemic even though nothing was known about the virus


The experience of treating patients with cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic in China
Li Zhang, Tongji Hospital, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology

  • reporting a retrospective study from three hospitals from Wuhan
  • 2.2% of Wuhan cancer patients were COVID positive; most were lung cancers and most male; 35% were stage four
  • most have hospital transmission of secondary infection; had severe events when admitted
  • 74% were prescribed antivirals like ganciclovir and others; iv IgG was given to some
  • mortailtiy rate of 26%; by April 4 54% were cured and discharged; median time of infection to severe event was 7 days; clinical presentation SARS sepsis, and shock
  • by day 10 in lung cancer patients, see lung path but after supportive therapy improved
  • cancer patients at stage four who did not receive therapy were at higher risk
  • cancer patients who had received chemo in last 14 days had higher risk of infection
  • they followed up with cancer patients on I/O inhibitors;  it seemed there was only one patient that contracted COVID19 so there may not be as much risk with immune checkpoint inhibitors


TERAVOLT (Thoracic cancERs international coVid 19 cOLlaboraTion): First results of a global collaboration to address the impact of COVID-19 in patients with thoracic malignancies

Marina Chiara Garassino

Fondazione IRCCS Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori

Dr Marina Chiara Garassino is the Chief of the Thoracic Oncology Unit at Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori, Milan, Italy. She leads the strategy for clinical and translational research in advanced and locally advanced NSCLC, SCLC, mesothelioma and thymic malignancies. Istituto Nazionale dei Tumori in Milan is the most important comprehensive cancer in Italy and one of the most important in Europe. As a medical oncologist, she has done research in precision medicine and in immuno-oncology. Her main research interests have been mainly development of new drugs and therapeutical strategies and biomarkers. She has contributed to over 150 peer-reviewed publications, including publications as first or last author in the New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet Oncology, Journal of Clinical Oncology, Annals of Oncology. She has delivered many presentations at international congresses,  including  AACR, ASCO, ECCO, ESMO, WCLC. Her education includes a degree and further specialization in Medical Oncology at Università degli Studi in Milan. She achieved a Master Degree in Oncology management at University of Economics “Luigi Bocconi”. She completed her training with an ESMO Clinical fellowship in 2009 at Christie’s Hospital in Manchester (UK). She was a member of the EMA SAG (Scientific Advisory Group). She is serving as ESMO Council member as the Chair of the National Societies Committee. She was the ESMO National Representative for Italy for 5 years (2011-2017). She is serving on several ESMO Committees (Public Policy extended Committee, Press Committee, Women for Oncology Committee, Lung Cancer faculty, Membership Committee).She used to be an active member of the Young Oncologist Committee. She’s serving on both ESMO, WCLC and ASCO annual congress Lung Cancer Track (2019, and 2020), Chair of ESMO National Societies, from 2019. She is the founder and president of Women for Oncology Italy.

  • 2 million confirmed cases but half of patients are asymptomatic and not tested; pooled prevalance of COVID in cancer patients in Italy was 2%; must take them as high risk patients
  • they were not prepared for pandemic lasting for months instead of days; March 15 in middle of outbreak they started TERAVOLT registry; by March 26 had IRB approval; they are accruing 17 new patients per week; Ontario also joined in and has become worldwide (21 countries involved);  in registry they also included radiologic exams and COVID testing result
  • most patients were males and many smokers; 75% had SCLC; 83% of cases had one comorbility like hypertension and one third had at least one comorbility; 73.9% of patients were on treatment (they see this in their clinic: 30% on chemo or TKI alone; other patients were just on folowup
  • most of symptoms overlap with symptoms of lung cancer like pneumonia and pneumonitits and multi organ failure; most were hospitalized
  • unexpected high mortality among lung cancer patients with COVID19; this mortality seems due to COVID and not to cancer;
  • study had some limitations like short followup and some surgical cases so some bias may be present
  • she stresses don’t go it alone and make your own registry JOIN A REGISTRY


Outcome of cancer patients infected with COVID-19, including toxicity of cancer treatments
Fabrice Barlesi @barlesi
Gustave Roussy Cancer Campus

Professor Fabrice Barlesi
 As a specialist in lung cancer, precision medicine and cancer immunology, Prof. Fabrice Barlesi is a major contributor to research in the field of novel oncological therapies. He was apppointed General Director of Gustave Roussy in January 2020.
Fabrice Barlesi is Professor of Medicine at the University of Aix-Marseille. He has been head of the Multidisciplinary Oncology and Innovative Therapies Department of the Nord Hospital in Marseille (Marseille Public Hospitals) and the Marseille Centre for Early Trials in Oncology (CLIP2) which were established by him. He holds a doctorate in Sciences and Management with methods of analysis of health care systems, together with an ESSEC (international business school) master’s degree in general hospital management.
Professor Barlesi was also a co-founder of the Marseille Immunopôle French Immunology network, which aims to coordinate immunological expertise in the Aix-Marseille metropolitan area. In this context, he has organised PIONeeR (Investment in the future RHU 2017), the major international Hospital-University research project whose objective is to improve understanding of resistance to immunotherapy – anti-PD1(L1) – in lung cancer and help to prevent and overcome it. He was also vice-chair of the PACA (Provence, Alps and Côte d’Azur) Region Cancer Research Directorate.
Professor Barlesi is the author and co-author of some 300 articles in international journals and specialist publications. In 2018, the European Society of Medical Oncology (ESMO) and the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) awarded him the prestigious Heine H. Hansen prize. He appears in the 2019 world list of most influential researchers (Highly cited researchers, Web of Science Group).
  • March 14 started protective measures and at peak had increased commited beds at highest rate
  • 12% of cancer patients tested positive for COVID; (by RTPCR); they curated data across different chemo regimens used
  • they retrospectively collected data; primary endpoint was clinical worsening; median of disease 13 days;
  • they actually had more breast cancer patients and other solid malignancies; 23% of covid cases no symptoms; 83% finally did have the symptoms after followup; diarhea actually in 10% of cases so clinics are seeing this as a symptom
  • CT scan showed 66% cases had pneumonitits like display; 25% patients were managed as outpatient
  • 24% patients worsened during treatment but 75% were able to go home (treated at home or well)
  • I/O did not have negative outcome and you can use these drugs without increasing risk to COVID
  • although many clinical trials have been hindered they are actively recruiting for COVID-cancer studies
  • outcomes with respect to death and symptoms are comparable to worldwide stats

Adapting oncologic practice to COVID19 outbreak: From outpatient triage to risk assessment for specific treatment in Madrid, Spain
Carlos Gomez-Martin
Octubre University Hospital

  • MOST slides were DO NOT POST so as requested data will not be shown; this study will be published soon
  • Summary is that Spain is seeing statistics like other European countries and similar results
  • Tocilizumab, the IL6 antagonists had been suggested as a treatment for cytokine storm and they are involved in a trial with this agent; results will be published

Experience in using oncology drugs in patients with COVID-19

Paolo A. Ascierto
Istituto Nazionale Tumori IRCCS Fondazione Pascale

  • giving surgery only for patients at highest risk of cancer mortality so using neoadjuvant therapy more often
  • telemedicine is a viable strategy for patient consult
  • for metastatic melanoma they are given highest priority for treatment
  • they are conducting a tocilizumab clinical trial and have accrued over 300 patients
  • results are in press so please look for publication soon
  • also can use TNF inhibitor, JAK inhibitor, IL1 inhibitor to treat cytokine storm

COVID-19 and cancer: Flattening the curve but widening disparities
Louis P. Voigt
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

  • Sloan has performed about 5000 COVID tests;  78 patients needed hospitilization; 15 died; 40% still in ICU
  • they do see many African American patients
  • mortality rates in US (published) have been around 50-60 % for cancer patients with COVID; Sloan prelim results are lower but still accruing data

Patients with cancer appear more vulnerable to SARS-COV-2: A multi-center study during the COVID-19 outbreak
Hongbing Cai
Zhongnan Hospital of Wuhan University

  • metastatic cancer showed much higher risk than non cancer but non metastatic showed increased risk too
  • main criteria of outcome was ICU admission
  • patients need to be isolated and personalized treatment plans need to be made
  • many comparisons were between non cancer and cancer which was clearest significance; had not looked at cancer types or stage grade or treatment
  • it appears that there are more questions right now than answers so data collection is a priority

