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Targeting Survivin in Cancer: Novel Drug Development Approaches

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Biodrugs

Springer International Publishing

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      Abstract

      Survivin is a well-established target in experimental cancer therapy. The molecule is over-expressed in most human tumors, but hardly detectable in normal tissues. Multiple functions in different subcellular compartments have been assigned. It participates in the control of cell division, apoptosis, the cellular stress response, and also in the regulation of cell migration and metastasis. Survivin expression has been recognized as a biomarker: high expression indicates an unfavorable prognosis and resistance to chemotherapeutic agents and radiation treatment. Survivin is an unconventional drug target and several indirect approaches have been exploited to affect its function and the phenotype of survivin-expressing cells. Interference with the expression of the survivin gene, the utilization of its messenger RNA, the intracellular localization, the interaction with binding partners, the stability of the survivin protein, and the induction of survivin-specific immune responses have been taken into consideration. A direct strategy to inhibit survivin has been based on the identification of a specifically interacting peptide. This peptide can recognize survivin intracellularly and cause the degradation of the ligand–survivin complex. Technology is being developed that might allow the derivation of small molecular-weight, drug-like compounds that are functionally equivalent to the peptide ligand.

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      Combined BRAF and MEK inhibition in melanoma with BRAF V600 mutations.

      Resistance to therapy with BRAF kinase inhibitors is associated with reactivation of the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway. To address this problem, we conducted a phase 1 and 2 trial of combined treatment with dabrafenib, a selective BRAF inhibitor, and trametinib, a selective MAPK kinase (MEK) inhibitor. In this open-label study involving 247 patients with metastatic melanoma and BRAF V600 mutations, we evaluated the pharmacokinetic activity and safety of oral dabrafenib (75 or 150 mg twice daily) and trametinib (1, 1.5, or 2 mg daily) in 85 patients and then randomly assigned 162 patients to receive combination therapy with dabrafenib (150 mg) plus trametinib (1 or 2 mg) or dabrafenib monotherapy. The primary end points were the incidence of cutaneous squamous-cell carcinoma, survival free of melanoma progression, and response. Secondary end points were overall survival and pharmacokinetic activity. Dose-limiting toxic effects were infrequently observed in patients receiving combination therapy with 150 mg of dabrafenib and 2 mg of trametinib (combination 150/2). Cutaneous squamous-cell carcinoma was seen in 7% of patients receiving combination 150/2 and in 19% receiving monotherapy (P=0.09), whereas pyrexia was more common in the combination 150/2 group than in the monotherapy group (71% vs. 26%). Median progression-free survival in the combination 150/2 group was 9.4 months, as compared with 5.8 months in the monotherapy group (hazard ratio for progression or death, 0.39; 95% confidence interval, 0.25 to 0.62; P<0.001). The rate of complete or partial response with combination 150/2 therapy was 76%, as compared with 54% with monotherapy (P=0.03). Dabrafenib and trametinib were safely combined at full monotherapy doses. The rate of pyrexia was increased with combination therapy, whereas the rate of proliferative skin lesions was nonsignificantly reduced. Progression-free survival was significantly improved. (Funded by GlaxoSmithKline; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT01072175.).
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        A novel anti-apoptosis gene, survivin, expressed in cancer and lymphoma.

        Inhibitors of programmed cell death (apoptosis) aberrantly prolonging cell viability may contribute to cancer by facilitating the insurgence of mutations and by promoting resistance to therapy. Despite the identification of several new apoptosis inhibitors related to bcl-2 or to the baculovirus IAP gene, it is not clear whether apoptosis inhibition plays a general role in neoplasia. Here, we describe a new human gene encoding a structurally unique IAP apoptosis inhibitor, designated survivin. Survivin contains a single baculovirus IAP repeat and lacks a carboxyl-terminal RING finger. Present during fetal development, survivin is undetectable in terminally differentiated adult tissues. However, survivin becomes prominently expressed in transformed cell lines and in all the most common human cancers of lung, colon, pancreas, prostate and breast, in vivo. Survivin is also found in approximately 50% of high-grade non-Hodgkin's lymphomas (centroblastic, immunoblastic), but not in low-grade lymphomas (lymphocytic). Recombinant expression of survivin counteracts apoptosis of B lymphocyte precursors deprived of interleukin 3 (IL-3). These findings suggest that apoptosis inhibition may be a general feature of neoplasia and identify survivin as a potential new target for apoptosis-based therapy in cancer and lymphoma.
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          Novel anticancer targets: revisiting ERBB2 and discovering ERBB3.

          Aberrant receptor expression or functioning of the epidermal growth factor receptor (Erbb) family plays a crucial part in the development and evolution of cancer. Inhibiting the signalling activity of individual receptors in this family has advanced the treatment of a range of human cancers. In this Review we re-evaluate the role of two important family members, ERBB2 (also known as HER2) and ERBB3 (also known as HER3), and explore the mechanisms of action and preclinical and clinical data for new therapies that target signalling through these pivotal receptors. These new therapies include tyrosine kinase inhibitors, antibody-chemotherapy conjugates, heat-shock protein inhibitors and antibodies that interfere with the formation of ERBB2-ERBB3 dimers.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            Georg Speyer Haus, Institute for Biomedical Research, Paul Ehrlich Str. 42, 60322 Frankfurt am Main, Germany
            Contributors
            groner@em.uni-frankfurt.de
            Journal
            BioDrugs
            BioDrugs
            Biodrugs
            Springer International Publishing (Cham )
            1173-8804
            1179-190X
            18 August 2013
            18 August 2013
            2014
            : 28
            : 27-39
            23955284
            3929033
            58
            10.1007/s40259-013-0058-x
            © The Author(s) 2013

            Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial License which permits any noncommercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author(s) and the source are credited.

            Categories
            Review Article
            Custom metadata
            © Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

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