Combined kinase inhibitors of MEK1/2 and either PI3K or PDGFR are efficacious in intracranial triple-negative breast cancer

Academic Article


  • Background: Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC), lacking expression of hormone and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 receptors, is an aggressive subtype that frequently metastasizes to the brain and has no FDAapproved systemic therapies. Previous literature demonstrates mitogen-Activated protein kinase kinase (MEK) pathway activation in TNBC brain metastases. Thus, we aimed to discover rational combinatorial therapies with MEK inhibition, hypothesizing that co-inhibition using clinically available brain-penetrant inhibitors would improve survival in preclinical models of TNBC brain metastases. Methods: Using human-derived TNBC cell lines, synthetic lethal small interfering RNA kinase screens were evaluated with brain-penetrant inhibitors against MEK1/2 (selumetinib, AZD6244) or phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K; buparlisib, BKM120). Mice bearing intracranial TNBC tumors (SUM149, MDA-MB-231Br, MDA-MB-468, or MDA-MB-436) were treated with MEK, PI3K, or platelet derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR; pazopanib) inhibitors alone or in combination. Tumors were analyzed by western blot and multiplexed kinase inhibitor beads/mass spectrometry to assess treatment effects. Results: Screens identified MEK+PI3K and MEK+PDGFR inhibitors as tractable, rational combinations. Dual treatment of selumetinib with buparlisib or pazopanib was synergistic in TNBC cells in vitro. Both combinations improved survival in intracranial SUM149 and MDA-MB-231Br, but not MDA-MB-468 or MDA-MB-436. Treatments decreased mitogen-Activated protein kinase (MAPK) and PI3K (Akt) signaling in sensitive (SUM149 and 231Br) but not resistant models (MDA-MB-468). Exploratory analysis of kinome reprogramming in SUM149 intracranial tumors after MEK PI3K inhibition demonstrates extensive kinome changes with treatment, especially in MAPK pathway members. Conclusions: Results demonstrate that rational combinations of the clinically available inhibitors selumetinib with buparlisib or pazopanib may prove to be promising therapeutic strategies for the treatment of some TNBC brain metastases. Additionally, effective combination treatments cause widespread alterations in kinase pathways, including targetable potential resistance drivers.
  • Authors

    Published In

  • Neuro-Oncology  Journal
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Van Swearingen AED; Sambade MJ; Siegel MB; Sud S; McNeill RS; Bevill SM; Chen X; Bash RE; Mounsey L; Golitz BT
  • Start Page

  • 1481
  • End Page

  • 1493
  • Volume

  • 19
  • Issue

  • 11