Investigators have identified a mechanism of ibrutinib resistance in mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and showed that a small molecule can overcome that resistance in vitro and in vivo.
The team found that ibrutinib-resistant MCL cells rely on oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) and glutaminolysis to survive.
Targeting the OXPHOS pathway with a small molecule, IACS-010759, inhibited the proliferation of ibrutinib-resistant cells in vitro.
IACS-010759 also decreased tumor volume and improved survival in mouse models of ibrutinib-resistant MCL and double-hit B-cell lymphoma.
Now, IACS-10759 is being tested in phase 1 trials of lymphoma and solid tumors () as well as acute myeloid leukemia ( ).
, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, and his colleagues conducted the preclinical research and described their findings in .
The investigators sequenced samples from MCL patients with ibrutinib-sensitive and -resistant disease and found that “glutamine-fueled OXPHOS appears to be a prominent energy metabolism pathway in ibrutinib-resistant MCL cells.”
This finding prompted the team to test IACS-010759, an inhibitor of ETC complex I, in ibrutinib-resistant MCL. They theorized that the inhibitor would be effective because, during OXPHOS, electrons are transferred from electron donors to acceptors through the ETC in redox reactions that release energy to form ATP, and OXPHOS generates ATP to meet requirements for cell growth.
In experiments, IACS-010759 inhibited the proliferation of two ibrutinib-resistant MCL cell lines, Z-138 and Maver-1, in a dose-dependent manner.
The investigators also tested IACS-010759 in two mouse models of ibrutinib-resistant MCL. In both models, mice treated with IACS-010759 had a significant reduction in tumor volume, compared with controls. In one model, IACS-010759 extended survival by a median of 11 days.
Finally, the team tested IACS-010759 in a model of ibrutinib-resistant, double-hit (MYC and BCL-2) B-cell lymphoma with central nervous system involvement. Again, IACS-010759 significantly inhibited tumor growth. Compared to ibrutinib and vehicle control, IACS-010759 provided a median survival benefit of more than 20 days.
There were no toxicities associated with IACS-010759 treatment, according to the investigators.
This research was supported by the MD Anderson B Cell Lymphoma Moon Shot Project, Gary Rogers Foundation, Kinder Foundation, Cullen Foundation, Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas, and the National Institutes of Health. Most investigators reported having no competing interests, but two reported a patent ().
SOURCE: Zhang L et al. Sci Transl Med. 2019 May 8. .