Rearrangement of the neurotrophic tropomyosin receptor kinase 1 (NTRK1) gene, which encodes tyrosine receptor kinase A (TRK-A), occurs in various cancers, including colon cancer. Although entrectinib is effective in the treatment of central nervous system (CNS) metastases that express NTRK1 fusion proteins, acquired resistance inevitably results in recurrence. CNS is a sanctuary for targeted drugs; however, the mechanism by which CNS metastases become entrectinib-resistant remains elusive and must be clarified to develop better therapeutics.
The entrectinib-resistant cell line KM12SM-ER was developed by continuous treatment with entrectinib in the brain metastasis-mimicking model inoculated with the entrectinib-sensitive human colon cancer cell line KM12SM, which harbors the TPM3-NTRK1 gene fusion. The mechanism of entrectinib resistance in KM12SM-ER cells was examined by next-generation sequencing. Compounds that overcame entrectinib resistance were screened from a library of 122 kinase inhibitors.
KM12SM-ER cells, which showed moderate resistance to entrectinib in vitro, had acquired the G667C mutation in NTRK1. The kinase inhibitor foretinib inhibited TRK-A phosphorylation and the viability of KM12SM-ER cells bearing the NTRK1-G667C mutation in vitro. Docking-simulated models based on the crystal structures of the foretinib/EphA2 and entrectinib/Alk complexes support the inhibitory effects of foretinib and entrectinib on the wild-type and G667C mutant of TRK-A. Moreover, foretinib markedly inhibited the progression of entrectinib-refractory KM12SM-ER-derived liver metastases and brain tumors in animal models, predominantly through inhibition of TRK-A phosphorylation.
These results suggest that foretinib may be effective in overcoming entrectinib resistance associated with the NTRK1-G667C mutation in NTRK1 fusion-positive tumors in various organs, including the brain, and provide a rationale for clinical trials of foretinib in cancer patients with entrectinib-resistant tumors harboring the NTRK1-G667C mutation, including patients with brain metastases.
Clinical trial identification
Legal entity responsible for the study
Japan Agency for Medical Research and Development (AMED) and JSPS KAKENHI.
All authors have declared no conflicts of interest.