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For other Articles on the Online Open Access Journal on COVID19 and Cancer please see


Opinion Articles from the Lancet: COVID-19 and Cancer Care in China and Africa

Actemra, immunosuppressive which was designed to treat rheumatoid arthritis but also approved in 2017 to treat cytokine storms in cancer patients SAVED the sickest of all COVID-19 patients

The Second in a Series of Virtual Town Halls with Leading Oncologist on Cancer Patient Care during COVID-19 Pandemic: What you need to know

Responses to the COVID-19 outbreak from Oncologists, Cancer Societies and the NCI: Important information for cancer patients


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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 27, 2020 Minisymposium on AACR Project Genie & Bioinformatics 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

SESSION VMS.MD01.01 – Advancing Cancer Research through an International Cancer Registry: AACR Project GENIE Use Cases
Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD

April 27, 2020, 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
Virtual Meeting: All Session Times Are U.S. EDT

Session Type
Virtual Minisymposium
Bioinformatics and Systems Biology
17 Presentations
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM
– Chairperson Gregory J. Riely. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

4:00 PM – 4:01 PM
– Introduction Gregory J. Riely. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

Precision medicine requires an end-to-end learning healthcare system, wherein the treatment decisions for patients are informed by the prior experiences of similar patients. Oncology is currently leading the way in precision medicine because the genomic and other molecular characteristics of patients and their tumors are routinely collected at scale. A major challenge to realizing the promise of precision medicine is that no single institution is able to sequence and treat sufficient numbers of patients to improve clinical-decision making independently. To overcome this challenge, the AACR launched Project GENIE (Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange).

AACR Project GENIE is a publicly accessible international cancer registry of real-world data assembled through data sharing between 19 of the leading cancer centers in the world. Through the efforts of strategic partners Sage Bionetworks (https://sagebionetworks.org) and cBioPortal (www.cbioportal.org), the registry aggregates, harmonizes, and links clinical-grade, next-generation cancer genomic sequencing data with clinical outcomes obtained during routine medical practice from cancer patients treated at these institutions. The consortium and its activities are driven by openness, transparency, and inclusion, ensuring that the project output remains accessible to the global cancer research community for the benefit of all patients.AACR Project GENIE fulfills an unmet need in oncology by providing the statistical power necessary to improve clinical decision-making, particularly in the case of rare cancers and rare variants in common cancers. Additionally, the registry can power novel clinical and translational research.

Because we collect data from nearly every patient sequenced at participating institutions and have committed to sharing only clinical-grade data, the GENIE registry contains enough high-quality data to power decision making on rare cancers or rare variants in common cancers. We see the GENIE data providing another knowledge turn in the virtuous cycle of research, accelerating the pace of drug discovery, improving the clinical trial design, and ultimately benefiting cancer patients globally.


The first set of cancer genomic data aggregated through AACR Project Genomics Evidence Neoplasia Information Exchange (GENIE) was available to the global community in January 2017.  The seventh data set, GENIE 7.0-public, was released in January 2020 adding more than 9,000 records to the database. The combined data set now includes nearly 80,000 de-identified genomic records collected from patients who were treated at each of the consortium’s participating institutions, making it among the largest fully public cancer genomic data sets released to date.  These data will be released to the public every six months. The public release of the eighth data set, GENIE 8.0-public, will take place in July 2020.

The combined data set now includes data for over 80 major cancer types, including data from greater than 12,500 patients with lung cancer, nearly 11,000 patients with breast cancer, and nearly 8,000 patients with colorectal cancer.

For more details about the data, analyses, and summaries of the data attributes from this release, GENIE 7.0-public, consult the data guide.

Users can access the data directly via cbioportal, or download the data directly from Sage Bionetworks. Users will need to create an account for either site and agree to the terms of access.

For frequently asked questions, visit our FAQ page.

  • In fall of 2019 AACR announced the Bio Collaborative which collected pan cancer data in conjuction and collaboration and support by a host of big pharma and biotech companies
  • they have a goal to expand to more than 6 cancer types and more than 50,000 records including smoking habits, lifestyle data etc
  • They have started with NSCLC have have done mutational analysis on these
  • included is tumor mutational burden and using cbioportal able to explore genomic data even further
  • treatment data is included as well
  • need to collect highly CURATED data with PRISM backbone to get more than outcome data, like progression data
  • they might look to incorporate digital pathology but they are not there yet; will need good artificial intelligence systems


4:01 PM – 4:15 PM
– Invited Speaker Gregory J. Riely. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

4:15 PM – 4:20 PM
– Discussion

4:20 PM – 4:30 PM
1092 – A systematic analysis of BRAF mutations and their sensitivity to different BRAF inhibitors: Zohar Barbash, Dikla Haham, Liat Hafzadi, Ron Zipor, Shaul Barth, Arie Aizenman, Lior Zimmerman, Gabi Tarcic. Novellusdx, Jerusalem, Israel

Abstract: The MAPK-ERK signaling cascade is among the most frequently mutated pathways in human cancer, with the BRAF V600 mutation being the most common alteration. FDA-approved BRAF inhibitors as well as combination therapies of BRAF and MEK inhibitors are available and provide survival benefits to patients with a BRAF V600 mutation in several indications. Yet non-V600 BRAF mutations are found in many cancers and are even more prevalent than V600 mutations in certain tumor types. As the use of NGS profiling in precision oncology is becoming more common, novel alterations in BRAF are being uncovered. This has led to the classification of BRAF mutations, which is dependent on its biochemical properties and affects it sensitivity to inhibitors. Therefore, annotation of these novel variants is crucial for assigning correct treatment. Using a high throughput method for functional annotation of MAPK activity, we profiled 151 different BRAF mutations identified in the AACR Project GENIE dataset, and their response to 4 different BRAF inhibitors- vemurafenib and 3 different exploratory 2nd generation inhibitors. The system is based on rapid synthesis of the mutations and expression of the mutated protein together with fluorescently labeled reporters in a cell-based assay. Our results show that from the 151 different BRAF mutations, ~25% were found to activate the MAPK pathway. All of the class 1 and 2 mutations tested were found to be active, providing positive validation for the method. Additionally, many novel activating mutations were identified, some outside of the known domains. When testing the response of the active mutations to different classes of BRAF inhibitors, we show that while vemurafenib efficiently inhibited V600 mutations, other types of mutations and specifically BRAF fusions were not inhibited by this drug. Alternatively, the second-generation experimental inhibitors were effective against both V600 as well as non-V600 mutations. Using this large-scale approach to characterize BRAF mutations, we were able to functionally annotate the largest number of BRAF mutations to date. Our results show that the number of activating variants is large and that they possess differential sensitivity to different types of direct inhibitors. This data can serve as a basis for rational drug design as well as more accurate treatment options for patients.

  • Molecular profiling is becoming imperative for successful  targeted therapies
  • 500 unique mutations in BRAF so need to use bioinformatic pipeline; start with NGS panels then cluster according to different subtypes or class specific patterns
  • certain mutation like V600E mutations have distinct clustering in tumor types
  • 25% of mutations occur with other mutations; mutations may not be functional; they used highthruput system to analyze other V600 braf mutations to determine if functional
  • active yet uncharacterized BRAF mutations seen in a major proportion of human tumors
  • using genomic drug data found that many inhibitors like verafanib are specific to a specific mutation but other inhibitors that are not specific to a cleft can inhibit other BRAF mutants
  • 40% of 135 mutants were functionally active
  • USE of Functional Profiling instead of just genomic profiling
  • Q?: They have already used this platform and analysis for RTKs and other genes as well successfully
  • Q? how do you deal with co reccuring mutations: platform is able to do RTK plus signaling protiens

4:30 PM – 4:35 PM
– Discussion

4:35 PM – 4:45 PM
1093 – Calibration Tool for Genomic Aggregates (CTGA): A deep learning framework for calibrating somatic mutation profiling data from conventional gene panel data. Jordan Anaya, Craig Cummings, Jocelyn Lee, Alexander Baras. Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, MD, Genentech, Inc., CA, AACR, Philadelphia, PA

