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The drug efflux pump MDR1 promotes intrinsic and acquired resistance to PROTACs in cancer cells

Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, PhD.
Below is one of the first reports  on the potential mechanisms of intrinsic and acquired resistance to PROTAC therapy in cancer cells.
Proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTACs) are a promising new class of drugs that selectively degrade cellular proteins of interest. PROTACs that target oncogene products are avidly being explored for cancer therapies, and several are currently in clinical trials. Drug resistance is a substantial challenge in clinical oncology, and resistance to PROTACs has been reported in several cancer cell models. Here, using proteomic analysis, we found intrinsic and acquired resistance mechanisms to PROTACs in cancer cell lines mediated by greater abundance or production of the drug efflux pump MDR1. PROTAC-resistant cells were resensitized to PROTACs by genetic ablation of ABCB1 (which encodes MDR1) or by coadministration of MDR1 inhibitors. In MDR1-overexpressing colorectal cancer cells, degraders targeting either the kinases MEK1/2 or the oncogenic mutant GTPase KRASG12C synergized with the dual epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR/ErbB)/MDR1 inhibitor lapatinib. Moreover, compared with single-agent therapies, combining MEK1/2 degraders with lapatinib improved growth inhibition of MDR1-overexpressing KRAS-mutant colorectal cancer xenografts in mice. Together, our findings suggest that concurrent blockade of MDR1 will likely be required with PROTACs to achieve durable protein degradation and therapeutic response in cancer.

INTRODUCTION

Proteolysis-targeting chimeras (PROTACs) have emerged as a revolutionary new class of drugs that use cancer cells’ own protein destruction machinery to selectively degrade essential tumor drivers (1). PROTACs are small molecules with two functional ends, wherein one end binds to the protein of interest, whereas the other binds to an E3 ubiquitin ligase (23), bringing the ubiquitin ligase to the target protein, leading to its ubiquitination and subsequent degradation by the proteasome. PROTACs have enabled the development of drugs against previously “undruggable” targets and require neither catalytic activity nor high-affinity target binding to achieve target degradation (4). In addition, low doses of PROTACs can be highly effective at inducing degradation, which can reduce off-target toxicity associated with high dosing of traditional inhibitors (3). PROTACs have been developed for a variety of cancer targets, including oncogenic kinases (5), epigenetic proteins (6), and, recently, KRASG12C proteins (7). PROTACs targeting the androgen receptor or estrogen receptor are avidly being evaluated in clinical trials for prostate cancer (NCT03888612) or breast cancer (NCT04072952), respectively.
However, PROTACs may not escape the overwhelming challenge of drug resistance that befalls so many cancer therapies (8). Resistance to PROTACs in cultured cells has been shown to involve genomic alterations in their E3 ligase targets, such as decreased expression of Cereblon (CRBN), Von Hippel Lindau (VHL), or Cullin2 (CUL2) (911). Up-regulation of the drug efflux pump encoded by ABCB1—MDR1 (multidrug resistance 1), a member of the superfamily of adenosine 5′-triphosphate (ATP)–binding cassette (ABC) transporters—has been shown to convey drug resistance to many anticancer drugs, including chemotherapy agents, kinase inhibitors, and other targeted agents (12). Recently, PROTACs were shown to be substrates for MDR1 (1013), suggesting that drug efflux represents a potential limitation for degrader therapies. Here, using degraders (PROTACs) against bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) bromodomain (BBD) proteins and cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9) as a proof of concept, we applied proteomics to define acquired resistance mechanisms to PROTAC therapies in cancer cells after chronic exposure. Our study reveals a role for the drug efflux pump MDR1 in both acquired and intrinsic resistance to protein degraders in cancer cells and supports combination therapies involving PROTACs and MDR1 inhibitors to achieve durable protein degradation and therapeutic responses.

