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2759 Single Agent and Combinatorial Efficacy of First-in-Class Small Molecule ONC201 in Acute Leukemia and Multiple Myeloma

Molecular Pharmacology and Drug Resistance in Myeloid Diseases
Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 604. Molecular Pharmacology and Drug Resistance in Myeloid Diseases: Poster II
Sunday, December 4, 2016, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM
Hall GH (San Diego Convention Center)

Varun V Prabhu, PhD1*, Amriti Lulla2*, Christina L Kline, PhD2*, Peter J Van den Heuvel, PhD3*, Mala K. Talekar, MD4, Jessica M Wagner2*, Rohinton S Tarapore, Ph.D.1*, David T Dicker2*, Mathew J Garnett, Ph.D.5*, Ultan McDermott, MD, PhD5*, Cyril H Benes, Ph.D.6*, Jeffrey J. Pu, MD, PhD7, David F. Claxton, MD7, Wolfgang Oster, MD, PhD1, Joshua E Allen, Ph.D.8* and Wafik S. El-Deiry, MD, PhD2*

1Oncoceutics Inc, Philadelphia, PA
2Fox Chase Cancer Center, Philadelphia, PA
3Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Hershey, PA
4Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA
5Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Hinxton, United Kingdom
6Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA
7Penn State Hershey Cancer Institute, Penn State University College of Medicine, Hershey, PA
8Oncoceutics Inc, Hummelstown, PA

ONC201 is the founding member of the imipridone class of anti-cancer small molecules that possess a unique core chemical structure. ONC201 is currently being evaluated in several Phase I/II clinical trials for advanced cancers. In the current study, we evaluated the single agent and combinatorial efficacy of ONC201 in preclinical models of acute leukemia and multiple myeloma (MM).

In acute leukemia, we evaluated ONC201 anti-cancer effects in acute myeloid leukemia (AML) (Kasumi-1, HL60) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) (Reh, Jurkat and MOLT-4) cell lines. We observed a time- and dose-dependent decrease in cell viability for every cell line in the panel (EC50 1-5 µM). Vincristine-resistant cells HL60/VCR were also sensitive to single agent ONC201 with EC50 values on par with corresponding vincristine-sensitive parental cells. Dose- and time-dependent induction of apoptosis was noted in Western blot analysis of caspase-3 cleavage in AML cell lines treated with 2.5 µM or 5 µM of ONC201 for 48 hr. Western Blot analysis further demonstrated inhibition of Akt and Foxo3a phosphorylation in Kasumi-1 cells, in line with the previously reported late-stage signaling effects of ONC201 in solid tumor cells (Allen et al, 2013). Sub-G1 analysis indicated that ONC201 induces apoptosis in ALL cells and a pan-caspase inhibitor reduced ONC201-mediated apoptosis. Western blot analysis revealed ONC201-mediated apoptosis involves PARP cleavage and caspase-9 activation in ALL cells. Anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family members Bcl-2 and Bcl-xl were downregulated while the pro-apoptotic Bcl-2 family member Bim is upregulated in response to ONC201 treatment in ALL cells. ONC201 also downregulates the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP) family proteins cIAP1 and cIAP2 in ALL cells. We observed inhibition of Akt phosphorylation upon ONC201 treatment of ALL cells. Fresh AML patient cells were also found to be sensitive to ONC201 in cell viability and caspase 3/7 activity assays at 5µM.

We observed that independent clones of cancer cells with acquired resistance to ONC201 were more sensitive to cytarabine compared to parental ONC201-sensitive cancer cells. In addition, ONC201 demonstrated synergistic reduction in cell viability in combination with cytarabine in AML cell lines. Determination of combination indices (CI) revealed synergy at several concentrations (CI 0.336-0.75 in CMK cells). Also, ONC201 combined additively with midostaurin in CMK cells and vincristine in HL60/VCR cells. Thus, ONC201 is a promising combinatorial partner for AML therapies based on these preclinical sensitization results.

In accordance with ONC201-mediated activation of the integrated stress response that B cells are highly sensitive to (Kline et al and Ishizawa et al, 2016), MM was identified as one of the most ONC201-sensitive tumor types in the Genomics of Drug Sensitivity in Cancer collection of cell lines. Three human MM cell lines were used for validation (KMS18, MM.1S and RPMI-8226), which revealed a time- and dose-dependent decrease in cell viability (EC50 1-2.5 µM). Bortezomib-resistant cells MM.1S 33X were sensitive to ONC201 as a single agent with EC50 values comparable to bortezomib-sensitive parental cells. We observed an average of 10-fold induction of ONC201–mediated apoptosis using Sub-G1 analyses in MM cells at 5 µM, 48 hrs post-treatment. Rescue of ONC201-mediated apoptosis was demonstrated using the pan-caspase inhibitor (Z-VAD-FMK). In addition, Western blot analysis in MM cells indicated a dose-dependent decrease in the anti-apoptotic protein XIAP which is a key mediator of apoptosis inhibition and is reported to be highly up-regulated in MM cells. Furthermore, ONC201 demonstrated synergistic reduction in cell viability at various concentrations in combination with either ixazomib or dexamethasone, which are used in the clinical treatment of MM, in RPMI8226 cells (CI 0.228-0.75). Also, ONC201 combined additively with bortezomib in RPMI8226 and MM.1S 33X cells.

In summary, these preclinical studies support the ongoing ONC201 single agent trials in acute leukemias and MM. Our findings suggest that ONC201 may be an important therapeutic option for patients with hematological malignancies who have developed resistance to approved therapies. Additionally, our results point to specific standard-of-care therapies that may be combined with ONC201 to exert durable responses without adding to the burden of toxicity.

Disclosures: Prabhu: Oncoceutics: Employment. Tarapore: Oncoceutics: Employment, Equity Ownership. Oster: Oncoceutics: Employment, Equity Ownership. Allen: Oncoceutics: Employment, Equity Ownership. El-Deiry: Oncoceutics: Equity Ownership.

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