Abstract: It has been suggested that aggregate genomic measures such as mutational burden can be associated with response to immunotherapy. Arguably, the gold standard for deriving such aggregate genomic measures (AGMs) would be from exome level sequencing. While many clinical trials run exome level sequencing, the vast majority of routine genomic testing performed today, as seen in AACR Project GENIE, is targeted / gene-panel based sequencing.
Despite the smaller size of these gene panels focused on clinically targetable alterations, it has been shown they can estimate, to some degree, exomic mutational burden; usually by normalizing mutation count by the relevant size of the panels. These smaller gene panels exhibit significant variability both in terms of accuracy relative to exomic measures and in comparison to other gene panels. While many genes are common to the panels in AACR Project GENIE, hundreds are not. These differences in extent of coverage and genomic loci examined can result in biases that may negatively impact panel to panel comparability.
To address these issues we developed a deep learning framework to model exomic AGMs, such as mutational burden, from gene panel data as seen in AACR Project GENIE. This framework can leverage any available sample and variant level information, in which variants are featurized to effectively re-weight their importance when estimating a given AGM, such as mutational burden, through the use of multiple instance learning techniques in this form of weakly supervised data.
Using TCGA data in conjunction with AACR Project GENIE gene panel definitions, as a proof of concept, we first applied this framework to learn expected variant features such as codons and genomic position from mutational data (greater than 99.9% accuracy observed). Having established the validity of the approach, we then applied this framework to somatic mutation profiling data in which we show that data from gene panels can be calibrated to exomic TMB and thereby improve panel to panel compatibility. We observed approximately 25% improvements in mean squared error and R-squared metrics when using our framework over conventional approaches to estimate TMB from gene panel data across the 9 tumors types examined (spanning melanoma, lung cancer, colon cancer, and others). This work highlights the application of sophisticated machine learning approaches towards the development of needed calibration techniques across seemingly disparate gene panel assays used clinically today.


4:45 PM – 4:50 PM
– Discussion

4:50 PM – 5:00 PM
1094 – Genetic determinants of EGFR-driven lung cancer growth and therapeutic response in vivoGiorgia Foggetti, Chuan Li, Hongchen Cai, Wen-Yang Lin, Deborah Ayeni, Katherine Hastings, Laura Andrejka, Dylan Maghini, Robert Homer, Dmitri A. Petrov, Monte M. Winslow, Katerina Politi. Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, Stanford University School of Medicine, Stanford, CA, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT

5:00 PM – 5:05 PM
– Discussion

5:05 PM – 5:15 PM
1095 – Comprehensive pan-cancer analyses of RAS genomic diversityRobert Scharpf, Gregory Riely, Mark Awad, Michele Lenoue-Newton, Biagio Ricciuti, Julia Rudolph, Leon Raskin, Andrew Park, Jocelyn Lee, Christine Lovly, Valsamo Anagnostou. Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, Nashville, TN, Amgen, Inc., Thousand Oaks, CA, AACR, Philadelphia, PA

5:15 PM – 5:20 PM
– Discussion

5:20 PM – 5:30 PM
1096 – Harmonization standards from the Variant Interpretation for Cancer Consortium. Alex H. Wagner, Reece K. Hart, Larry Babb, Robert R. Freimuth, Adam Coffman, Yonghao Liang, Beth Pitel, Angshumoy Roy, Matthew Brush, Jennifer Lee, Anna Lu, Thomas Coard, Shruti Rao, Deborah Ritter, Brian Walsh, Susan Mockus, Peter Horak, Ian King, Dmitriy Sonkin, Subha Madhavan, Gordana Raca, Debyani Chakravarty, Malachi Griffith, Obi L. Griffith. Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO, Reece Hart Consulting, CA, Broad Institute, Boston, MA, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO, Washington University School of Medicine, Saint Louis, MO, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, OR, National Cancer Institute, Bethesda, MD, Georgetown University, Washington, DC, The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine, Farmington, CT, National Center for Tumor Diseases, Heidelberg, Germany, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY

Abstract: The use of clinical gene sequencing is now commonplace, and genome analysts and molecular pathologists are often tasked with the labor-intensive process of interpreting the clinical significance of large numbers of tumor variants. Numerous independent knowledge bases have been constructed to alleviate this manual burden, however these knowledgebases are non-interoperable. As a result, the analyst is left with a difficult tradeoff: for each knowledgebase used the analyst must understand the nuances particular to that resource and integrate its evidence accordingly when generating the clinical report, but for each knowledgebase omitted there is increased potential for missed findings of clinical significance.The Variant Interpretation for Cancer Consortium (VICC; cancervariants.org) was formed as a driver project of the Global Alliance for Genomics and Health (GA4GH; ga4gh.org) to address this concern. VICC members include representatives from several major somatic interpretation knowledgebases including CIViC, OncoKB, Jax-CKB, the Weill Cornell PMKB, the IRB-Barcelona Cancer Biomarkers Database, and others. Previously, the VICC built and reported on a harmonized meta-knowledgebase of 19,551 biomarker associations of harmonized variants, diseases, drugs, and evidence across the constituent resources.In that study, we analyzed the frequency with which the tumor samples from the AACR Project GENIE cohort would match to harmonized associations. Variant matches increased dramatically from 57% to 86% when broader matching to regions describing categorical variants were allowed. Unlike precise sequence variants with specified alternate alleles, categorical variants describe a collection of potential variants with a common feature, such as “V600” (non-valine alleles at the 600 residue), “Exon 20 mutations” (all non-silent mutations in exon 20), or “Gain-of-function” (hypermorphic alterations that activate or amplify gene activity). However, matching observed sequence variants to categorical variants is challenging, as the latter are typically only described as unstructured text. Here we describe the expressive and computational GA4GH Variation Representation specification (vr-spec.readthedocs.io), which we co-developed as members of the GA4GH Genomic Knowledge Standards work stream. This specification provides a schema for common, precise forms of variation (e.g. SNVs and Indels) and the method for computing identifiers from these objects. We highlight key aspects of the specification and our work to apply it to the characterization of categorical variation, showcasing the variant terminology and classification tools developed by the VICC to support this effort. These standards and tools are free, open-source, and extensible, overcoming barriers to standardized variant knowledge sharing and search.


  • store information from different databases by curating them and classifying them then harmonizing them into values
  • harmonize each variant across their knowledgebase; at any level of evidence
  • had 29% of patients variants that matched when compare across many knowledgebase databases versus only 13% when using individual databases
  • they are also trying to curate the database so a variant will have one code instead of various refseq codes or protein codes
  • VIC is an open consortium



5:30 PM – 5:35 PM
– Discussion

5:35 PM – 5:45 PM
1097 – FGFR2 in-frame indels: A novel targetable alteration in intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma. Yvonne Y. Li, James M. Cleary, Srivatsan Raghavan, Liam F. Spurr, Qibiao Wu, Lei Shi, Lauren K. Brais, Maureen Loftus, Lipika Goyal, Anuj K. Patel, Atul B. Shinagare, Thomas E. Clancy, Geoffrey Shapiro, Ethan Cerami, William R. Sellers, William C. Hahn, Matthew Meyerson, Nabeel Bardeesy, Andrew D. Cherniack, Brian M. Wolpin. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston, MA, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

5:45 PM – 5:50 PM
– Discussion

5:50 PM – 6:00 PM
– Closing RemarksGregory J. Riely. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY


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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 27, 2020 Symposium New Drugs on the Horizon Part 1 4:50- 6:00 pm

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD.

