DZ-2384 has a superior preclinical profile to taxanes for the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer and is synergistic with anti-CTLA-4 immunotherapy

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Abstract

Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is typically aggressive, difficult to treat, and commonly metastasizes to the visceral organs and soft tissues, including the lungs and the brain. Taxanes represent the most effective and widely used therapeutic class in metastatic TNBC but possess limiting adverse effects that often result in a delay, reduction, or cessation of their use. DZ-2384 is a candidate microtubule-targeting agent with a distinct mechanism of action and strong activity in several preclinical cancer models, with reduced toxicities. DZ-2384 is highly effective in patient-derived taxane-sensitive and taxane-resistant xenograft models of TNBC at lower doses and over a wider range relative to paclitaxel. When comparing compound exposure at minimum effective doses relative to safe exposure levels, the therapeutic window for DZ-2384 is 14–32 compared with 2.0 and less than 2.8 for paclitaxel and docetaxel, respectively. DZ-2384 is effective at reducing brain metastatic lesions when used at maximum tolerated doses and is equivalent to paclitaxel. Drug distribution experiments indicate that DZ-2384 is taken up more efficiently by tumor tissue but at equivalent levels in the brain compared with paclitaxel. Selective DZ-2384 uptake by tumor tissue may in part account for its wider therapeutic window compared with taxanes. In view of the current clinical efforts to combine chemotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitors, we demonstrate that DZ-2384 acts synergistically with anti-CTLA-4 immunotherapy in a syngeneic murine model. These results demonstrate that DZ-2384 has a superior pharmacologic profile over currently used taxanes and is a promising therapeutic agent for the treatment of metastatic TNBC.

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