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4530 SHP2 Inhibition Enhances JAK2 Inhibitor Therapy in Preclinical Models of Myeloproliferative Neoplasms

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 631. Myeloproliferative Syndromes and Chronic Myeloid Leukemia: Basic and Translational: Poster III
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Translational Research, Combination therapy, Therapies
Monday, December 11, 2023, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Garima Pandey, PhD1, Lucia Mazzacurati, PhD1*, Nathan P. Horvat, MD1*, Tegan Rowsell, BS1*, Narmin E. Amin, MS1*, Guolin Zhang, PhD1*, Afua Adutwumwa Akuffo, PhD1*, Christelle M. Colin-Leitzinger, PhD1*, Eric B. Haura, MD1*, Andrew T. Kuykendall, MD1,2, PK Epling-Burnette, PharmD, PhD1* and Gary W. Reuther, PhD3

1Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL
2Department of Malignant Hematology, Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL
3H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, Tampa, FL

The classic myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs) polycythemia vera, essential thrombocythemia, and primary myelofibrosis are driven by aberrant activation of the JAK2 kinase, primarily by mutations in 3 different genes, JAK2, MPL, and CALR. JAK2 inhibitor therapy is generally effective at reducing MPN patient constitutional symptoms and thus can improve quality of life but has minimal effect on reducing mutant driver allele burden and does not readily alter the course of disease, reflecting the ability of MPN-driving cells to persist during therapy. Thus, the ability of current anti-JAK2 therapies to significantly modify underlying disease biology is limited. Long-term studies of the JAK2 inhibitor ruxolitinib in myelofibrosis patients have, however, identified survival benefits, yet this may be due to anti-inflammatory and spleen reducing impacts. Ultimately, the inability of ruxolitinib and other approved JAK2 inhibitors to effectively antagonize allele burden indicates alternative therapeutic approaches are needed to overcome the persistent survival of MPN-driving cells during JAK2 inhibitor therapy.

Efforts to identify mechanisms that can thwart the effects of JAK2 inhibition in MPN cells have highlighted activation of the RAS-ERK pathway, including mechanisms of RAS-ERK signaling that are independent of JAK2. ERK or MEK inhibition have been shown to enhance the activity of ruxolitinib in MPN mouse models, but monotherapeutic inhibition of these kinases displayed limited efficacy. The SHP2 (Src homology region 2 domain-containing phosphatase-2) tyrosine phosphatase mediates RAS activation and subsequent MEK/ERK signaling downstream of cytokine and growth factor receptors. SHP2 plays a role in oncogenic signaling and in resistance to kinase targeted therapies, exemplified in both solid tumor and leukemia models. Given the evidence that activation of RAS-ERK signaling can antagonize the effects of JAK2 inhibition and the fact that SHP2 mediates RAS activation via multiple mechanisms downstream of numerous growth factor and cytokine receptors, we hypothesized that SHP2 may contribute to the survival of MPN cells during JAK2 inhibitor treatment and may provide a therapeutic target to improve current anti-JAK2 therapies. Using preclinical MPN models, we aimed to block RAS activation by inhibiting SHP2 to assess the potential SHP2 inhibition may have as a monotherapy or in combination with JAK2 inhibition.

We found that the SHP2 inhibitors RMC-4550 and SHP099 enhanced growth inhibition of MPN model cell lines (e.g., SET2 and UKE1) in combination with ruxolitinib, effectively preventing ruxolitinib persistent growth. Concomitant treatment with both inhibitors led to enhanced inhibition of RAS-GTP levels and ERK activation and increased apoptosis compared to single agents. SHP2 inhibition antagonized the neoplastic growth of primary hematopoietic progenitor cells from MPN patients and synergized with ruxolitinib in all patient samples assessed. In an MPN mouse model driven by MPL-W515L, RMC-4550 antagonized MPN phenotypes, including leukocytosis, hepatosplenomegaly, and allele burden. RMC-4550 treatment diminished levels of a subset of pro-inflammatory cytokines, including IL-1β, CXCL9, and TNFα, among others. The combination of RMC-4550 with ruxolitinib not only suppressed advancing leukocytosis but led to white blood cell levels lower than at treatment initiation (Panel A) and suppressed thrombocytosis compared to ruxolitinib alone. The combination also led to enhanced inhibition of hepatomegaly, extramedullary hyperplasia, megakaryocyte hyperplasia, and allele burden, and a trend toward improved fibrosis. The SHP2 inhibitor RMC-4550 enhanced the survival of mice (following termination of treatment analyses) as both a monotherapy (p < 0.0001 compared to vehicle) and in combination with ruxolitinib (p < 0.01 compared to ruxolitinib monotherapy). Importantly, the combination of SHP2 inhibition using RMC-4550 with JAK2 inhibition using ruxolitinib for 4 weeks in wildtype mice was well tolerated with respect to hematologic parameters and exemplified by no effect on body weight (Panel B).

Given SHP2 inhibitors are already undergoing clinical evaluation in patients with solid tumors, our findings suggest that SHP2 is a therapeutic target with potential to be rapidly translated to clinical assessment for MPN patients.

Disclosures: Amin: Iovance Biotherapeutics: Current Employment. Zhang: Sensai Bio: Current Employment. Akuffo: AstraZeneca: Current Employment. Haura: Amgen, Inc.: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Jannsen Pharmaceuticals: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Revolution Medicines, Inc.: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Ellipses Pharma: Consultancy; Kanaph Therapeutics, Inc.: Consultancy; ORI Capital II, Inc.: Consultancy. Kuykendall: Incyte: Consultancy; Blueprint: Consultancy, Research Funding, Speakers Bureau; Novartis: Consultancy; AbbVie: Consultancy; Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc.: Consultancy, Research Funding; GSK: Consultancy; Imago: Consultancy; CTI: Consultancy; Sierra Oncology: Research Funding; BMS: Consultancy, Research Funding; Morphosys: Consultancy, Research Funding; Prelude: Research Funding. Epling-Burnette: AbbVie, Inc.: Current Employment, Current equity holder in publicly-traded company. Reuther: Revolution Medicines, Inc.: Research Funding.

*signifies non-member of ASH