Douglas C. Saffran, Melinda A. L. Day, Nathalie Rioux, Tom Chen, Christina Lee, Suha Naffar-Abu Amara, David B. Freeman, Tressa Hood, Charles Y. Lin, Pavan Kumar, Jorge DiMartino
KB-0742 is an orally available, potent, and selective inhibitor of cyclin-dependent kinase 9 (CDK9). Sensitivity profiling across a panel of 800 adherent and suspension immortalized pan-cancer cell lines using the Broad Institute PRISM platform had previously demonstrated MYC amplification as being a driver of KB-0742 sensitivity. We sought to further determine the activity of KB-0742 in breast cancer cell lines, patient-derived cell and organoid cultures, and patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models. KB-0742 decreased the viability of cell lines derived from primary and metastatic breast cancers, including triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs). In a panel of 17 breast cancer cell lines, including 2 human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-positive (HER2+), 7 estrogen-receptor positive (ER+), 1 HER2+/ER+ and 7 TNBCs, the effect of KB-0742 on viability was either cytostatic or cytotoxic over the duration of the culture period. KB-0742 was also tested in patient-derived cell lines derived from primary and metastatic tumors including TNBC, and in 2 TNBC MYC-high expressing patient-derived organoid cultures. KB-0742 demonstrated cytostatic and cytotoxic effects on cell growth and superior inhibitory effects on cell growth in the TNBC organoid cultures as compared with paclitaxel and gemcitabine. Since sensitivity to KB-0742 was observed in breast cancer cell lines and patient-derived models, including TNBCs, we evaluated efficacy and target engagement in several MYC-high expressing TNBC PDX animal models. Treatment with KB-0742 using an intermittent dosing schedule (3-days on/4-days off) was well tolerated and resulted in anti-tumor activity comparable to that observed with standard of care chemotherapeutic agents. Tumors collected at 2 and 8 hours post-final dose displayed a decrease in phosphorylated serine residue 2 (pSER2) in the C-terminal domain of RNA polymerase II (RNA pol-II) and decreased MYC protein levels consistent with CDK9 inhibition.
These data demonstrate the efficacy of KB-0742 in preclinical models of breast cancer and supports clinical testing in TNBC patients. KB-0742 is currently being evaluated in a phase I dose-escalation trial in patients with relapsed or refractory solid tumors or non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NCT04718675).
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