SESSION VSY.DDT01 – New Drugs on the Horizon: Part 1

April 27, 2020, 4:50 PM – 6:05 PM
Virtual Meeting: All Session Times Are U.S. EDT

Session Type
Virtual Symposium
Experimental and Molecular Therapeutics,Drug Development
10 Presentations
4:50 PM – 6:00 PM
– CochairAndrew J. Phillips. C4 Therapeutics, Watertown, MA

4:50 PM – 6:00 PM
– CochairMichael Brands. Bayer Pharma AG, Berlin, Germany

4:50 PM – 4:54 PM
– IntroductionAndrew J. Phillips. C4 Therapeutics, Watertown, MA

4:54 PM – 5:14 PM
DDT01-01 – A first-in-class Menin-MLL1 antagonist for the treatment of MLL-r and NPM1 mutant leukemias Jerry McGeehan. Syndax Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Waltham, MA

  • Their inhibitor binds to C terminus of Menin MLL1 which is required for AML progression
  • MLL-4 is from a translocation causing a fusion protein; the inhibitor block leukemic transcription program
  • anti transcription program when Menin inhibitor is used; displaces Menin from chromatin

menin mllr




  • worked in tumor models
  • their inhibitors have good antiproliferative activity seems has good bio-availability in rat and dog
  • they have active QT signal (cardiac tox) screen program in their clinical studies
  • initial pre phase1 have not found the max effective dose
  • not a complete response so may have to look at combination


5:14 PM – 5:17 PM
– Discussion

5:17 PM – 5:37 PM
DDT01-02 – BAY 2416964: The first Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR) inhibitor to enter phase I clinical development as a novel cancer immunotherapy. Ilona Gutcher, Christina Kober, Julian Röwe, Ulrike Roehn, Lars Roese, Florian Prinz, Detlef Stoeckigt, Benjamin Bader, Matyas Gorjanacz, Rafael Carretero, Norbert Schmees, Horst Irlbacher, Helge Roider, Katharina Sahm, Hilmar Weinmann, Ingo V. Hartung, Bertolt Kreft, Rienk Offringa, Michael Platten. Bayer AG, Berlin, Germany, Bayer AG, Germany, DKFZ, Heidelberg, Germany

  • has a more proinflammatory effect in vivo than other I/O inhibitors
  • rescues TNF alpha immunomodulation
  • further increases IL2 and IFN gamma when combined with I/O inhibitor so by a different mechanism
  • looking to use in NSCLC
  • prelim tox looks fine

5:37 PM – 5:40 PM
– Discussion

5:40 PM – 6:00 PM
DDT01-03 – IPN60090: A potent and selective inhibitor of glutaminase being developed for KEAP1/NFE2L2 mutant NSCLC and ASNS-low HGSOC patients. Jeffrey J. Kovacs. UT MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

  • Being developed for NSCLC and high grade serous ovarian cancer
  • glutaminolysis repsonsible for many of the building blocks of cell function
  • these compounds had selective antiproliferative but was focus on GLS1
  • good PK and bioavailability; mouse half life is short but dog is longer so estimated human is 8 hours
  • increased pentose phosphate pathway; reliance on GLS1 activity promotes metabolic reprogramming
  • the inhibitor significantly reduced glutathione in responder cell lines; responders had higher level of ROS
  • use ribose pathway and pentose shunt to help deal with REDOX
  • get a antitumor response in KEAP mut PDX models and these PDX respond poorly to I/O checkpoint inhibitors
  •  ASN2 was higher in nonresponders (alt. formation of Gln) as well as GPT2
  • ASN2 high expressing nonresponding OVCA lines; need low ASN2 in OVCA for response
  • so given metabolic plasticity used shRNA screens after inhibitor
  • PI3K turned up so can use mTORC inhibitor in combo; works well with GLS1 inhibitor to inhibit tumorigenesis
  • they are looking at other combos including std. chemo and I/O checkpoints
  • currently doing dose escalation clinical study

6:00 PM – 6:04 PM
– Discussion

6:04 PM – 6:05 PM
– Closing Remarks Michael Brands. Bayer Pharma AG, Berlin, Germany

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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 27, 2020 Minisymposium on Drugging Undrugged Cancer Targets 1:30 pm – 5:00 pm

SESSION VMS.ET01.01 – Drugging Undrugged Cancer Targets

April 27, 2020, 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
Virtual Meeting: All Session Times Are U.S. EDT

Session Type
Virtual Minisymposium
Experimental and Molecular Therapeutics,Drug Development
18 Presentations
1:30 PM – 1:30 PM
– ChairpersonPeter C. Lucas. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA

1:30 PM – 1:30 PM
– ChairpersonJohn S. Lazo. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

1:30 PM – 1:35 PM
– IntroductionPeter C. Lucas. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA

1:35 PM – 1:45 PM
3398 – PTPN22 is a systemic target for augmenting antitumor immunityWon Jin Ho, Jianping Lin, Ludmila Danilova, Zaw Phyo, Soren Charmsaz, Aditya Mohan, Todd Armstrong, Ben H. Park, Elana J. Fertig, Zhong-Yin Zhang, Elizabeth M. Jaffee. Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comp. Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD, Purdue University, Baltimore, MD, Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comp. Cancer Center, Baltimore, MD, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Baltimore, MD

Abstract: Remarkable progress in cancer immunology has revolutionized cancer therapy. The majority of patients, however, do not respond to immunotherapeutic options, warranting the ongoing search for better strategies. Leveraging the established role of protein tyrosine phosphatase non-receptor type 22 (PTPN22) in autoimmune diseases, we hypothesized that PTPN22 is a novel target for cancer immunotherapy. PTPN22 is a physiologic regulator of T cell receptor (TCR) signaling acting by dephosphorylating activating tyrosine residues in Lck and Zap70. We first confirmed the relevance of PTPN22 expression by exploring its expression in multiple human cancer types using The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA). PTPN22 expression positively correlated with T cell and M1 macrophage gene signatures and immune regulatory genes, especially inflamed tumor types. Next, we directly investigated the role of PTPN22 in antitumor immunity by comparing in vivo tumor characteristics in wild-type (WT) and PTPN22 knockout (KO) mice. Consistent with our hypothesis, PTPN22 KO mice resisted MC38 and EG7 tumors significantly compared with WT. Mass cytometry (CyTOF) profiling of the immune tumor microenvironment demonstrated that MC38 tumors in PTPN22 KO mice were infiltrated with greater numbers of T cells, particularly CD8+ T cells expressing granzyme B and PD1. To further delineate the effects of PTPN22 KO on TCR signaling, we established an optimized CyTOF panel of 9 phosphorylation sites involved in the TCR signaling pathway, including two enzymatic substrates of PTPN22 (Lck Y394 and Zap70 Y493) and 15 immune subtyping markers. CyTOF phospho-profiling of CD8 T cells from tumor-bearing mouse spleens and the peripheral blood of immunotherapy-naïve cancer patients showed that the phosphorylated state of Zap70 Y493 correlated strongly with granzyme B expression. Furthermore, phospho-profiling of tumor-infiltrating CD8+ T cells (a measure of T cell activation) revealed the highest TCR-pathway phosphorylation levels in memory CD8+ T cells that express PD1. The difference in phosphorylation levels between WT and PTPN22 KO was most pronounced for Lck Y394. Based on these findings, we then hypothesized that PD1 inhibition will further enhance the antitumor immune responses promoted by the lack of PTPN22. Indeed, PTPN22 KO mice bearing MC38 and EG7 tumors responded more significantly to anti-PD1 therapy when compared with tumor-bearing WT mice. Finally, we treated WT tumor bearing mice with two different small molecule inhibitors of PTPN22, one previously published compound, LTV1, and one novel compound, L1 (discovered through structure based synthesis). While both inhibitors phenocopied the PTPN22 KO mice in resisting MC38 tumor growth, L1 treatment gave an immune profile that resembled what was observed in tumor-bearing PTPN22 KO mice. Taken together, our results demonstrate that PTPN22 is a novel systemic target for augmenting antitumor immunity.

  • can they leverage autoimmune data to look at new targets for checkpoint inhibition; we have a long way to go in immunooncology as only less than 30-40% of cancer types respond
  • using Cancer Genome Atlas PTPN22 is associated with autoimmune disorders
  • PTPN22 KO increases many immune cells; macrophages t-cells and when KO in tumors get more t cell infiltrate
  • PTP KO enhances t cell response, and may be driving t cells to exhaustion
  • made a inhibitor or PTPN22; antitumor phenotype when given inhibitor was like KO mice; a PDL1 inhibitor worked in KO mice
  • PTPN22 only in select hematopoetic cells

1:45 PM – 1:50 PM
– Discussion

1:50 PM – 2:00 PM
3399 – Preclinical evaluation of eFT226, a potent and selective eIF4A inhibitor with anti-tumor activity in FGFR1,2 and HER2 driven cancers. Peggy A. Thompson, Nathan P. Young, Adina Gerson-Gurwitz, Boreth Eam, Vikas Goel, Craig R. Stumpf, Joan Chen, Gregory S. Parker, Sarah Fish, Maria Barrera, Eric Sung, Jocelyn Staunton, Gary G. Chiang, Kevin R. Webster. eFFECTOR Therapeutics, San Diego, CA @RuggeroDavide