Fig. 1. Proteomic characterization of degrader-resistant cancer cell lines.
(A) Workflow for identifying protein targets up-regulated in degrader-resistant cancer cells. Single-run proteome analysis was performed, and changes in protein levels among parent and resistant cells were determined by LFQ. m/z, mass/charge ratio. (B and C) Cell viability assessed by CellTiter-Glo in parental and dBET6- or Thal SNS 032–resistant A1847 cells treated with increasing doses of dBET6 (B) or Thal SNS 032 (C) for 5 days. Data were analyzed as % of DMSO control, presented as means ± SD of three independent assays. Growth inhibitory 50% (GI50) values were determined using Prism software. (D to G) Immunoblotting for degrader targets and downstream signaling in parental A1847 cells and their derivative dBET6-R or Thal-R cells treated with increasing doses of dBET6 or Thal SNS 032 for 4 hours. The dBET6-R and Thal-R cells were continuously cultured in 500 nM PROTAC. Blots are representative, and densitometric analyses are means ± SD from three blots, each normalized to the loading control, GAPDH. DC50 values, quantitating either (E) the dose of dBET6 that reduces BRD2, BRD3, or BRD4 or (G) the dose of Thal SNS 032 that reduces CDK9 protein levels 50% of the DMSO control treatment, were determined with Prism software. Pol II, polymerase II. (H to K) Volcano plot of proteins with increased or reduced abundance in dBET6-R (H) or Thal-R (I) A1847 cells relative to parental cells. Differences in protein log2 LFQ intensities among degrader-resistant and parental cells were determined by paired t test permutation-based adjusted P values at FDR of <0.05 using Perseus software. The top 10 up-regulated proteins in each are shown in (J) and (K), respectively. FC, fold change. (L and M) ABCB1 log2 LFQ values in dBET6-R cells from (H) and Thal-R cells from (I) compared with those in parental A1847 cells. Data are presented as means ± SD from three independent assays. By paired t test permutation-based adjusted P values at FDR of <0.05 using Perseus software, ***P ≤ 0.001. (N) Cell viability assessed by CellTiter-Glo in parental and MZ1-resistant SUM159 cells treated with increasing doses of MZ1 for 5 days. Data were analyzed as % of DMSO control, presented as means of three independent assays. GI50 values were determined using Prism software. (O and P) Immunoblotting for degrader targets and downstream signaling in parental or MZ1-R SUM159 cells treated with increasing doses of MZ1 for 24 hours. The MZ1-R cells were continuously cultured in 500 nM MZ1. Blots are representative, and densitometric analyses are means ± SD from three blots, each normalized to the loading control, GAPDH. DC50 values were determined in Prism software. (Q and R) Top 10 up-regulated proteins (Q) and ABCB1 log2 LFQ values (R) in MZ1-R cells relative to parental SUM159 cells

