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      Dual SYK/JAK inhibition overcomes ibrutinib resistance in chronic lymphocytic leukemia: Cerdulatinib, but not ibrutinib, induces apoptosis of tumor cells protected by the microenvironment

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          Abstract

          Ibrutinib (BTK inhibitor) has generated remarkable responses in CLL. However, the drug, to a large extent, does not cause cell death directly and does not eradicate CLL malignant clones. Inability to eradicate CLL has fostered resistance generation. Once patients become resistant, they do poorly with a median survival of 3-4 months. Novel therapeutic strategies are needed to prevent resistance, improve treatment outcome and ultimately cure the disease. Herein, we explore dual targeting of the BCR and JAK-STAT pathways with a novel single agent, cerdulatinib, which selectively inhibits both SYK (a BCR component) and JAK kinases. We demonstrated that cerdulatinib delivered potent tumor inhibition in 60 primary CLL patient samples, especially in those with poor prognostic indicators. Importantly, cerdulatinib, but not ibrutinib, is able to overcome the support of microenvironment and induces CLL cell death at clinically achievable concentrations. Notably, cerdulatinib blocked proliferation of ibrutinib-resistant primary CLL cells and of BTK C481S-transfected/ibrutinib-resistant lymphoma cells. These anti-tumor effects are well correlated with the inhibition of BCR and JAK-STAT signaling and downstream inhibition of the functions of AKT, ERK and NF?B. Collectively, our results show that simultaneous targeting of BCR and JAK-STAT pathways is a more effective strategy relative to single BTK inhibition.

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          Most cited references 37

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          Resistance mechanisms for the Bruton's tyrosine kinase inhibitor ibrutinib.

          Ibrutinib is an irreversible inhibitor of Bruton's tyrosine kinase (BTK) and is effective in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Resistance to irreversible kinase inhibitors and resistance associated with BTK inhibition have not been characterized. Although only a small proportion of patients have had a relapse during ibrutinib therapy, an understanding of resistance mechanisms is important. We evaluated patients with relapsed disease to identify mutations that may mediate ibrutinib resistance. We performed whole-exome sequencing at baseline and the time of relapse on samples from six patients with acquired resistance to ibrutinib therapy. We then performed functional analysis of identified mutations. In addition, we performed Ion Torrent sequencing for identified resistance mutations on samples from nine patients with prolonged lymphocytosis. We identified a cysteine-to-serine mutation in BTK at the binding site of ibrutinib in five patients and identified three distinct mutations in PLCγ2 in two patients. Functional analysis showed that the C481S mutation of BTK results in a protein that is only reversibly inhibited by ibrutinib. The R665W and L845F mutations in PLCγ2 are both potentially gain-of-function mutations that lead to autonomous B-cell-receptor activity. These mutations were not found in any of the patients with prolonged lymphocytosis who were taking ibrutinib. Resistance to the irreversible BTK inhibitor ibrutinib often involves mutation of a cysteine residue where ibrutinib binding occurs. This finding, combined with two additional mutations in PLCγ2 that are immediately downstream of BTK, underscores the importance of the B-cell-receptor pathway in the mechanism of action of ibrutinib in CLL. (Funded by the National Cancer Institute and others.).
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            Idelalisib, an inhibitor of phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase p110δ, for relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

            In a phase 1 trial, idelalisib (GS-1101, CAL-101), a selective inhibitor of the lipid kinase PI3Kδ, was evaluated in 54 patients with relapsed/refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with adverse characteristics including bulky lymphadenopathy (80%), extensive prior therapy (median 5 [range 2-14] prior regimens), treatment-refractory disease (70%), unmutated IGHV (91%), and del17p and/or TP53 mutations (24%). Patients were treated at 6 dose levels of oral idelalisib (range 50-350 mg once or twice daily) and remained on continuous therapy while deriving clinical benefit. Idelalisib-mediated inhibition of PI3Kδ led to abrogation of Akt phosphorylation in patient CLL cells and significantly reduced serum levels of CLL-related chemokines. The most commonly observed grade ≥3 adverse events were pneumonia (20%), neutropenic fever (11%), and diarrhea (6%). Idelalisib treatment resulted in nodal responses in 81% of patients. The overall response rate was 72%, with 39% of patients meeting the criteria for partial response per IWCLL 2008 and 33% meeting the recently updated criteria of PR with treatment-induced lymphocytosis.(1,2) The median progression-free survival for all patients was 15.8 months. This study demonstrates the clinical utility of inhibiting the PI3Kδ pathway with idelalisib. Our findings support the further development of idelalisib in patients with CLL. These trials were registered at clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00710528 and #NCT01090414.
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              Inhibition of Syk with fostamatinib disodium has significant clinical activity in non-Hodgkin lymphoma and chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

              Certain malignant B cells rely on B-cell receptor (BCR)-mediated survival signals. Spleen tyrosine kinase (Syk) initiates and amplifies the BCR signal. In in vivo analyses of B-cell lymphoma cell lines and primary tumors, Syk inhibition induces apoptosis. These data prompted a phase 1/2 clinical trial of fostamatinib disodium, the first clinically available oral Syk inhibitor, in patients with recurrent B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL). Dose-limiting toxicity in the phase 1 portion was neutropenia, diarrhea, and thrombocytopenia, and 200 mg twice daily was chosen for phase 2 testing. Sixty-eight patients with recurrent B-NHL were then enrolled in 3 cohorts: (1) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL), (2) follicular lymphoma (FL), and (3) other NHL, including mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), marginal zone lymphoma (MZL), mucosa-associated lymphoid tissue lymphoma, lymphoplasmacytic lymphomas, and small lymphocytic leukemia/chronic lymphocytic leukemia (SLL/CLL). Common toxicities included diarrhea, fatigue, cytopenias, hypertension, and nausea. Objective response rates were 22% (5 of 23) for DLBCL, 10% (2 of 21) for FL, 55% (6 of 11) for SLL/CLL, and 11% (1/9) for MCL. Median progression-free survival was 4.2 months. Disrupting BCR-induced signaling by inhibiting Syk represents a novel and active therapeutic approach for NHL and SLL/CLL. This trial was registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov as #NCT00446095.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Oncotarget
                Oncotarget
                Oncotarget
                ImpactJ
                Oncotarget
                Impact Journals LLC
                1949-2553
                21 February 2017
                10 January 2017
                : 8
                : 8
                : 12953-12967
                Affiliations
                1 Department of Pathology, Lymphoma Translational Pathology, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, USA
                2 Portola Pharmaceuticals, Inc., South San Francisco, CA, USA
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Y. Lynn Wang, ylwang@ 123456bsd.uchicago.edu
                Article
                14588
                10.18632/oncotarget.14588
                5355069
                28088788
                Copyright: © 2017 Guo et al.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                Categories
                Research Paper

                Oncology & Radiotherapy

                cll, cerdulatinib, syk, jak-stat, molecularly targeted therapy

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