Differential activity of ATR and WEE1 inhibitors in a highly sensitive subpopulation of DLBCL linked to replication stress.

A new interesting article has been published in Cancer Res. 2019 May 23. pii: canres.2480.2018. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-18-2480. and titled:

Differential activity of ATR and WEE1 inhibitors in a highly sensitive subpopulation of DLBCL linked to replication stress.

Authors of this article are:

Young LA, Oplustil O’Connor L, de Renty C, Veldman-Jones MH, Dorval T, Wilson Z, Jones DR, Lawson D, Odedra R, Maya-Mendoza A, Reimer C, Bartek J, Lau A, O’Connor MJ.

A summary of the article is shown below:

DNA damage checkpoint kinases ATR and WEE1 are among key regulators of DNA damage response pathways protecting cells from replication stress, a hallmark of cancer that has potential to be exploited for therapeutic use. ATR and WEE1 inhibitors are in early clinical trials and success will require greater understanding of both their mechanism of action and biomarkers for patient selection. Here, we report selective anti-tumor activity of ATR and WEE1 inhibitors in a subset of non-Germinal Centre B-Cell (GCB) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cell lines, characterized by high MYC protein expression and CDKN2A/B deletion. Activity correlated with the induction of replication stress, indicated by increased origin firing and retardation of replication fork progression. However, ATR and WEE1 inhibitors caused different amounts of DNA damage and cell death in distinct phases of the cell cycle, underlying the increased potency observed with WEE1 inhibition. ATR inhibition caused DNA damage to manifest as 53BP1 nuclear bodies in daughter G1 cells leading to G1 arrest, whereas WEE1 inhibition caused DNA damage and arrest in S phase, leading to earlier onset apoptosis. In vivo xenograft DLBCL models confirmed differences in single agent anti-tumor activity, but also showed potential for effective ATR inhibitor combinations. Importantly, insights into the different inhibitor mechanisms may guide differentiated clinical development strategies aimed at exploiting specific vulnerabilities of tumor cells while maximizing therapeutic index. Our data therefore highlight clinical development opportunities for both ATR and WEE1 inhibitors in non-GCB DLBCL subtypes that represent an area of unmet clinical need.Copyright ©2019, American Association for Cancer Research.

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