Fig. 2. Chronic exposure to degraders induces MDR1 expression and drug efflux activity.
(A) ABCB1 mRNA levels in parental and degrader-resistant cell lines as determined by qRT-PCR. Data are means ± SD of three independent experiments. ***P ≤ 0.001 by Student’s t test. (B) Immunoblot analysis of MDR1 protein levels in parental and degrader-resistant cell lines. Blots are representative of three independent experiments. (C to E) Immunofluorescence (“IF”) microscopy of MDR1 protein levels in A1847 dBET6-R (C), SUM159 MZ1-R (D), and Thal-R A1847 cells (E) relative to parental cells. Nuclear staining by DAPI. Images are representative of three independent experiments. Scale bars, 100 μm. (F) Drug efflux activity in A1847 dBET6-R, SUM159 MZ1-R, and Thal-R A1847 cells relative to parental cells (Par.) using rhodamine 123 efflux assays. Bars are means ± SD of three independent experiments. ***P ≤ 0.001 by Student’s t test. (G) Intracellular dBET6 levels in parental or dBET-R A1847 cells transfected with a CRBN sensor and treated with increasing concentrations of dBET6. Intracellular dBET6 levels measured using the CRBN NanoBRET target engagement assay. Data were analyzed as % of DMSO control, presented as means ± SD of three independent assays. *P ≤ 0.05, **P ≤ 0.01, and ***P ≤ 0.001 by Student’s t test. (H and I) FISH analysis of representative drug-sensitive parental and drug-resistant A1847 (H) and SUM159 (I) cells using ABCB1 and control XCE 7 centromere probes. Images of interphase nuclei were captured with a Metasystems Metafer microscope workstation, and the raw images were extracted and processed to depict ABCB1 signals in magenta, centromere 7 signals in cyan, and DAPI-stained nuclei in blue. (J and K) CpG methylation status of the ABCB1 downstream promoter (coordinates: chr7.87,600,166-87,601,336) by bisulfite amplicon sequencing in parent and degrader-resistant A1847 (J) and SUM159 (K) cells. Images depict the averaged percentage of methylation for each region of the promoter, where methylation status is depicted by color as follows: red, methylated; blue, unmethylated. Schematic of the ABCB1 gene with the location of individual CpG sites is shown. Graphs are representative of three independent experiments. (L and M) Immunoblot analysis of MDR1 protein levels after short-term exposure [for hours (h) or days (d) as indicated] to BET protein degraders dBET6 or MZ1 (100 nM) in A1847 (L) and SUM159 (M) cells, respectively. Blots are representative of three independent experiments. (N to P) Immunoblot analysis of MDR1 protein levels in A1847 and SUM159 cells after long-term exposure (7 to 30 days) to BET protein degraders dBET6 (N), Thal SNS 032 (O), or MZ1 (P), each at 500 nM. Blots are representative of three independent experiments. (Q and R) Immunoblot analysis of MDR1 protein levels in degrader-resistant A1847 (Q) and SUM159 (R) cells after PROTAC removal for 2 or 7 days. Blots are representative of three independent experiments.

 

Fig. 3. Blockade of MDR1 activity resensitizes degrader-resistant cells to PROTACs.
(A and B) Cell viability by CellTiter-Glo assay in parental and degrader-resistant A1847 (A) and SUM159 (B) cells transfected with control siRNA or siRNAs targeting ABCB1 and cultured for 120 hours. Data were analyzed as % of control, presented as means ± SD of three independent assays. ***P ≤ 0.001 by Student’s t test. (C and D) Immunoblot analysis of degrader targets after ABCB1 knockdown in parental and degrader-resistant A1847 (C) and SUM159 (D) cells. Blots are representative, and densitometric analyses using ImageJ are means ± SD of three blots, each normalized to the loading control, GAPDH. (E) Drug efflux activity, using the rhodamine 123 efflux assay, in degrader-resistant cells after MDR1 inhibition by tariquidar (0.1 μM). Data are means ± SD of three independent experiments. ***P ≤ 0.001 by Student’s t test. (F to H) Cell viability by CellTiter-Glo assay in parental and dBET6-R (F) or Thal-R (G) A1847 cells or MZ1-R SUM159 cells (H) treated with increasing concentrations of tariquidar. Data are % of DMSO control, presented as means ± SD of three independent assays. GI50 value determined with Prism software. (I to K) Immunoblot analysis of degrader targets after MDR1 inhibition (tariquidar, 0.1 μM for 24 hours) in parental and degrader-resistant A1847 cells (I and J) and SUM159 cells (K). Blots are representative, and densitometric analyses are means ± SD from three blots, each normalized to the loading control, GAPDH. (L and M) A 14-day colony formation assessed by crystal violet staining of (L) A1847 cells or (M) SUM159 cells treated with degrader (0.1 μM; dBET6 or MZ1, respectively) and MDR1 inhibitor tariquidar (0.1 μM). Images are representative of three biological replicates. (N) Immunoblotting for MDR1 in SUM159 cells stably expressing FLAG-MDR1 after selection with hygromycin. (O) Long-term 14-day colony formation assay of SUM159 cells expressing FLAG-MDR1 that were treated with DMSO, MZ1 (0.1 μM), or MZ1 and tariquidar (0.1 μM) for 14 days, assessed by crystal violet staining. Representative images of three biological replicates are shown. (P and Q) RT-PCR (P) and immunoblot (Q) analysis of ABCB1 mRNA and MDR1 protein levels, respectively, in parental or MZ1-R HCT116, OVCAR3, and MOLT4 cells.

