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Ref Type Journal Article
PMID (27297867)
Authors Peh J, Fan TM, Wycislo KL, Roth HS, Hergenrother PJ
Title The Combination of Vemurafenib and Procaspase-3 Activation Is Synergistic in Mutant BRAF Melanomas.
Journal Molecular cancer therapeutics
Vol 15
Issue 8
Date 2016 Aug
Abstract Text The development of vemurafenib resistance limits the long-term efficacy of this drug for treatment of metastatic melanomas with the (V600E)BRAF mutation. Inhibition of downstream MAPK signaling with vemurafenib induces apoptotic cell death mediated by caspase-3, suggesting that addition of a procaspase-3 activator could enhance anticancer effects. Here, we show that the combination of PAC-1, a procaspase-activating compound, and vemurafenib is highly synergistic in enhancing caspase-3 activity and apoptotic cell death in melanoma cell lines harboring the (V600E)BRAF mutation. In vivo, the combination displays a favorable safety profile in mice and exerts significant antitumor effects. We further demonstrate that addition of PAC-1 to the clinically useful combination of vemurafenib and a MEK inhibitor, trametinib, starkly enhances the caspase-3 activity and proapoptotic effect of the combination. Moreover, addition of low concentration PAC-1 also delays the regrowth of cells following treatment with vemurafenib. Finally, PAC-1 remains potent against vemurafenib-resistant A375VR cells in cell culture and synergizes with vemurafenib to exert antitumor effects on A375VR cell growth in vivo Collectively, our data suggest that inhibition of MAPK signaling combined with concurrent procaspase-3 activation is an effective strategy to enhance the antitumor activity of vemurafenib and mitigate the development of resistance. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(8); 1859-69. ©2016 AACR.


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Molecular Profile Treatment Approach
Gene Name Source Synonyms Protein Domains Gene Description Gene Role
Therapy Name Drugs Efficacy Evidence Clinical Trials
PAC-1 PAC-1 0 1
Drug Name Trade Name Synonyms Drug Classes Drug Description
PAC-1 VO-100 PAC-1 is a small molecule activator of procaspase 3, which occurs via inhibition of zinc ions, resulting in autoactivation and thus, may lead to apoptotis and anti-tumor activity (PMID: 19281821, PMID: 27297867).
Gene Variant Impact Protein Effect Variant Description Associated with drug Resistance
Molecular Profile Indication/Tumor Type Response Type Therapy Name Approval Status Evidence Type Efficacy Evidence References
BRAF V600E melanoma sensitive PAC-1 + Trametinib + Vemurafenib Preclinical - Cell culture Actionable In a preclinical study, the addition of PAC-1 to Mekinist (trametinib) and Zelboraf (vemurafenib) led to greater levels of caspase-3 activity and apoptosis in melanoma cells harboring BRAF V600E when compared to Zelboraf (vemurafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib) treatment without PAC-1 (PMID: 27297867). 27297867
BRAF V600E melanoma sensitive PAC-1 + Vemurafenib Preclinical - Cell line xenograft Actionable In a preclinical study, the combination of PAC-1 and Zelboraf (vemurafenib) resulted in a synergistic effect when treating melanoma cells harboring BRAF V600E in culture and xenograft models, demonstrating increased apoptosis and decreased tumor volume (PMID: 27297867). 27297867