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2818 Repurposing GSK3B Small Molecule Inhibitors for Refractory Lymphoid Malignancies

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 605. Molecular Pharmacology and Drug Resistance: Lymphoid Neoplasms: Poster II
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Research, Fundamental Science, Diseases, Lymphoid Malignancies, Biological Processes, pathogenesis
Sunday, December 10, 2023, 6:00 PM-8:00 PM

Kadriye Nehir Cosgun, PhD1*, Mark E Robinson, PhD1*, Salim Oulghazi, MD1*, Liang Xu, PhD2*, Gang Xiao, PhD3*, Lai N Chan, PhD1, Jaewoong Lee, PhD1,4*, Kohei Kume, PhD1*, Etienne Leveille, MD-PhD1*, David Fonseca Arce1*, Dhruv Khanduja1*, Niklas Feldhahn, PhD5*, Joo Y. Song, MD6, Wing C. Chan, MD6, Jianjun Chen, PhD7, M. Mark Taketo, PhD8*, Hilde Schjerven, PhD9*, Julia Jellusova, PhD10*, Shalin Kothari, MD1*, Matthew S. Davids, MD, MMSc11 and Markus Müschen, MD1

1Center of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, Yale University, New Haven, CT
2College of Life Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
3School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China
4School of Biosystems and Biomedical Sciences, Korea University, Seoul, Korea, Republic of (South)
5Immunology&Inflammation, Centre for Haematology, Imperial College London, London, ENG, United Kingdom
6Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope, Duarte, CA
7Department of Systems Biology, Beckman Research Institute, City of Hope, Monrovia, CA
8Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan
9Department of Laboratory Medicine, UCSF, San Francisco, CA
10Center for Translational Cancer Research, Technical University Munich, Munich, Germany
11Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA

Background: Small molecule GSK3B inhibitors were developed for solid tumors and neurological conditions, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson disease. Five GSK3B inhibitors achieved favorable safety and PK/PD profiles in a total of 22 Phase 1 and 2 clinical trials but no clinical response for any of these indications. GSK3B is the kinase that phosphorylates β-catenin to initiate its degradation, hence GSK3B small molecule inhibition results in rapid nuclear accumulation of β-catenin protein.

Significance: Activating mutations in the Wnt/β-catenin pathway are common oncogenic drivers throughout all main types of cancer (n=64,812) but not found in B- and T-lymphoid malignancies (n=2,137). Studying tissue microarrays by β-catenin immunohistochemistry, lung, colon, breast, and melanoma specimen (n=57) showed consistently high levels of nuclear β-catenin, whereas B- and T-cell lymphomas (n=84) lacked β-catenin signal. Despite comparable mRNA levels, proteomic analyses revealed 60-400-fold lower β-catenin levels in lymphoid compared to epithelial tumors (n=1,389) suggesting that lymphoid malignancies rely on powerful mechanisms for β-catenin degradation, e.g. by GSK3B.

Results: To study the effects of β-catenin activation in human cells, we induced expression of stabilized form of β-catenin in 18 lymphoid (B- and T-ALL, MCL, DLBCL, PTCL) and four myeloid leukemia cell lines. In B- and T-lymphoid cells, β-catenin accumulation compromised clonal fitness, colony formation and induced cell death, but increased competitive fitness and colony formation in myeloid leukemia cells. CEBPα-mediated reprogramming of B-ALL cells into a myeloid phenotype reversed the deleterious effects highlighting that effects of β-catenin-accumulation strictly depend on lymphoid lineage-identity.

RNA-seq studies upon inducible activation of β-catenin in lymphoid cells, revealed transcriptional repression of Myc and Myc target genes as principal gene expression change. Unlike activating β-catenin:TCF7 complexes in epithelial cells, our global interactome studies in B- and T-ALL and lymphoma cells identified repressive β-catenin complexes with lymphoid-specific Ikaros zinc finger (IKZF1/2/3) proteins and several components of the NuRD complex including Mta1/2, Gatad2a/b, Chd4, HDAC1/2. Interactome and ChIP-seq analyses revealed that β-catenin together with lymphoid-specific Ikaros factors recruited repressive NuRD complex members to deacetylate H3K27 and repress MYC superenhancer (SE) regions. Genetic deletion of both IKZF1 and IKZF3 or HDRT-based mutation of Ikaros binding motifs within the Myc-SE enabled resistance to β-catenin accumulation.

To leverage this previously unrecognized vulnerability of lymphoid malignancies, we examined five clinically approved GSK3B small molecule inhibitors that achieved favorable safety profiles at micromolar plasma concentrations in clinical trials for neurological disorders and solid tumors. Strikingly, LY2090314 and CHIR99021 were effective at low nanomolar concentrations in B- and T-cell malignancies that expressed lymphoid Ikaros factors. At IC50 concentrations of <5 nM, GSK3B-inhibitors induced massive accumulation of β-catenin, repression of MYC and acute cell death. In B-ALL cells with IKZF1-deletion, expression of the remaining IKZF3 factor was sufficient to retain full sensitivity to GSK3B-inhibition. Deletion of β-catenin, however, abolished the effects of GSK3B inhibitors and relieved suppression of MYC, demonstrating accumulation of β-catenin represents as central mechanism of action. Preclinical in vivo treatment experiments of refractory B-ALL and mantle cell lymphoma PDX validated small molecule GSK3B-inhibition as strategy to overcome conventional mechanisms of drug-resistance.

Conclusions: B- and T-lymphoid malignancies not only lacked expression of β-catenin but critically depend on GSK3B for effective β-catenin degradation. Our interactome studies in lymphoid tumors revealed that β-catenin formed repressive complexes with lymphoid-specific Ikaros and NuRD complex factors. Strikingly, GSK3B small molecule inhibitors engage this new pathway at low nanomolar concentrations and demonstrated favorable safety profiles in Phase 1 and Phase 2 trials. Safety and efficacy of GSK3B-inhibitors opens up an immediate path for repurposing these agents towards refractory B-cell malignancies.

Disclosures: Davids: AbbVie: Consultancy, Research Funding; AstraZeneca: Consultancy, Research Funding; Ascentage Pharma: Consultancy, Research Funding; Adaptive Biosciences: Consultancy; Aptitude Health: Consultancy; BeiGene: Consultancy; BMS: Consultancy; Curio Science: Consultancy; Eli Lilly: Consultancy; Genentech: Consultancy, Research Funding; Janssen: Consultancy; Merck: Consultancy; Mingsight Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy; Research to Practice: Consultancy; Secura Bio: Consultancy; TG Therapeutics: Consultancy, Research Funding; Takeda: Consultancy; Novartis: Research Funding; Surface Oncology: Research Funding; MEI Pharma: Research Funding; ONO Pharmaceuticals: Consultancy.

*signifies non-member of ASH