 

Fig. 4. Overexpression of MDR1 conveys intrinsic resistance to degrader therapies in cancer cells.
(A) Frequency of ABCB1 mRNA overexpression in a panel of cancer cell lines, obtained from cBioPortal for Cancer Genomics using Z-score values of >1.2 for ABCB1 mRNA levels (30). (B) Immunoblot for MDR1 protein levels in a panel of 10 cancer cell lines. Blots are representative of three independent experiments. (C) Cell viability by CellTiter-Glo assay in cancer cell lines expressing high or low MDR1 protein levels and treated with Thal SNS 032 for 5 days. Data were analyzed as % of DMSO control, presented as means ± SD of three independent assays. GI50 values were determined with Prism software. (D to F) Immunoblot analysis of CDK9 in MDR1-low (D) or MDR1-high (E) cell lines after Thal SNS 032 treatment for 4 hours. Blots are representative, and densitometric analyses using ImageJ are means ± SD from three blots, each normalized to the loading control, GAPDH. DC50 value determined with Prism. (G and H) Immunoblotting of control and MDR1-knockdown DLD-1 cells treated for 4 hours with increasing concentrations of Thal SNS 032 [indicated in (H)]. Blots are representative, and densitometric analysis data are means ± SD from three blots, each normalized to the loading control, GAPDH. DC50 value determined with Prism. (I) Drug efflux activity using rhodamine 123 efflux assays in DLD-1 cells treated with DMSO or 0.1 μM tariquidar. Data are means ± SD of three independent experiments. ***P ≤ 0.001 by Student’s t test. (J) Intracellular Thal SNS 032 levels, using the CRBN NanoBRET target engagement assay, in MDR1-overexpressing DLD-1 cells treated with DMSO or 0.1 μM tariquidar and increasing doses of Thal SNS 032. Data are % of DMSO control, presented as means ± SD of three independent assays. **P ≤ 0.01 and ***P ≤ 0.001 by Student’s t test. (K to N) Immunoblotting in DLD-1 cells treated with increasing doses of Thal SNS 032 (K and L) or dBET6 (M and N) alone or with tariquidar (0.1 μM) for 4 hours. Blots are representative, and densitometric analyses are means ± SD from three blots, each normalized to the loading control, GAPDH. DC50 value of Thal SNS 032 for CDK9 reduction (L) or of dBET6 for BRD4 reduction (N) determined with Prism. (O to T) Bliss synergy scores based on cell viability by CellTiter-Glo assay, colony formation, and immunoblotting in DLD-1 cells treated with the indicated doses of Thal SNS 032 (O to Q) or dBET6 (R to T) alone or with tariquidar. Cells were treated for 14 days for colony formation assays and 24 hours for immunoblotting.

