Background: Gastrin has a role in gastrointestinal (GI) malignancy. This study provides pre-clinical evaluation of a novel, orally-active gastrin/cholecystokinin-2 receptor (CCK-2R) antagonist, Z-360.
Methods: (125)I gastrin-17 (G17) displacement and G17-stimulated calcium assays were used in classical CCK-2R-transfected cell lines. Akt phosphorylation was assessed by Western blotting. Z-360 efficacy in vivo was evaluated in three human xenograft models, and microvessel density and apoptosis in these models were investigated by immunohistochemistry.
Results: Z-360 inhibited (125)I G17 binding to cells expressing CCK-2R, and G17-stimulated signalling. Reduced Akt phosphorylation in an oesophageal cell-line treated with Z-360 was reversed by co-treatment with G17. Z-360 increased survival in a gastric ascites model (p=0.011) and decreased tumour growth in a hepatic metastasis model (81%, p=0.02). In an orthotopic pancreatic model, Z-360 combined with gemcitabine decreased final tumour weight compared to single agents (84%, p=0.002) and there was increased apoptosis and decreased microvessel density in ex vivo tumour tissue.
Conclusions: These results show that the orally-active CCK-2R antagonist, Z-360 has high sub-nM affinity for classical CCK-2R, is well tolerated in vivo and exerts an anti-tumour effect.