FDA-approved BRAF inhibitors produce high response rates and improve overall survival in patients with BRAF V600E/K-mutant melanoma, but are linked to pathologies associated with paradoxical ERK1/2 activation in wild-type BRAF cells. To overcome this limitation, a next-generation paradox-breaking RAF inhibitor (PLX8394) has been designed. Here, we show that by using a quantitative reporter assay, PLX8394 rapidly suppressed ERK1/2 reporter activity and growth of mutant BRAF melanoma xenografts. Ex vivo treatment of xenografts and use of a patient-derived explant system (PDeX) revealed that PLX8394 suppressed ERK1/2 signaling and elicited apoptosis more effectively than the FDA-approved BRAF inhibitor, vemurafenib. Furthermore, PLX8394 was efficacious against vemurafenibresistant BRAF splice variant-expressing tumors and reduced splice variant homodimerization. Importantly, PLX8394 did not induce paradoxical activation of ERK1/2 in wild-type BRAF cell lines or PDeX. Continued in vivo dosing of xenografts with PLX8394 led to the development of acquired resistance via ERK1/2 reactivation through heterogeneous mechanisms; however, resistant cells were found to have differential sensitivity to ERK1/2 inhibitor. These findings highlight the efficacy of a paradox-breaking selective BRAF inhibitor and the use of PDeX system to test the efficacy of therapeutic agents. © 2017 American Association for Cancer Research.
Hartsough, Edward J.; Kugel, Curtis H.; Vido, Michael J.; Berger, Adam C.; Purwin, Timothy J.; Goldberg, Allison F.; Davies, Michael A.; Schiewer, Matthew J.; Knudsen, Karen E.; Bollag, Gideon; and Aplin, Andrew E., "Response and Resistance to Paradox-Breaking BRAF Inhibitor in Melanomas" (2018). Department of Cancer Biology Faculty Papers. Paper 147.