 

Fig. 5. Repurposing dual kinase/MDR1 inhibitors to overcome degrader resistance in cancer cells.
(A and B) Drug efflux activity by rhodamine 123 efflux assays in degrader-resistant [dBET-R (A) or Thal-R (B)] A1847 cells after treatment with tariquidar, RAD001, or lapatinib (each 2 μM). Data are means ± SD of three independent experiments. *P ≤ 0.05 by Student’s t test. (C and D) CellTiter-Glo assay for the cell viability of parental, dBET6-R, or Thal-R A1847 cells treated with increasing concentrations of RAD001 (C) or lapatinib (D). Data were analyzed as % of DMSO control, presented as means ± SD of three independent assays. GI50 values were determined with Prism software. (E to I) Immunoblot analysis of degrader targets in parental (E), dBET6-R (F and G), and Thal-R (H and I) A1847 cells treated with increasing concentrations of RAD001 or lapatinib for 4 hours. Blots are representative, and densitometric analyses are means ± SD from three blots, each normalized to the loading control, GAPDH. DC50 value of dBET6 for BRD4 reduction (G) or of Thal SNS 032 for CDK9 reduction (I) determined with Prism. (J) Immunoblotting for cleaved PARP in dBET6-R or Thal-R A1847 cells treated with RAD001, lapatinib, or tariquidar (each 2 μM) for 24 hours. Blots are representative of three independent blots. (K to N) Immunoblotting for BRD4 in DLD-1 cells treated with increasing doses of dBET6 alone or in combination with either RAD001 or lapatinib [each 2 μM (K and L)] or KU-0063794 or afatinib [each 2 μM (M and N)] for 4 hours. Blots are representative of three independent experiments and, in (L), are means ± SD from three blots, each normalized to the loading control, GAPDH. DC50 value for BRD4 reduction (L) determined in Prism. (O) Colony formation by DLD-1 cells treated with DMSO, dBET6 (0.1 μM), lapatinib (2 μM), afatinib (2 μM), RAD001 (2 μM), KU-0063794 (2 μM), or the combination of inhibitor and dBET6 for 14 days. Images representative of three independent assays. (P and Q) Immunoblotting for CDK9 in DLD-1 cells treated with increasing doses of Thal SNS 032 and/or RAD001 (2 μM) or lapatinib (2 μM) for 4 hours. Blots are representative, and densitometric analyses are means ± SD from three blots, each normalized to the loading control, GAPDH. DC50 value for CDK9 reduction determined with Prism (Q). (R) Colony formation in DLD-1 cells treated with DMSO, Thal SNS 032 (0.5 μM), lapatinib (2 μM), and/or RAD001 (2 μM) as indicated for 14 days.

 

Fig. 6. Combining MEK1/2 degraders with lapatinib synergistically kills MDR1-overexpressing KRAS-mutant CRC cells and tumors.
(A and B) ABCB1 expression in KRAS-mutant CRC cell lines from cBioPortal (30) (A) and MDR1 abundance in select KRAS-mutant CRC cell lines (B). (C) Cell viability assessed by CellTiter-Glo in CRC cells treated with increasing doses of MS432 for 5 days, analyzed as % of DMSO control. GI50 value determined with Prism software. (D) Colony formation by CRC cells 14 days after treatment with 1 μM MS432. (E) MEK1/2 protein levels assessed by immunoblot in CRC lines SKCO1 (low MDR1) or LS513 (high MDR1) treated with increasing doses of MS432 for 4 hours. (F) Rhodamine 123 efflux in LS513 cells treated with DMSO, 2 μM tariquidar, or 2 μM lapatinib. (G and H) Immunoblotting analysis in LS513 cells treated with increasing doses of MS432 alone or in combination with tariquidar (0.1 μM) or lapatinib (5 μM) for 24 hours. DC50 value for MEK1 levels determined with Prism. (I) Immunoblotting in LS513 cells treated with DMSO, PD0325901 (0.01 μM), lapatinib (5 μM), or the combination for 48 hours. (J and K) Immunoblotting in LS513 cells treated either with DMSO, MS432 (1 μM), tariquidar (0.1 μM) (J), or lapatinib (5 μM) (K), alone or in combination. (L) Bliss synergy scores determined from cell viability assays (CellTiter-Glo) in LS513 cells treated with increasing concentrations of MS432, lapatinib, or the combination. (M and N) Colony formation by LS513 cells (M) and others (N) treated with DMSO, lapatinib (2 μM), MS432 (1 μM), or the combination for 14 days. (O and P) Immunoblotting in LS513 cells treated with increasing doses of MS934 alone (O) or combined with lapatinib (5 μM) (P) for 24 hours. (Q and R) Tumor volume of LS513 xenografts (Q) and the body weights of the tumor-bearing nude mice (R) treated with vehicle, MS934 (50 mg/kg), lapatinib (100 mg/kg), or the combination. n = 5 mice per treatment group. In (A) to (R), blots and images are representative of three independent experiments, and quantified data are means ± SD [SEM in (Q) and (R)] of three independent experiments; ***P ≤ 0.001 by Student’s t test.