Abstract: Mutations or amplifications affecting receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) activate the RAS/MAPK and PI3K/AKT signaling pathways thereby promoting cancer cell proliferation and survival. Oncoprotein expression is tightly controlled at the level of mRNA translation and is regulated by the eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4F (eIF4F) complex consisting of eIF4A, eIF4E, and eIF4G. eIF4A functions to catalyze the unwinding of secondary structure in the 5’-untranslated region (5’-UTR) of mRNA facilitating ribosome scanning and translation initiation. The activation of oncogenic signaling pathways, including RAS and PI3K, facilitate formation of eIF4F and enhance eIF4A activity promoting the translation of oncogenes with highly structured 5’-UTRs that are required for tumor cell proliferation, survival and metastasis. eFT226 is a selective eIF4A inhibitor that converts eIF4A into a sequence specific translational repressor by increasing the affinity between eIF4A and 5’-UTR polypurine motifs leading to selective downregulation of mRNA translation. The polypurine element is highly enriched in the 5’-UTR of eFT226 target genes, many of which are known oncogenic drivers, including FGFR1,2 and HER2, enabling eFT226 to selectively inhibit dysregulated oncogene expression. Formation of a ternary complex [eIF4A-eFT226-mRNA] blocks ribosome scanning along the 5’-UTR leading to dose dependent inhibition of RTK protein expression. The 5’-UTR sequence dependency of eFT226 translational inhibition was evaluated in cell-based reporter assays demonstrating 10-45-fold greater sensitivity for reporter constructs containing an RTK 5’-UTR compared to a control. In solid tumor cell lines driven by alterations in FGFR1, FGFR2 or HER2, downregulation of RTK expression by eFT226 resulted in decreased MAPK and AKT signaling, potent inhibition of cell proliferation and an induction of apoptosis suggesting that eFT226 could be effective in treating tumor types dependent on these oncogenic drivers. Solid tumor xenograft models harboring FGFR1,2 or HER2 amplifications treated with eFT226 resulted in significant in vivo tumor growth inhibition and regression at well tolerated doses in breast, non-small cell lung and colorectal cancer models. Treatment with eFT226 also decreased RTK protein levels supporting the potential to use these eFT226 target genes as pharmacodynamic markers of target engagement. Further evaluation of predictive markers of sensitivity or resistance showed that RTK tumor models with mTOR mediated activation of eIF4A are most sensitive to eFT226. The association of eFT226 activity in RTK tumor models with mTOR pathway activation provides a means to further enrich for sensitive patient subsets during clinical development. Clinical trials with eFT226 in patients with solid tumor malignancies have initiated.
  • ternary complex formed blocks transcription selectively downregulating RTKs
  • drug binds in 5′ UTR and inhibits translation
  • RTKs activate eIF4 and are also transcribed through them so inhibition destroys this loop;  also with KRAS too
  • main antitumor activity are by an apoptotic mechanisms; refractory tumors are not sensitive to drug induced apoptosis
  • drug inhibits FGFR2 in colorectal cancer
  • drug also effective in HER2+ tumors
  • mTOR mediated eIF4 inhibited by drug
  • they get prolonged antitumor activity after washout of drug because forms this tight terniary complex

2:00 PM – 2:05 PM
– Discussion

2:05 PM – 2:15 PM
3400 – Adenosine receptor antagonists exhibit potent and selective off-target killing of FOXA1-high cancers: Steven M. Corsello, Ryan D. Spangler, Ranad Humeidi, Caitlin N. Harrington, Rohith T. Nagari, Ritu Singh, Vickie Wang, Mustafa Kocak, Jordan Rossen, Amael Madec, Nancy Dumont, Todd R. Golub. Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, MA, Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard, Cambridge, MA @corsellos

Abstract: Drugs targeting adenosine receptors were originally developed for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and are now being tested in immuno-oncology clinical trials in combination with checkpoint inhibitors. We recently reported the killing activity of 4,518 drugs against 578 diverse cancer cell lines determined using the PRISM molecular barcoding approach. Surprisingly, three established adenosine receptor antagonists (CGS-15943, MRS-1220, and SCH-58261) showed potent and selective killing of FOXA1-high cancer cell lines without the need for immune cells. FOXA1 is a lineage-restricted transcription factor in luminal breast cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, and prostate cancer without known small molecule inhibitors. We find that cytotoxic activity is limited to adenosine antagonists with a three-member aromatic core bound to a furan group, thus indicating a potential off-target mechanism of action. To identify genomic modulators of drug response, we performed genome-wide CRISPR/Cas9 knockout modifier screens. Killing by CGS-15943 and MRS-1220 was rescued by knockout of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AHR) and its nuclear partner ARNT. In confirmatory studies, knockout of AHR completely rescued killing by CGS-15943 in multiple cell types. Co-treatment with an AHR small molecule antagonist also rescued cell viability. Knockout of adenosine receptors did not alter drug response. Given that AHR is a known transcriptional regulator, we performed global mRNA sequencing to assess transcriptional changes induced by CGS-15943. The top two genes induced were the p450 enzymes CYP1A1 and CYP1B1. To determine sufficiency, we overexpressed CYP1A1 in a resistant cell line. Ectopic CYP1A1 expression sensitized to CGS-15943-mediated killing. Mass spectrometry revealed covalent trapping of a reactive metabolite by glutathione and potassium cyanide following in vitro incubation with liver microsomes. In addition, treatment of breast cancer cells with CGS-15943 for 24 hours resulted in increased γ-H2AX phosphorylation by western blot, indicative of DNA double stranded breaks. In summary, we identified off-target anti-cancer activity of multiple established adenosine receptor antagonists mediated by activation of AHR. Future studies will evaluate the functional contribution of FOXA1 and activity in vivo. Starting from a phenotypic screening hit, we leverage functional genomics to unlock the underlying mechanism of action. This project will pave the way for developing more effective therapies for biomarker-selected cancers, with potential to improve the care of patients with liver, breast, and prostate cancer.

  • developed a chemical library of over 6000 compounds (QC’d) to determine drugs that have antitumor effects
  • used a PRISM barcoded library to make cell lines to screen genotype-phenotype screens
  • for nononcology drugs fourteen drugs had activity in the PRISM assay
  • FOXA1 transcription factor high cancer cells seemed to be inhibited best with adenosine receptor inhibitor found in PRISM assay

2:15 PM – 2:20 PM
– Discussion

2:20 PM – 2:30 PM
3401 – Targeting lysosomal homeostasis in ovarian cancer through drug repurposing: Stefano Marastoni, Aleksandra Pesic, Sree Narayanan Nair, Zhu Juan Li, Ali Madani, Benjamin Haibe-Kains, Bradly G. Wouters, Anthony Joshua. University Health Network, Toronto, ON, Canada, Janssen Inc, Toronto, ON, Canada, The Kinghorn Cancer Centre, Sydney, Australia

Background: Drug repurposing has become increasingly attractive as it avoids the long processes and costs associated with drug discovery. Itraconazole (Itra) is a broad-spectrum anti-fungal agent which has an established broad spectrum of activity in human cell lines including cholesterol antagonism and inhibition of Hedgehog and mTOR pathways. Many in vitro, in vivo and clinical studies have suggested anti-proliferative activity both alone and in combination with other chemotherapeutic agents, in particular in ovarian cancer. This study is aimed at supporting the therapeutic potential of Itra and discovering and repurposing new drugs that can increase Itra anticancer activity as well as identifying new targets in the treatment of ovarian cancer.
Methods: We tested a panel of 32 ovarian cancer cell lines with different doses of Itra and identified a subset of cells which showed significant sensitivity to the drug. To identify genetic vulnerabilities and find new therapeutic targets to combine with Itra, we performed a whole genome sensitivity CRISPR screen in 2 cell lines (TOV1946 and OVCAR5) treated with non-toxic (IC10) concentrations of Itra.
Results: Pathway analysis on the top hits from both the screens showed a significant involvement of lysosomal compartments, and in particular dynamics between trans Golgi network and late endosomes/lysosomes, pathways that are affected by the autophagy inhibitor Chloroquine (CQ). We subsequently demonstrated that the combination of Itra and CQ had a synergistic effect in many ovarian cancer cell lines, even in those resistant to Itra. Further, genetic and pharmacological manipulation of autophagy indicated that upstream inhibition of autophagy is not a key mediator of the Itra/CQ mechanism of action. However, combination of Itra with other lysosomotropic agents (Concanamycin A, Bafilomycin A and Tamoxifen) displayed overlapping activity with Itra/CQ, supporting the lysosomal involvement in sensitizing cells to Itra resulted from the CRISPR screens. Analysis of lysosomal pattern and function showed a combined effect of Itra and CQ in targeting lysosomes and neutralizing their activity.
Conclusion: We identified two FDA approved drugs – CQ and Tamoxifen – that can be used in combination with Itra and exert a potent anti-tumor effect in ovarian cancer by affecting lyosomal function and suggesting a likely dependency of these cells on lysosomal biology. Further studies are in progress.

