James A Fagin
James A Fagin
Matti L Gild, Iñigo Landa, Mabel Ryder, Ronald A Ghossein, Jeffrey A Knauf, and James A Fagin
Inhibitors of RET, a tyrosine kinase receptor encoded by a gene that is frequently mutated in medullary thyroid cancer, have emerged as promising novel therapies for the disease. Rapalogs and other mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors are effective agents in patients with gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, which share lineage properties with medullary thyroid carcinomas. The objective of this study was to investigate the contribution of mTOR activity to RET-induced signaling and cell growth and to establish whether growth suppression is enhanced by co-targeting RET and mTOR kinase activities. Treatment of the RET mutant cell lines TT, TPC-1, and MZ-CRC-1 with AST487, a RET kinase inhibitor, suppressed growth and showed profound and sustained inhibition of mTOR signaling, which was recapitulated by siRNA-mediated RET knockdown. Inhibition of mTOR with INK128, a dual mTORC1 and mTORC2 kinase inhibitor, also resulted in marked growth suppression to levels similar to those seen with RET blockade. Moreover, combined treatment with AST487 and INK128 at low concentrations suppressed growth and induced apoptosis. These data establish mTOR as a key mediator of RET-mediated cell growth in thyroid cancer cells and provide a rationale for combinatorial treatments in thyroid cancers with oncogenic RET mutations.
Mabel Ryder, Margaret Callahan, Michael A Postow, Jedd Wolchok, and James A Fagin
Novel immune checkpoint blockade with ipilimumab, an antibody blocking the cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA4), is revolutionizing cancer therapy. However, ipilimumab induces symptomatic, sometimes severe, endocrine immune-related adverse events (irAEs) that are inconsistently recognized and reported. The objective of this review was to comprehensively characterize the incidence, presentation, and management of endocrinopathies following ipilimumab therapy in a single center that is highly specialized in immune checkpoint blockade. We carried out a retrospective analysis of endocrine irAEs in melanoma patients receiving ipilimumab therapy in clinical trials between 2007 and 2013. A total of 256 patients were included in this analysis. We reviewed pituitary-, thyroid-, and adrenal-related hormone test results, as well as radiographic studies and the clinical histories of patients, to identify and characterize cases of hypophysitis, hypothyroidism, thyroiditis, and adrenal dysfunction. Following ipilimumab therapy, the overall incidence of hypophysitis was 8% and that of hypothyroidism/thyroiditis 6%. Primary adrenal dysfunction was rare. Therapy with a combination of ipilimumab and nivolumab, an anti-programmed cell death 1 (PDCD1, also called PD1) receptor antibody, was associated with a 22% incidence of either thyroiditis or hypothyroidism and a 9% incidence of hypophysitis. Symptomatic relief, in particular, for hypophysitis, was achieved in all patients with hormone replacement, although endogenous hormone secretion rarely recovered. In summary, we observed that CTLA4 blockade alone, and in particular in combination with PD1 blockade, is associated with an increased risk of symptomatic, sometimes severe, hypophysitis as well as thyroid dysfunction. Prompt initiation with hormone replacement reverses symptoms. Evaluation and reporting of endocrine irAEs in clinical trials should be done using standardized diagnostic criteria and terminology.
Mabel Ryder, Ronald A Ghossein, Julio C M Ricarte-Filho, Jeffrey A Knauf, and James A Fagin
Thyroid cancers are infiltrated with tumor-associated macrophages (TAMs), yet their role in cancer progression is not known. The objectives of this study were to characterize the density of TAMs in well-differentiated (WDTC), poorly differentiated (PDTC), and anaplastic thyroid cancers (ATC) and to correlate TAM density with clinicopathologic parameters. Immunohistochemistry was performed on tissue microarray sections from WDTC (n=33), PDTC (n=37), and ATC (n=20) using macrophage-specific markers. Electronic medical records were used to gather clinical and pathologic data. Follow-up information of PDTC patients was available for 0–12 years. In total, 9 out of 33 WDTC (27%), 20 out of 37 PDTC (54%), and 19 out of 20 ATC (95%) had an increased density of CD68+ TAMs (≥10 per 0.28 mm2; WDTC versus PDTC, P=0.03; WDTC versus ATC, P<0.0001; PDTC versus ATC, P<0.002). Increased TAMs in PDTC was associated with capsular invasion (P=0.034), extrathyroidal extension (P=0.009), and decreased cancer-related survival (P=0.009) compared with PDTC with a low density of TAMs. In conclusion, the density of TAMs is increased in advanced thyroid cancers. The presence of a high density of TAMs in PDTC correlates with invasion and decreased cancer-related survival. These results suggest that TAMs may facilitate tumor progression. As novel therapies directed against thyroid tumor cell-specific targets are being tested, the potential role of TAMs as potential modulators of the thyroid cancer behavior will need to be considered.
