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Amira Mohamed, Marie-Pierre Blanchard, Manuela Albertelli, Federica Barbieri, Thierry Brue, Patricia Niccoli, Jean-Robert Delpero, Genevieve Monges, Stephane Garcia, Diego Ferone, Tullio Florio, Alain Enjalbert, Vincent Moutardier, Agnes Schonbrunn, Corinne Gerard, Anne Barlier, and Alexandru Saveanu

Gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP–NETs) raise difficult therapeutic problems despite the emergence of targeted therapies. Somatostatin analogs (SSA) remain pivotal therapeutic drugs. However, the tachyphylaxis and the limited antitumoral effects observed with the classical somatostatin 2 (sst2) agonists (octreotide and lanreotide) led to the development of new SSA, such as the pan sst receptor agonist pasireotide. Our aim was to compare the effects of pasireotide and octreotide on cell survival, chromogranin A (CgA) secretion, and sst2 phosphorylation/trafficking in pancreatic NET (pNET) primary cells from 15 tumors. We established and characterized the primary cultures of human pancreatic tumors (pNETs) as powerful preclinical models for understanding the biological effects of SSA. At clinically relevant concentrations (1–10 nM), pasireotide was at least as efficient as octreotide in inhibiting CgA secretion and cell viability through caspase-dependent apoptosis during short treatments, irrespective of the expression levels of the different sst receptors or the WHO grade of the parental tumor. Interestingly, unlike octreotide, which induces a rapid and persistent partial internalization of sst2 associated with its phosphorylation on Ser341/343, pasireotide did not phosphorylate sst2 and induced a rapid and transient internalization of the receptor followed by a persistent recycling at the cell surface. These results provide the first evidence, to our knowledge, of striking differences in the dynamics of sst2 trafficking in pNET cells treated with the two SSAs, but with similar efficiency in the control of CgA secretion and cell viability.

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Corinne Gérard, Marie Lagarde, Flora Poizat, Sandrine Oziel-Taieb, Vincent Garcia, Catherine Roche, Patricia Niccoli, Anne Barlier, and David Romano

Although there is evidence of a significant rise of neuroendocrine neoplasms (NENs) incidence, current treatments are largely insufficient due to somewhat poor knowledge of these tumours. Despite showing differentiated features, NENs exhibit therapeutic resistance to most common treatments, similar to other cancers in many instances. Molecular mechanisms responsible for this resistance phenomenon are badly understood. We aimed at identifying signalling partners responsible of acquired resistance to treatments in order to develop novel therapeutic strategies. We engineered QGP-1 cells resistant to current leading treatments, the chemotherapeutic agent oxaliplatin and the mTor inhibitor everolimus. Cells were chronically exposed to the drugs and assessed for acquired resistance by viability assay. We used microarray-based kinomics to obtain highthroughput kinase activity profiles from drug sensitive vs resistant cells and identified ‘hit’ kinases hyperactivated in drug-resistant cells, including kinases from FGFR family, cyclin-dependant kinases and PKCs in oxaliplatin-resistant (R-Ox) QGP-1 cells. We then validated these ‘hit’ kinases and observed that ERK signalling is specifically enhanced in QGP-1 R-Ox cells. Finally, we assessed drug-resistant cells sensitivity to pharmacological inhibition of ‘hit’ kinases or their signalling partners. We found that FGFR inhibition markedly decreased ERK signalling and cell viability in QGP-1 R-Ox cells. These results suggest that the FGFR/ERK axis is hyperactivated in response to oxaliplatin-based chemotherapeutic strategy. Thus, this sensitive approach, based on the study of kinome activity, allows identifying potential candidates involved in drug resistance in NENs and may be used to broadly investigate markers of NENs therapeutic response.