  • repurposing itraconozole in ovarian cancer potential mechanism of action is pleitropic
  • increasing doses of chloroquine caused OVCA cell death by accumulating in Golgi

2:30 PM – 2:35 PM
– Discussion

2:35 PM – 2:45 PM
3402 – BCAT1 as a druggable target in immuno-oncologyAdonia E. Papathanassiu, Francesca Lodi, Hagar Elkafrawy, Michelangelo Certo, Hong Vu, Jeong Hun Ko, Jacques Behmoaras, Claudio Mauro, Diether Lambrechts. Ergon Pharmaceuticals, Washington, DC, VIB Cancer Centre-KULeuven, Leuven, Belgium, Alexandria University, Alexandria, Egypt, University of Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom, Ergon Pharmaceuticals, Washington, DC, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom

2:45 PM – 2:50 PM
– Discussion

2:50 PM – 3:00 PM
3403 – Drugging the undruggable: Lessons learned from protein phosphatase 2A: Derek Taylor, Goutham Narla. Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI @gouthamnarla

Abstract: Protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) is a key tumor suppressor responsible for the dephosphorylation of many oncogenic signaling pathways. The PP2A holoenzyme is comprised of a scaffolding subunit (A), which serves as the structural platform for the catalytic subunit (C) and for an array of regulatory subunits (B) to assemble. Impairment of PP2A is essential for the pathogenesis of many diseases including cancer. In cancer, PP2A is inactivated through a variety of mechanisms including somatic mutation of the Aαsubunit. Our studies show that the most recurrent Aαmutation, P179R, results in an altered protein conformation which prevents the catalytic subunit from binding. Additionally, correcting this mutation, by expressing wild type PP2A Aαin cell lines harboring the P179R mutation, causes a reduction in tumor growth and metastasis. Given its central role in human disease pathogenesis, many strategies have been developed to therapeutically target PP2A.Our lab developed a series of small molecules activators of protein phosphatase 2A. One of our more advanced analogs in this series, DT-061, drives dephosphorylation and degradation of select pathogenic substrates of PP2A such as c-MYC in cellular and in vivo systems. Additionally, we have demonstrated the phosphomimetics of MYC that prevent PP2A mediated dephosphorylation and degradation markedly reduce the anti-tumorigenic activity of this series of PP2A activators further validating the target-substrate specificity of this approach. Specific mutations in the site of drug interaction or overexpression of the DNA tumor virus small T antigen which has been shown to specifically bind to and inactivate PP2A abrogate the in vivo activity of this small molecule series further validating the PP2A specificity of this approach. Importantly, treatment with DT-061 results in tumor growth inhibition in an array of in vivocancer models and marked regressions in combination with MEKi and PARPi.To further define the mechanism of action of this small molecule series, we have used cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) to visualize directly theinteraction between DT-061 and a PP2A heterotrimeric complex. We have identified molecular interactions between DT-061 and all three PP2A subunits that prevent dissociation of the active enzyme through the marked prolongation of the kOFF of the native complex. Furthermore, we demonstrate that DT-061 specifically stabilizes the B56α-PP2A holoenzyme in a fully assembled, active state to dephosphorylate oncogenic targets such as c-MYC in both cellular and in vivo systems. This 3.6 Å structure identifies dynamic molecular interactions between the three distinct PP2A subunits and highlight the inherent mechanisms of PP2A complex assembly and disassembly in both cell free and cellular systems. Thus, our findings provide fundamental insights into PP2A complex assembly and regulation, identify a unique interfacial stabilizing mode of action for the therapeutic targeting of previously undruggable proteins, and aid in the development of phosphatase-based therapeutics tailored against disease specific phosphor-protein targets. The marriage of multidisciplinary scientific practices has allowed us to present here a previously unrecognized therapeutic strategy of complex stabilization for the activation of endogenous disease combating enzymes.

  • Reactivating PP2A; dephosphorylation of proteins (serine/threonine phosphatases); regulates multiple processes in the cell
  • SV40T has an antigen that inactivates PP2A; recurrent mutations in high grade endometrial cancers
  • P179R mutation promotes uterine tumor formation (also in a distal tubule ligation model)
  • project started in a phenotypic screen that tricyclic antidepressants could have an off target which was phosphatase activators (uncoupling GPCR from anticancer activity)
  • small T antigen block the activity of these small molecule activators;
  • acts as a molecular glue to bring the activators with a heterotrimer of phosphatases
  • so their small molecule activators effective in triple negative breast cancers;  one of targets of PP2A is MYC
  • question: have not yet seen resistance to these compounds but are currently looking at this


3:00 PM – 3:05 PM
– Discussion

3:05 PM – 3:15 PM
3404 – Inhibition of BCL10-MALT1 interaction to treat diffuse large B-cell lymphomaH: eejae Kang, Dong Hu, Marcelo Murai, Ahmed Mady, Bill Chen, Zaneta Nikolovska-Coleska, Linda M. McAllister-Lucas, Peter C. Lucas. University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, Merck, Kenilworth, NJ, University of Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, University of Michigan School of Medicine, Ann Arbor, MI, UPMC Children’s Hospital, Pittsburgh, PA

Abstract: The CARMA1/BCL10/MALT1 (CBM) signaling complex mediates antigen receptor-induced activation of NF-kB in lymphocytes to support normal adaptive immunity. As the effector protein of the complex, MALT1 exhibits two activities: protease and scaffolding activities. Gain-of-function mutations in the CARMA1 moiety or its upstream regulators trigger antigen-independent assembly of oligomeric CBM complexes, leading to constitutive activation of MALT1, unregulated NF-kB activity, and development of Activated B-Cell subtype of Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (ABC-DLBCL). Existing MALT1 inhibitors block only MALT1 protease activity, causing incomplete and unbalanced inhibition of MALT1, and have the potential for inducing autoimmune side effects. Since MALT1 is recruited to the CBM complex via its interaction with BCL10, we sought to identify inhibitors of BCL10-MALT1 interaction in order to target both the protease and scaffolding activities of MALT1 to treat ABC-DLBCL.
Our previous work suggested that an antibody-epitope-like interface governs the interaction between BCL10 and MALT1, so that a therapeutic opportunity exists for developing a small molecule inhibitor of the interaction to terminate inappropriate CBM activity. Using co-immunoprecipitation studies, a mammalian two-hybrid system, and surface plasmon resonance (SPR), we confirmed that BCL10 residues 107-119 and the tandem Ig-like domains of MALT1 are critical for this interaction. We then performed a structure-guided in silico screen of 3 million compounds, based on a computational model of the BCL10-MALT1 interaction interface, to identify compounds with potential for disrupting the interaction.
Compound 1 from the initial screening hits showed dose-responsive inhibition of BCL10-MALT1 interaction in both SPR and ELISA-based assays. Functionally, Compound 1 inhibits both MALT1 protease and scaffolding activities in Jurkat T cells, as demonstrated by its inhibition of CD3/CD28-induced RelB and N4BP1 cleavage, and inhibition of IKK phosphorylation, respectively. Compound 1 also blocks IL-2 transcription and IL-2 secretion by PMA/ionomycin-treated Jurkat T cells, as well as constitutive CBM-dependent secretion of IL-6 and IL-10 by ABC-DLBCL cells. Accordingly, Compound 1 selectively suppresses the growth of ABC-DLBCL cell lines, but does not affect the growth of MALT1-independent GCB-DLBCL cell lines.
In conclusion, we have identified an early-stage small molecule compound that inhibits the BCL10-MALT1 interaction, MALT1 protease and scaffolding activities, downstream CBM-dependent signaling, and ABC-DLBCL cell growth. Structure-guided modification of this lead compound is underway to further develop a new class of protein-protein interaction inhibitors that could provide more efficacious blockade of MALT1, while offering protection from undesirable autoimmune side effects in the treatment of this aggressive form of lymphoma.

3:15 PM – 3:20 PM
– Discussion

3:20 PM – 3:30 PM
– Closing RemarksJohn S. Lazo. University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

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Live Notes, Real Time Conference Coverage 2020 AACR Virtual Meeting April 27, 2020 Minisymposium on Signaling in Cancer 11:45am-1:30 pm

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD.

