Breast cancer (BC) comprises multiple distinct subtypes that differ genetically, pathologically, and clinically. Here, we describe a robust protocol for long-term culturing of human mammary epithelial organoids. Using this protocol, >100 primary and metastatic BC organoid lines were generated, broadly recapitulating the diversity of the disease. BC organoid morphologies typically matched the histopathology, hormone receptor status, and HER2 status of the original tumor. DNA copy number variations as well as sequence changes were consistent within tumor-organoid pairs and largely retained even after extended passaging. BC organoids furthermore populated all major gene-expression-based classification groups and allowed in vitro drug screens that were consistent with in vivo xeno-transplantations and patient response. This study describes a representative collection of well-characterized BC organoids available for cancer research and drug development, as well as a strategy to assess in vitro drug response in a personalized fashion.
Cdc7 is an essential kinase that promotes DNA replication by activating origins of replication. Here, we characterized the potent Cdc7 inhibitor PHA-767491 (1) in biochemical and cell-based assays, and we tested its antitumor activity in rodents. We found that the compound blocks DNA synthesis and affects the phosphorylation of the replicative DNA helicase at Cdc7-dependent phosphorylation sites. Unlike current DNA synthesis inhibitors, PHA-767491 prevents the activation of replication origins but does not impede replication fork progression, and it does not trigger a sustained DNA damage response. Treatment with PHA-767491 results in apoptotic cell death in multiple cancer cell types and tumor growth inhibition in preclinical cancer models. To our knowledge, PHA-767491 is the first molecule that directly affects the mechanisms controlling initiation as opposed to elongation in DNA replication, and its activities suggest that Cdc7 kinase inhibition could be a new strategy for the development of anticancer therapeutics.
MPS1 kinase is a key regulator of the spindle assembly checkpoint (SAC), a mitotic mechanism specifically required for proper chromosomal alignment and segregation. It has been found aberrantly overexpressed in a wide range of human tumors and is necessary for tumoral cell proliferation. Here we report the identification and characterization of NMS-P715, a selective and orally bioavailable MPS1 small-molecule inhibitor, which selectively reduces cancer cell proliferation, leaving normal cells almost unaffected. NMS-P715 accelerates mitosis and affects kinetochore components localization causing massive aneuploidy and cell death in a variety of tumoral cell lines and inhibits tumor growth in preclinical cancer models. Inhibiting the SAC could represent a promising new approach to selectively target cancer cells.
PHA-739358 is a small-molecule 3-aminopyrazole derivative with strong activity against Aurora kinases and crossreactivities with some receptor tyrosine kinases relevant for cancer. PHA-739358 inhibits all Aurora kinase family members and shows a dominant Aurora B kinase inhibitionrelated cellular phenotype and mechanism of action in cells in vitro and in vivo. p53 status -dependent endoreduplication is observed upon treatment of cells with PHA-739358, and phosphorylation of histone H3 in Ser 10
KRAS is the most frequently mutated driver of pancreatic, colorectal, and non-small cell lung cancers. Direct KRAS blockade has proven challenging and inhibition of a key downstream effector pathway, the RAF-MEK-ERK cascade, has shown limited success due to activation of feedback networks that keep the pathway in check. We hypothesized that inhibiting SOS1, a KRAS activator and important feedback node, represents an effective approach to treat KRAS-driven cancers. We report the discovery of a highly potent, selective and orally bioavailable small-molecule SOS1 inhibitor, BI-3406, that binds to the catalytic domain of SOS1 thereby preventing the interaction with KRAS. BI-3406 reduces formation of GTPloaded RAS and limits cellular proliferation of a broad range of KRAS-driven cancers.Importantly, BI-3406 attenuates feedback reactivation induced by MEK inhibitors and thereby enhances sensitivity of KRAS-dependent cancers to MEK inhibition. Combined SOS1 and MEK inhibition represents a novel and effective therapeutic concept to address KRAS-driven tumors.
SignificanceTo date, there are no effective targeted pan-KRAS therapies. In-depth characterization of BI-3406 activity and identification of MEK inhibitors as effective combination partners provide an attractive therapeutic concept for the majority of KRAS mutant cancers, including those fueled by the most prevalent mutant KRAS oncoproteins G12D, G12V, G12C and G13D.Research.
Quantification of BrdU incorporation into DNA is a widely used technique to assess the cell cycle status of cells. DNA denaturation is required for BrdU detection with the drawback that most protein epitopes are destroyed and classical antibody staining techniques for multiplex analysis are not possible. To address this issue we have developed a novel method that overcomes the DNA denaturation step but still allows detection of BrdU. Cells were pulsed for a short time by 5-ethynyl-2'-deoxyuridine, which is incorporated into DNA. The exposed nucleotide alkyne group of DNA was then derivatized in physiologic conditions by the copper (I)-catalyzed azide-alkyne cycloaddition (CuAAC) using BrdU azides. The resulting DNA-bound bromouracil moiety was subsequently detected by commercial anti-BrdU mAb without the need for a denaturation step. Continuous labeling with EdU showed a slightly increased anti-proliferative activity compared to BrdU. However, using a lower concentration of EdU for labeling can compensate for this. Alkynyl tags could be detected quickly by a highly specific reaction using BrdU azides. Fluorescence quenching by the DNA dye PI using both BrdU azides was negligible. Our labeling method is suitable for FCM and HCA and shows a higher signal to noise ratio than other methods. This method also allowed multiplex analysis by simultaneous detection of EdU-BrdU, caspase-3, and phospho-histone 3 mAbs, proving sensitivity and feasibility of this new technique. In addition, it has the potential for use in vivo, as exemplified for bone marrow studies. We have established a new method to determine the position of cells in the cell cycle. This is superior when compared to traditional BrdU detection since it allows multiplex analysis, is more sensitive and shows less quenching with PI. The method provides new opportunities to investigate changes in protein expression at different cell cycle stages using pulse labeling experiments.
The cell division cycle 7 (Cdc7) is a serine-threonine kinase, originally discovered in budding yeast, required to initiate DNA replication. Human Cdc7 phosphorylates the minichromosome maintenance protein 2 (Mcm2), a component of the DNA replicative helicase needed for genome duplication. Inhibition of Cdc7 in cancer cells impairs progression through S phase, inducing a p53-independent apoptotic cell death, whereas in normal cells, it does not affect cell viability. Small molecule compounds able to interfere with Cdc7 activity have been identified and shown to be effective in controlling tumor growth in animal models. Two Cdc7 inhibitors are currently in phase I clinical development. Inhibition of Cdc7 kinase activity in cancer cells restricts DNA replication and induces apoptotic cell death by an unprecedented molecular mechanism of action.
The emergence of resistance to imatinib (IM) mediated by mutations in the BCR-ABL domain has become a major challenge in the treatment of chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). Here, we report on studies performed with a novel small molecule inhibitor, PHA-739358, which selectively targets Bcr-Abl and Aurora kinases A to C. PHA-739358 exhibits strong antiproliferative and proapoptotic activity against a broad panel of human BCR-ABL-positive and -negative cell lines and against murine BaF3 cells ectopically ex-
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