 

Fig. 7. Lapatinib treatment improves KRASG12C degrader therapies in MDR1-overexpressing CRC cell lines.
(A and B) Colony formation by SW1463 (A) or SW837 (B) cells treated with DMSO, LC-2 (1 μM), or MRTX849 (1 μM) for 14 days. Images representative of three independent assays. (C to E) Immunoblotting in SW1463 cells (C and D) and SW837 cells (E) treated with DMSO, LC-2 (1 μM), tariquidar (0.1 μM) (C), or lapatinib (5 μM) (D and E) alone or in combination for 48 hours. Blots are representative of three independent experiments. (F and G) Bliss synergy scores based on CellTiter-Glo assay for the cell viability of SW1463 (F) or SW837 (G) cells treated with increasing concentrations of LC-2, lapatinib, or the combination. Data are means of three experiments ± SD. (H and I) Colony formation of SW1463 (H) or SW837 (I) cells treated as indicated (−, DMSO; LC-2, 1 μM; lapatinib, 2 μM; tariquidar, 0.1 μM) for 14 days. Images representative of three independent assays. (J) Rationale for combining lapatinib with MEK1/2 or KRASG12C degraders in MDR1-overexpressing CRC cell lines. Simultaneous blockade of MDR1 and ErbB receptor signaling overcomes degrader resistance and ErbB receptor kinome reprogramming, resulting in sustained inhibition of KRAS effector signaling.

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Other articles in this Open Access Scientific Journal on PROTAC therapy in cancer include

Accelerating PROTAC drug discovery: Establishing a relationship between ubiquitination and target protein degradation

The Vibrant Philly Biotech Scene: Proteovant Therapeutics Using Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to Develop PROTACs

The Map of human proteins drawn by artificial intelligence and PROTAC (proteolysis targeting chimeras) Technology for Drug Discovery

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Immunotherapy Resistance Rears Its Ugly Head Again: PD-1 Resistant Metastatic Melanoma and More

Curator/Reporter: Stephen J. Williams, Ph.D.

From GenomeWeb

Source: https://www.genomeweb.com/sequencing/immune-gene-mutations-found-immunotherapy-resistant-metastatic-melanoma-patients?utm_source=SilverpopMailing&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Daily%20News:%20U%20of%20Texas%20Southwestern%20Medical%20Center%20Licenses%20Exosome%20Tech%20to%20Peregrine%20Pharmaceuticals%20-%2007/14/2016%2011:05:00%20AM

Immune Gene Mutations Found in Immunotherapy-Resistant Metastatic Melanoma Patients

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – Researchers from the US and the Netherlands reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that they have identified mutations in immune system-related genes in individuals who initially responded to anti-PD-1 treatment for metastatic melanoma treatment, but relapsed after six months or more.

A team led by investigators at the University of California at Los Angeles, the Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the Netherlands Cancer Institute did exome sequencing on tumor samples from four individuals with metastatic melanoma prior to treatment with pembrolizumab (marketed as Keytruda by Merck). The researchers also assessed protein-coding sequences in tumor samples taken after late relapse, comparing the baseline and relapse tumors to search for mutations related to checkpoint blockade therapy resistance.