SESSION VMS.MCB01.01 – Emerging Signaling Vulnerabilities in Cancer
April 27, 2020, 11:45 AM – 1:30 PM
Virtual Meeting: All Session Times Are U.S. EDT

All session times are U.S. Eastern Daylight Time (EDT). Access to AACR Virtual Annual Meeting I sessions are free with registration. Register now at http://www.aacr.org/virtualam2020

Session Type

Virtual Minisymposium


Molecular and Cellular Biology/Genetics

16 Presentations
11:45 AM – 1:30 PM
– Chairperson

J. Silvio Gutkind. UCSD Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA

11:45 AM – 1:30 PM
– Chairperson

  • in 80’s and 90’s signaling focused on defects and also oncogene addiction.  Now the field is switching to finding vulnerabilities in signaling cascades in cancer

Adrienne D. Cox. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

11:45 AM – 11:55 AM
– Introduction

J. Silvio Gutkind. UCSD Moores Cancer Center, La Jolla, CA

11:55 AM – 12:05 PM
1085 – Interrogating the RAS interactome identifies EFR3A as a novel enhancer of RAS oncogenesis

Hema Adhikari, Walaa Kattan, John F. Hancock, Christopher M. Counter. Duke University, Durham, NC, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX

Abstract: Activating mutations in one of the three RAS genes (HRAS, NRAS, and KRAS) are detected in as much as a third of all human cancers. As oncogenic RAS mediates it tumorigenic signaling through protein-protein interactions primarily at the plasma membrane, we sought to document the protein networks engaged by each RAS isoform to identify new vulnerabilities for future therapeutic development. To this end, we determined interactomes of oncogenic HRAS, NRAS, and KRAS by BirA-mediated proximity labeling. This analysis identified roughly ** proteins shared among multiple interactomes, as well as a smaller subset unique to a single RAS oncoprotein. To identify those interactome components promoting RAS oncogenesis, we created and screened sgRNA library targeting the interactomes for genes modifying oncogenic HRAS-, NRAS-, or KRAS-mediated transformation. This analysis identified the protein EFR3A as not only a common component of all three RAS interactomes, but when inactivated, uniformly reduced the growth of cells transformed by any of the three RAS isoforms. EFR3A recruits a complex containing the druggable phosphatidylinositol (Ptdlns) 4 kinase alpha (PI4KA) to the plasma membrane to generate the Ptdlns species PI4P. We show that EFR3A sgRNA reduced multiple RAS effector signaling pathways, suggesting that EFR3A acts at the level of the oncoprotein itself. As lipids play a critical role in the membrane localization of RAS, we tested and found that EFR3A sgRNA reduced not only the occupancy of RAS at the plasma membrane, but also the nanoclustering necessary for signaling. Furthermore, the loss of oncogenic RAS signaling induced by EFR3A sgRNA was rescued by targeting PI4K to the plasma membrane. Taken together, these data support a model whereby EFR3A recruits PI4K to oncogenic RAS to promote plasma membrane localization and nonclustering, and in turn, signaling and transformation. To investigate the therapeutic potential of this new RAS enhancer, we show that EFR3A sgRNA reduced oncogenic KRAS signaling and transformed growth in a panel of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) cell lines. Encouraged by these results we are exploring whether genetically inactivating the kinase activity of PI4KA inhibits oncogenic signaling and transformation in PDAC cell lines. If true, pharmacologically targeting PI4K may hold promise as a way to enhance the anti-neoplastic activity of drugs targeting oncogenic RAS or its effectors.




  • different isoforms of ras mutations exist differentially in various tumor types e.g. nras vs kras
  • the C terminal end serve as hotspots of mutations and probably isoform specific functions
  • they determined the interactomes of nras and kras and determined how many candidates are ras specific
  • they overlayed results from proteomic and CRSPR screen; EFR3a was a potential target that stuck out
  • using TCGA patients with higher EFR3a had poorer prognosis
  • EFR3a promotes Ras signaling; and required for RAS driven tumor growth (in RAS addicted tumors?)
  • EGFR3a promotes clustering of oncogenic RAS at plasma membrane


12:05 PM – 12:10 PM
– Discussion

12:10 PM – 12:20 PM
1086 – Downstream kinase signaling is dictated by specific KRAS mutations; Konstantin Budagyan, Jonathan Chernoff. Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA @FoxChaseCancer

Abstract: Oncogenic KRAS mutations are common in colorectal cancer (CRC), found in ~50% of tumors, and are associated with poor prognosis and resistance to therapy. There is substantial diversity of KRAS alleles observed in CRC. Importantly, emerging clinical and experimental analysis of relatively common KRAS mutations at amino acids G12, G13, A146, and Q61 suggest that each mutation differently influences the clinical properties of a disease and response to therapy. For example, KRAS G12 mutations confer resistance to EGFR-targeted therapy, while G13D mutations do not. Although there is clinical evidence to suggest biological differences between mutant KRAS alleles, it is not yet known what drives these differences and whether they can be exploited for allele-specific therapy. We hypothesized that different KRAS mutants elicit variable alterations in downstream signaling pathways. To investigate this hypothesis, we created a novel system by which we can model KRAS mutants in isogenic mouse colon epithelial cell lines. To generate the cell lines, we developed an assay using fluorescent co-selection for CRISPR-driven genome editing. This assay involves simultaneous introduction of single-guide RNAs (sgRNAs) to two different endogenous loci resulting in double-editing events. We first introduced Cas9 and blue fluorescent protein (BFP) into mouse colon epithelial cell line containing heterozygous KRAS G12D mutation. We then used sgRNAs targeting BFP and the mutant G12D KRAS allele along with homology-directed repair (HDR) templates for a GFP gene and a KRAS mutant allele of our choice. Cells that successfully undergo HDR are GFP-positive and contain the desired KRAS mutation. Therefore, selection for GFP-positive cells allows us to identify those with phenotypically silent KRAS edits. Ultimately, this method allows us to toggle between different mutant alleles while preserving the wild-type allele, all in an isogenic background. Using this method, we have generated cell lines with endogenous heterozygous KRAS mutations commonly seen in CRC (G12D, G12V, G12C, G12R, G13D). In order to elucidate cellular signaling pathway differences between the KRAS mutants, we screened the mutated cell lines using a small-molecule library of ~160 protein kinase inhibitors. We found that there are mutation-specific differences in drug sensitivity profiles. These observations suggest that KRAS mutants drive specific cellular signaling pathways, and that further exploration of these pathways may prove to be valuable for identification of novel therapeutic opportunities in CRC.

  • Flourescent coselection of KRAS edits by CRSPR screen in a colorectal cancer line; a cell that is competent to undergo HR can undergo combination multiple KRAS
  • target only mutant allele while leaving wild type intact;
  • it was KRAS editing event in APC  +/- mouse cell line
  • this enabled a screen for kinase inhibitors that decreased tumor growth in isogenic cell lines; PKC alpha and beta 1 inhibitors, also CDK4 inhibitors inhibited cell growth
  • questions about heterogeneity in KRAS clones; they looked at off target guides and looked at effects in screens; then they used top two clones that did not have off target;  questions about 3D culture- they have not done that; Question ? dependency on AKT activity? perhaps the G12E has different downstream effectors


12:20 PM – 12:25 PM
– Discussion

12:25 PM – 12:35 PM
1087 – NF1 regulates the RAS-related GTPases, RRAS and RRAS2, independent of RAS activity; Jillian M. Silva, Lizzeth Canche, Frank McCormick. University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA @UCSFMedicine

