Volitinib, a potent and highly selective c-Met inhibitor, effectively blocks c-Met signaling and growth inc-METamplified gastric cancer patient-derived tumor xenograft models

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Abstract

Purpose

To investigate the incidence of cMET gene copy number changes and protein overexpression in Chinese gastric cancer (GC) and to preclinically test the hypothesis that the novel, potent and selective cMET small-molecule inhibitor volitinib, will deliver potent anti-tumor activity in cMET-dysregulated GC patient-derived tumor xenograft (PDX) models.

Experimental design

A range of assays were used and included; in vitro cell line panel screening and pharmacodynamic (PD) analysis, cMET fluorescence in-situ hybridization (FISH) and immunohistochemical (IHC) tissue microarray (TMA) analysis of Chinese GC (n = 170), and anti-tumor efficacy testing and PD analysis of gastric PDX models using volitinib.

Results

The incidence of cMET gene amplification and protein overexpression within Chinese patient GC tumors was 6% and 13%, respectively. Volitinib displayed a highly selective profile across a gastric cell line panel, potently inhibiting cell growth only in those lines with dysregulated cMET (EC50 values 0.6 nM/L–12.5 nM/L). Volitinib treatment led to pharmacodynamic modulation of cMET signaling and potent tumor stasis in 3/3 cMET-dysregulated GC PDX models, but had negligible activity in a GC control model.

Conclusions

This study provides an assessment of tumor cMET gene copy number changes and protein overexpression incidence in a cohort of Chinese GC patients. To our knowledge, this is the first study to demonstrate anti-tumor efficacy in a panel of cMET-dysregulated gastric cancer PDX models, using a novel selective cMET-inhibitor (volitinib). Thus, the translational science presented here provides strong rationale for the investigation of volitinib as a therapeutic option for patients with GC tumors harboring amplified cMET.

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