Donata Vitagliano, Valentina De Falco, Anna Tamburrino, Sabrina Coluzzi, Giancarlo Troncone, Gennaro Chiappetta, Fortunato Ciardiello, Giampaolo Tortora, James A Fagin, Anderson J Ryan, Francesca Carlomagno, and Massimo Santoro
Oncogenic conversion of the RET tyrosine kinase is a frequent feature of medullary thyroid carcinoma (MTC). ZD6474 (vandetanib) is an ATP-competitive inhibitor of RET, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and vascular endothelial growth factor receptors kinases. In this study, we have studied ZD6474 mechanism of action in TT and MZ-CRC-1 human MTC cell lines, carrying cysteine 634 to tryptophan (C634W) and methionine 918 to threonine (M918T) RET mutation respectively. ZD6474 blunted MTC cell proliferation and RET, Shc and p44/p42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) phosphorylation. Single receptor knockdown by RNA interference showed that MTC cells depended on RET for proliferation. Adoptive expression of the ZD6474-resistant V804M RET mutant rescued proliferation of TT cells under ZD6474 treatment, showing that RET is a key ZD6474 target in these MTC cells. Upon RET inhibition, adoptive stimulation of EGFR partially rescued TT cell proliferation, MAPK signaling, and expression of cell-cycle-related genes. This suggests that simultaneous inhibition of RET and EGFR by ZD6474 may overcome the risk of MTC cells to escape from RET blockade through compensatory over-activation of EGFR.
Kathleen A. Luckett, Jennifer R. Cracchiolo, Gnana P. Krishnamoorthy, Luis Javier Leandro-Garcia, James Nagarajah, Mahesh Saqcena, Rona Lester, Soo Y. Im, Zhen Zhao, Scott W Lowe, Elisa de Stanchina, Eric J Sherman, Alan L Ho, Steven D Leach, Jeffrey A Knauf, and James A Fagin
Constitutive MAPK activation silences genes required for iodide uptake and thyroid hormone biosynthesis in thyroid follicular cells. Accordingly, most BRAFV600E papillary thyroid cancers (PTC) are refractory to radioiodide (RAI) therapy. MAPK pathway inhibitors rescue thyroid differentiated properties and RAI responsiveness in mice and patient subsets with BRAFV600E-mutant PTC. TGFβ also impairs thyroid differentiation and has been proposed to mediate the effects of mutant BRAF. We generated a mouse model of Braf-PTC with thyroid-specific knockout of the TgfβR1 gene to investigate the role of TGFβ on thyroid differentiated gene expression and RAI uptake in vivo. Despite appropriate loss of TgfβR1, pSmad levels remained high, indicating that ligands other than TGFβ1 were engaging this pathway. The activin ligand subunits Inhba and Inhbb were found to be overexpressed in BrafV600E mutant thyroid cancers. Treatment with follistatin, a potent inhibitor of activin, or vactosertib, which inhibits both TGFβR1 and the activin type I receptor ALK4, induced a profound inhibition of pSMAD in BrafV600E-PTCs. Blocking SMAD signaling alone was insufficient to enhance iodide uptake in the setting of constitutive MAPK activation. However, combination treatment with either follistatin or vactosertib and the MEK inhibitor CKI increased 124I uptake compared to CKI alone. In summary, activin family ligands converge to induce pSMAD in Braf-mutant PTCs. Dedifferentiation of BrafV600E-PTCs cannot be ascribed primarily to activation of SMAD. However, targeting Tgfβ/activin-induced pSMAD augmented MAPK inhibitor effects on iodine incorporation into BRAF tumor cells, indicating that these two pathways exert interdependent effects on the differentiation state of thyroid cancer cells.