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      Clinical development of galunisertib (LY2157299 monohydrate), a small molecule inhibitor of transforming growth factor-beta signaling pathway

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          Abstract

          Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling regulates a wide range of biological processes. TGF-β plays an important role in tumorigenesis and contributes to the hallmarks of cancer, including tumor proliferation, invasion and metastasis, inflammation, angiogenesis, and escape of immune surveillance. There are several pharmacological approaches to block TGF-β signaling, such as monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, antisense oligonucleotides, and small molecule inhibitors. Galunisertib (LY2157299 monohydrate) is an oral small molecule inhibitor of the TGF-β receptor I kinase that specifically downregulates the phosphorylation of SMAD2, abrogating activation of the canonical pathway. Furthermore, galunisertib has antitumor activity in tumor-bearing animal models such as breast, colon, lung cancers, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Continuous long-term exposure to galunisertib caused cardiac toxicities in animals requiring adoption of a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic-based dosing strategy to allow further development. The use of such a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model defined a therapeutic window with an appropriate safety profile that enabled the clinical investigation of galunisertib. These efforts resulted in an intermittent dosing regimen (14 days on/14 days off, on a 28-day cycle) of galunisertib for all ongoing trials. Galunisertib is being investigated either as monotherapy or in combination with standard antitumor regimens (including nivolumab) in patients with cancer with high unmet medical needs such as glioblastoma, pancreatic cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma. The present review summarizes the past and current experiences with different pharmacological treatments that enabled galunisertib to be investigated in patients.

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          Dependency of colorectal cancer on a TGF-β-driven program in stromal cells for metastasis initiation.

          A large proportion of colorectal cancers (CRCs) display mutational inactivation of the TGF-β pathway, yet, paradoxically, they are characterized by elevated TGF-β production. Here, we unveil a prometastatic program induced by TGF-β in the microenvironment that associates with a high risk of CRC relapse upon treatment. The activity of TGF-β on stromal cells increases the efficiency of organ colonization by CRC cells, whereas mice treated with a pharmacological inhibitor of TGFBR1 are resilient to metastasis formation. Secretion of IL11 by TGF-β-stimulated cancer-associated fibroblasts (CAFs) triggers GP130/STAT3 signaling in tumor cells. This crosstalk confers a survival advantage to metastatic cells. The dependency on the TGF-β stromal program for metastasis initiation could be exploited to improve the diagnosis and treatment of CRC. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            DPC4, a candidate tumor suppressor gene at human chromosome 18q21.1.

            About 90 percent of human pancreatic carcinomas show allelic loss at chromosome 18q. To identify candidate tumor suppressor genes on 18q, a panel of pancreatic carcinomas were analyzed for convergent sites of homozygous deletion. Twenty-five of 84 tumors had homozygous deletions at 18q21.1, a site that excludes DCC (a candidate suppressor gene for colorectal cancer) and includes DPC4, a gene similar in sequence to a Drosophila melanogaster gene (Mad) implicated in a transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta)-like signaling pathway. Potentially inactivating mutations in DPC4 were identified in six of 27 pancreatic carcinomas that did not have homozygous deletions at 18q21.1. These results identify DPC4 as a candidate tumor suppressor gene whose inactivation may play a role in pancreatic and possibly other human cancers.
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              Reversible and adaptive resistance to BRAF(V600E) inhibition in melanoma.

              Treatment of BRAF(V600E) mutant melanoma by small molecule drugs that target the BRAF or MEK kinases can be effective, but resistance develops invariably. In contrast, colon cancers that harbour the same BRAF(V600E) mutation are intrinsically resistant to BRAF inhibitors, due to feedback activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Here we show that 6 out of 16 melanoma tumours analysed acquired EGFR expression after the development of resistance to BRAF or MEK inhibitors. Using a chromatin-regulator-focused short hairpin RNA (shRNA) library, we find that suppression of sex determining region Y-box 10 (SOX10) in melanoma causes activation of TGF-β signalling, thus leading to upregulation of EGFR and platelet-derived growth factor receptor-β (PDGFRB), which confer resistance to BRAF and MEK inhibitors. Expression of EGFR in melanoma or treatment with TGF-β results in a slow-growth phenotype with cells displaying hallmarks of oncogene-induced senescence. However, EGFR expression or exposure to TGF-β becomes beneficial for proliferation in the presence of BRAF or MEK inhibitors. In a heterogeneous population of melanoma cells having varying levels of SOX10 suppression, cells with low SOX10 and consequently high EGFR expression are rapidly enriched in the presence of drug, but this is reversed when the drug treatment is discontinued. We find evidence for SOX10 loss and/or activation of TGF-β signalling in 4 of the 6 EGFR-positive drug-resistant melanoma patient samples. Our findings provide a rationale for why some BRAF or MEK inhibitor-resistant melanoma patients may regain sensitivity to these drugs after a 'drug holiday' and identify patients with EGFR-positive melanoma as a group that may benefit from re-treatment after a drug holiday.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1177-8881
                2015
                10 August 2015
                : 9
                : 4479-4499
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Lilly Deutschland GmbH, Bad Homburg, Germany
                [2 ]Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN, USA
                [3 ]Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, Windlesham, Surrey, UK
                [4 ]Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, New York, NY, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Michael M Lahn, 6820 Wisconsin Avenue, Condo 8008, Bethesda, MD 20815, USA, Tel +1 240 899 9415, Email michalahn@ 123456aol.com
                Article
                dddt-9-4479
                10.2147/DDDT.S86621
                4539082
                © 2015 Herbertz et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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