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Preclinical drug screen reveals topotecan, actinomycin D, and volasertib as potential new therapeutic candidates for ETMR brain tumor patients.

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Published:29th Nov 2017
Author: Schmidt C, Schubert NA, Brabetz S, Mack N, Schwalm B, Chan JA et al.
Source: Neuro-Oncology
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Ref.:Neuro Oncol. 2017;19(12):1607-1617.
DOI:10.1093/neuonc/nox093

Background: Embryonal tumor with multilayered rosettes (ETMR) is a rare and aggressive embryonal brain tumor that solely occurs in infants and young children and has only recently been recognized as a separate brain tumor entity in the World Health Organization classification for CNS tumors. Patients have a very dismal prognosis with a median survival of 12 months upon diagnosis despite aggressive treatment. The aim of this study was to develop novel treatment regimens in a preclinical drug screen in order to inform potentially more active clinical trial protocols.

Methods: We have carried out an in vitro and in vivo drug screen using the ETMR cell line BT183 and its xenograft model. Furthermore, we have generated the first patient-derived xenograft (PDX) model for ETMR and evaluated our top drug candidates in an in vitro drug screen using this model.

Results: BT183 cells are very sensitive to the topoisomerase inhibitors topotecan and doxorubicin, to the epigenetic agents decitabine and panobinostat, to actinomycin D, and to targeted drugs such as the polo-like kinase 1 (PLK1) inhibitor volasertib, the aurora kinase A inhibitor alisertib, and the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor MLN0128. In xenograft mice, monotherapy with topotecan, volasertib, and actinomycin D led to a temporary response in tumor growth and a significant increase in survival. Finally, using multi-agent treatment regimens of topotecan or doxorubicin combined with methotrexate and vincristine, the response in tumor growth and survival was further increased compared with mice receiving single treatments.

Conclusions: We have identified several promising candidates for combination therapies in future clinical trials for ETMR patients.

 

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