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Siravegna G.,University of Turin | Siravegna G.,Candiolo Cancer Institute Fondazione Piemontese per lOncologia FPO | Siravegna G.,Institute of Molecular Oncology IFOM | Mussolin B.,Candiolo Cancer Institute Fondazione Piemontese per lOncologia FPO | And 34 more authors.
Nature Medicine | Year: 2015

Colorectal cancers (CRCs) evolve by a reiterative process of genetic diversification and clonal evolution. The molecular profile of CRC is routinely assessed in surgical or bioptic samples. Genotyping of CRC tissue has inherent limitations; a tissue sample represents a single snapshot in time, and it is subjected to spatial selection bias owing to tumor heterogeneity. Repeated tissue samples are difficult to obtain and cannot be used for dynamic monitoring of disease progression and response to therapy. We exploited circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) to genotype colorectal tumors and track clonal evolution during treatment with the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-specific antibodies cetuximab or panitumumab. We identified alterations in ctDNA of patients with primary or acquired resistance to EGFR blockade in the following genes: KRAS, NRAS, MET, ERBB2, FLT3, EGFR and MAP2K1. Mutated KRAS clones, which emerge in blood during EGFR blockade, decline upon withdrawal of EGFR-specific antibodies, indicating that clonal evolution continues beyond clinical progression. Pharmacogenomic analysis of CRC cells that had acquired resistance to cetuximab reveals that upon antibody withdrawal KRAS clones decay, whereas the population regains drug sensitivity. ctDNA profiles of individuals who benefit from multiple challenges with anti-EGFR antibodies exhibit pulsatile levels of mutant KRAS. These results indicate that the CRC genome adapts dynamically to intermittent drug schedules and provide a molecular explanation for the efficacy of rechallenge therapies based on EGFR blockade. © 2015 Nature America, Inc. All rights reserved.


PubMed | Instituto Nazionale Tumori Fondazione G Pascale Irccs, Candiolo Cancer Institute Fondazione Piemontese per lOncologia FPO, University of Turin, Institute Hospital del Mar dInvestigacions Mediques IMIM and 4 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Nature medicine | Year: 2015

Colorectal cancers (CRCs) evolve by a reiterative process of genetic diversification and clonal evolution. The molecular profile of CRC is routinely assessed in surgical or bioptic samples. Genotyping of CRC tissue has inherent limitations; a tissue sample represents a single snapshot in time, and it is subjected to spatial selection bias owing to tumor heterogeneity. Repeated tissue samples are difficult to obtain and cannot be used for dynamic monitoring of disease progression and response to therapy. We exploited circulating tumor DNA (ctDNA) to genotype colorectal tumors and track clonal evolution during treatment with the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-specific antibodies cetuximab or panitumumab. We identified alterations in ctDNA of patients with primary or acquired resistance to EGFR blockade in the following genes: KRAS, NRAS, MET, ERBB2, FLT3, EGFR and MAP2K1. Mutated KRAS clones, which emerge in blood during EGFR blockade, decline upon withdrawal of EGFR-specific antibodies, indicating that clonal evolution continues beyond clinical progression. Pharmacogenomic analysis of CRC cells that had acquired resistance to cetuximab reveals that upon antibody withdrawal KRAS clones decay, whereas the population regains drug sensitivity. ctDNA profiles of individuals who benefit from multiple challenges with anti-EGFR antibodies exhibit pulsatile levels of mutant KRAS. These results indicate that the CRC genome adapts dynamically to intermittent drug schedules and provide a molecular explanation for the efficacy of rechallenge therapies based on EGFR blockade.


PubMed | Fondazione Instituto Firc Fondazione Italiana Per La Ricerca Sul Cancro Of Oncologia Molecolare, Italian National Cancer Institute and Candiolo Cancer Institute Fondazione Piemontese per lOncologia FPO
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Nature medicine | Year: 2016

Cetuximab is a monoclonal antibody that is effective in the treatment of metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). Cetuximab blocks epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-ligand interaction and inhibits downstream RAS-ERK activation. However, only some activating mutations in RAS affect cetuximab efficacy, and it is not clear what else mediates treatment success. Here we hypothesized that cetuximab induces immunogenic cell death (ICD) that activates a potent antitumor response. We found that cetuximab, in combination with chemotherapy, fostered ICD in CRC cells, which we measured via the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress response and an increase in phagocytosis by dendritic cells. ICD induction depended on the mutational status of the EGFR signaling pathway and on the inhibition of the splicing of X-box binding protein 1 (XBP1), an unfolded protein response (UPR) mediator. We confirmed the enhanced immunogenicity elicited by cetuximab in a mouse model of human EGFR-expressing CRC. Overall, we demonstrate a new, immune-related mechanism of action of cetuximab that may help to tailor personalized medicine.


Hata A.N.,Massachusetts General Hospital | Hata A.N.,Harvard University | Niederst M.J.,Massachusetts General Hospital | Niederst M.J.,Harvard University | And 39 more authors.
Nature Medicine | Year: 2016

Although mechanisms of acquired resistance of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mutant non-small-cell lung cancers to EGFR inhibitors have been identified, little is known about how resistant clones evolve during drug therapy. Here we observe that acquired resistance caused by the EGFR T790M gatekeeper mutation can occur either by selection of pre-existing EGFR T790M -positive clones or via genetic evolution of initially EGFR T790M -negative drug-tolerant cells. The path to resistance impacts the biology of the resistant clone, as those that evolved from drug-tolerant cells had a diminished apoptotic response to third-generation EGFR inhibitors that target EGFR T790M; treatment with navitoclax, an inhibitor of the anti-apoptotic factors BCL-xL and BCL-2 restored sensitivity. We corroborated these findings using cultures derived directly from EGFR inhibitor-resistant patient tumors. These findings provide evidence that clinically relevant drug-resistant cancer cells can both pre-exist and evolve from drug-tolerant cells, and they point to therapeutic opportunities to prevent or overcome resistance in the clinic. © 2016 Nature America, Inc.


PubMed | University of Pittsburgh, Duke University, Niguarda Cancer Center, Harvard University and Candiolo Cancer Institute Fondazione Piemontese per lOncologia FPO
Type: | Journal: Nature communications | Year: 2015

Molecular targeted drugs are clinically effective anti-cancer therapies. However, tumours treated with single agents usually develop resistance. Here we use colorectal cancer (CRC) as a model to study how the acquisition of resistance to EGFR-targeted therapies can be restrained. Pathway-oriented genetic screens reveal that CRC cells escape from EGFR blockade by downstream activation of RAS-MEK signalling. Following treatment of CRC cells with anti-EGFR, anti-MEK or the combination of the two drugs, we find that EGFR blockade alone triggers acquired resistance in weeks, while combinatorial treatment does not induce resistance. In patient-derived xenografts, EGFR-MEK combination prevents the development of resistance. We employ mathematical modelling to provide a quantitative understanding of the dynamics of response and resistance to these single and combination therapies. Mechanistically, we find that the EGFR-MEK Combo blockade triggers Bcl-2 and Mcl-1 downregulation and initiates apoptosis. These results provide the rationale for clinical trials aimed at preventing rather than intercepting resistance.

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