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Survey of ex vivo drug combination effects in chronic lymphocytic leukemia reveals synergistic drug effects and genetic dependencies


Lukas, Marina; Velten, Britta; Sellner, Leopold; Tomska, Katarzyna; Hüellein, Jennifer; Walther, Tatjana; Wagner, Lena; Muley, Carolin; Wu, Bian; Oleś, Małgorzata; Dietrich, Sascha; Jethwa, Alexander; Bohnenberger, Hanibal; Lu, Junyan; Huber, Wolfgang; Zenz, Thorsten (2020). Survey of ex vivo drug combination effects in chronic lymphocytic leukemia reveals synergistic drug effects and genetic dependencies. Leukemia:Epub ahead of print.

Abstract

Drug combinations that target critical pathways are a mainstay of cancer care. To improve current approaches to combination treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and gain insights into the underlying biology, we studied the effect of 352 drug combination pairs in multiple concentrations by analysing ex vivo drug response of 52 primary CLL samples, which were characterized by "omics" profiling. Known synergistic interactions were confirmed for B-cell receptor (BCR) inhibitors with Bcl-2 inhibitors and with chemotherapeutic drugs, suggesting that this approach can identify clinically useful combinations. Moreover, we uncovered synergistic interactions between BCR inhibitors and afatinib, which we attribute to BCR activation by afatinib through BLK upstream of BTK and PI3K. Combinations of multiple inhibitors of BCR components (e.g., BTK, PI3K, SYK) had effects similar to the single agents. While PI3K and BTK inhibitors produced overall similar effects in combinations with other drugs, we uncovered a larger response heterogeneity of combinations including PI3K inhibitors, predominantly in CLL with mutated IGHV, which we attribute to the target's position within the BCR-signaling pathway. Taken together, our study shows that drug combination effects can be effectively queried in primary cancer cells, which could aid discovery, triage and clinical development of drug combinations.

Abstract

Drug combinations that target critical pathways are a mainstay of cancer care. To improve current approaches to combination treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and gain insights into the underlying biology, we studied the effect of 352 drug combination pairs in multiple concentrations by analysing ex vivo drug response of 52 primary CLL samples, which were characterized by "omics" profiling. Known synergistic interactions were confirmed for B-cell receptor (BCR) inhibitors with Bcl-2 inhibitors and with chemotherapeutic drugs, suggesting that this approach can identify clinically useful combinations. Moreover, we uncovered synergistic interactions between BCR inhibitors and afatinib, which we attribute to BCR activation by afatinib through BLK upstream of BTK and PI3K. Combinations of multiple inhibitors of BCR components (e.g., BTK, PI3K, SYK) had effects similar to the single agents. While PI3K and BTK inhibitors produced overall similar effects in combinations with other drugs, we uncovered a larger response heterogeneity of combinations including PI3K inhibitors, predominantly in CLL with mutated IGHV, which we attribute to the target's position within the BCR-signaling pathway. Taken together, our study shows that drug combination effects can be effectively queried in primary cancer cells, which could aid discovery, triage and clinical development of drug combinations.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Oncology and Hematology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Scopus Subject Areas:Health Sciences > Hematology
Health Sciences > Oncology
Life Sciences > Cancer Research
Language:English
Date:13 May 2020
Deposited On:22 May 2020 15:14
Last Modified:23 May 2020 20:00
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:0887-6924
OA Status:Closed
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1038/s41375-020-0846-5
PubMed ID:32404973

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