Abstract: Neurofibromin, which is encoded by the neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) gene, is a tumor suppressor that acts as a RAS-GTPase activating protein (RAS-GAP) to stimulate the intrinsic GTPase activity of RAS as well as the closely related RAS subfamily members, RRAS, RRAS2, and MRAS. This results in the conversion of the active GTP-bound form of RAS into the inactive GDP-bound state leading to the downregulation of several RAS downstream effector pathways, most notably MAPK signaling. While the region of NF1 that regulates RAS activity represents only a small fraction of the entire protein, a large extent of the NF1 structural domains and their corresponding mechanistic functions remain uncharacterized despite the fact there is a high frequency of NF1 mutations in several different types of cancer. Thus, we wanted to elucidate the underlying biochemical and signaling functions of NF1 that are unrelated to the regulation of RAS and how loss of these functions contributes to the pathogenesis of cancer. To accomplish this objective, we used CRISPR-Cas9 methods to knockout NF1 in an isogenic “RASless” MEF model system, which is devoid of the major oncogenic RAS isoforms (HRAS, KRAS, and NRAS) and reconstituted with the KRAS4b wild-type or mutant KRASG12C or KRASG12D isoform. Loss of NF1 led to elevated RAS-GTP levels, however, this increase was not as profound as the levels in KRAS-mutated cells or provided a proliferative advantage. Although ablation of NF1 resulted in sustained activation of MAPK signaling, it also unexpectedly, resulted in a robust increase in AKT phosphorylation compared to KRAS-mutated cells. Surprisingly, loss of NF1 in KRAS4b wild-type and KRAS-mutated cells potently suppressed the RAS-related GTPases, RRAS and RRAS2, with modest effects on MRAS, at both the transcript and protein levels. A Clariom™D transcriptome microarray analysis revealed a significant downregulation in the NF-κB target genes, insulin-like growth factor binding protein 2 (IGFBP2), argininosuccinate synthetase 1 (ASS1), and DUSP1, in both the NF1 knockout KRAS4b wild-type and KRAS-mutated cells. Moreover, NF1Null melanoma cells also displayed a potent suppression of RRAS and RRAS2 as well as these NF-κB transcription factors. Since RRAS and RRAS2 both contain the same NF-κB transcription factor binding sites, we hypothesize that IGFBP2, ASS1, and/or DUSP1 may contribute to the NF1-mediated regulation of these RAS-related GTPases. More importantly, this study provides the first evidence of at least one novel RAS-independent function of NF1 to regulate the RAS-related subfamily members, RRAS and RRAS2, in a manner exclusive of its RAS-GTPase activity and this may provide insight into new potential biomarkers and molecular targets for treating patients with mutations in NF1.
  • NF1 and SPRED work together to signal from RTK cKIT through RAS
  • NF1 knockout cells had higher KRAS and had increased cell proliferation
  • NF1 -/-  or SPRED loss had increased ERK phosphorylation and some increase in AKT activity compared to parental cells
  • they used isogenic cell lines devoid of all RAS isoforms and then reconstituted with specific RAS WT or mutants
  • NF1 and SPRED KO both reduce RRAS expression; in an AKT independent mannner
  • NF1 SPRED KO cells have almost no IGFBP2 protein expression and SNAIL so maybe affecting EMT?
  • this effect is independent of its RAS GTPAse activity (noncanonical)

12:35 PM – 12:40 PM
– Discussion

12:40 PM – 12:50 PM
1088 – Elucidating the regulation of delayed-early gene targets of sustained MAPK signaling; Kali J. Dale, Martin McMahon. University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT

Abstract: RAS and its downstream effector, BRAF, are commonly mutated proto-oncogenes in many types of human cancer. Mutationally activated RAS or BRAF signal through the MEK→ERK MAP kinase (MAPK) pathway to regulate key cancer cell hallmarks such as cell division cycle progression, reduced programmed cell death, and enhanced cell motility. Amongst the list of RAS/RAF-regulated genes are those encoding integrins, alpha-beta heterodimeric transmembrane proteins that regulate cell adhesion to the extracellular matrix. Altered integrin expression has been linked to the acquisition of more aggressive behavior by melanoma, lung, and breast cancer cells leading to diminished survival of cancer patients. We have previously documented the ability of the RAS-activated MAPK pathway to induce the expression of ITGB3 encoding integrin β3 in several different cell types. RAS/RAF-mediated induction of ITGB3 mRNA requires sustained, high-level activation of RAF→MEK→ERK signaling mediated by oncogene activation and is classified as “delayed-early”, in that it is sensitive to the protein synthesis inhibitor cycloheximide. However, to date, the regulatory mechanisms that allow for induced ITGB3 downstream of sustained, high-level activation of MAPK signaling remains obscure. We have identified over 300 DEGs, including those expressing additional cell surface proteins, that display similar regulatory characteristics as ITGB3. We use integrin β3 as a model to test our hypothesis that there is a different mechanism of regulation for delayed-early genes (DEG) compared to the canonical regulation of Immediate-Early genes. There are three regions in the chromatin upstream of the ITGB3 that become more accessible during RAF activation. We are relating the chromatin changes seen during RAF activation to active enhancer histone marks. To elucidate the essential genes of this regulation process, we are employing the use of a genome-wide CRISPR knockout screen. The work presented from this abstract will help elucidate the regulatory properties of oncogenic progression in BRAF mutated cancers that could lead to the identification of biomarkers.

12:50 PM – 12:55 PM
– Discussion

12:55 PM – 1:05 PM
1090 – Regulation of PTEN translation by PI3K signaling maintains pathway homeostasis

Radha Mukherjee, Kiran Gireesan Vanaja, Jacob A. Boyer, Juan Qiu, Xiaoping Chen, Elisa De Stanchina, Sarat Chandarlapaty, Andre Levchenko, Neal Rosen. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, Yale University, West Haven, CT, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY @sloan_kettering

Abstract: The PI3K pathway is a key regulator of metabolism, cell proliferation and migration and some of its components (e.g. PIK3CA and PTEN) are frequently altered in cancer by genetic events that deregulate its output. However, PI3K signaling is not usually the primary driver of these tumors and inhibitors of components of the pathway have only modest antitumor effects. We now show that both physiologic and oncogenic activation of the PI3K signaling by growth factors and an activating hotspot PIK3CA mutation respectively, cause an increase in the expression of the lipid phosphatase PTEN, thus limiting the duration of the signal and the output of the pathway in tumors. Pharmacologic and physiologic inhibition of the pathway by HER2/PI3K/AKT/mTOR inhibitors and nutrient starvation respectively reduce PTEN, thus buffering the effects of inhibition and contributing to the rebound in pathway activity that occurs in tumors. This regulation is found to be a feature of multiple types of cancer, non-cancer cell line and PDX models thereby highlighting its role as a key conserved feedback loop within the PI3K signaling network, both in vitro and in vivo. Regulation of expression is due to mTOR/4EBP1 dependent control of PTEN translation and is lost when 4EBP1 is knocked out. Translational regulation of PTEN is therefore a major homeostatic regulator of physiologic PI3K signaling and plays a role in reducing the output of oncogenic mutants that deregulate the pathway and the antitumor activity of PI3K pathway inhibitors.

  • mTOR can be a potent regulator of PTEN and therefore a major issue when developing PI3K inhibitors

1:05 PM – 1:10 PM
– Discussion

1:10 PM – 1:20 PM
1091 – BI-3406 and BI 1701963: Potent and selective SOS1::KRAS inhibitors induce regressions in combination with MEK inhibitors or irinotecan

Daniel Gerlach, Michael Gmachl, Juergen Ramharter, Jessica Teh, Szu-Chin Fu, Francesca Trapani, Dirk Kessler, Klaus Rumpel, Dana-Adriana Botesteanu, Peter Ettmayer, Heribert Arnhof, Thomas Gerstberger, Christiane Kofink, Tobias Wunberg, Christopher P. Vellano, Timothy P. Heffernan, Joseph R. Marszalek, Mark Pearson, Darryl B. McConnell, Norbert Kraut, Marco H. Hofmann. Boehringer Ingelheim RCV GmbH & Co KG, Vienna, Austria, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, Boehringer Ingelheim RCV GmbH & Co KG, Vienna, Austria

  • there is rational for developing an SOS1 inhibitor (GEF); BI3406 shows better PK and PD as a candidate
  • most sensitive cell lines to inhibitor carry KRAS mutation; NRAS or BRAF mutations are not sensititve
  • KRAS mutation defines sensitivity so they created KRAS mut isogenic cell lines
  • found best to co inhibit SOS and MEK as observed plasticity with only SOS
  • dual combination in lung NSCLC pancreatic showed enhanced efficacy compared to monotherapy
  • SOS1 inhibition plus irinotecan enhances DNA double strand breaks; no increased DNA damage in normal stroma but preferentially in tumor cells
  • these SOS1 had broad activity against KRAS mutant models;
  • phase 1 started in 2019;


1:20 PM – 1:25 PM
– Discussion

1:25 PM – 1:30 PM
– Closing Remarks

Adrienne D. Cox. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC

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