They uncovered suspicious mutations in three of the four individuals. In one individual, for example, they saw a truncating mutation affecting the beta-2-microglobulin (B2M) gene, which contributes to expression of class I major histocompatibility complex molecules recognized by the immune system’s CD8 T cells. Two more relapse tumors contained loss-of-function mutations to JAK1 or JAK2 — genes coding for interferon-related kinase enzymes.

“The mutations make the tumor resistant to the way the immune system tries to kill it,” first author Jesse Zaretsky, an MD/PhD student in senior author Antoni Ribas’ University of California at Los Angeles lab, told GenomeWeb. For example, he explained, the JAK mutations “are associated with the interferon receptor and make the tumors insensitive to the signals the immune system sends to slow [tumor] growth and kill the cancer.”

While roughly three-quarters of individuals treated with anti-PD-1 therapies show durable treatment responses, acquired resistance can occur, even long after immunotherapy-mediated tumor regression.

“With the approval of PD-1 checkpoint blockade agents for the treatment of patients with melanoma, lung cancer, and other cancers, it is anticipated that cases of late relapse after initial response will increase,” the study’s authors wrote. “Understanding the molecular mechanisms of acquired resistance … may open options for the rational design of salvage combination therapies or preventative interventions and may guide mechanistic biomarker studies for the selection of patients, before the initiation of treatment, who are unlikely to have a response.”

The team started with 78 metastatic melanoma patients who were treated with pembrolizumab at UCLA. Of the 42 individuals who showed an objective response to the checkpoint blockade therapy, 15 eventually experienced disease progression.

From that group of 15 patients, the researchers focused on four patients with late-acquired resistance — six months or more after response to pembrolizumab as a single agent — for whom there was sufficient biopsy material and clinical information available. Each of the patients had been receiving continuous doses of the drug until relapse, which occurred after a mean of nearly 21 months.

When the investigators scrutinized biopsies from the relapse tumors, they saw enhanced PD-L1 expression at the edges of tumors, along with CD8 T cells attempting to infiltrate the tumors. After capturing protein-coding portions of the genome in baseline and relapse tumor samples with Nimblegen exome kits, the team sequenced the exomes to nearly 150-fold average coverage using the Illumina HiSeq 2000.

“We wanted to capture all of the mutations down to low allele frequencies to get a picture of everything that was going on in the tumors, both before they went on the treatment and after [the tumors] came back,” Zaretsky said.

In the two cases marked by new JAK1 or JAK2 mutations at relapse, the team found that 93 percent to nearly 96 percent of baseline tumor mutations persisted in the relapse tumors.

The researchers suspect resistance mutations arose from clonal populations in the metastatic tumors that expanded after anti-PD-1 treatment. From allele frequency patterns in the relapsed tumors with JAK1/2 mutations, for example, they concluded that “tumors resistant to anti-PD-1 are a relatively homogeneous population derived directly from the baseline tumor and that acquisition of the JAK mutations was an early founder event.”

Even so, they didn’t detect burgeoning resistance mutations in the pre-pembrolizumab-treatment tumors, Zaretsky said, perhaps because such alterations were present in very few cells in the baseline tumors.

In cell lines established from the individual with JAK2 loss-of-function mutations at relapse, the team’s NanoString Technologies’ nCounter expression experiments pointed to loss of JAK2 protein expression after treatment progression, along with a dip in interferon gamma activity and diminished production of proteins involved in antigen presentation and T cell activity.

Other articles related to ImmunoOncology in this Open Access Journal include:

Vectorisation Of Immune Checkpoint Inhibitor Antibodies

First Drug in Checkpoint Inhibitor Class of Cancer Immunotherapies has demonstrated Superiority over Standard of care in the treatment of First-line Lung Cancer Patients: Merck’s Keytryda

Durable responses with checkpoint inhibitor

Immune-Oncology Molecules In Development & Articles on Topic in @pharmaceuticalintelligence.com

 

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