Purpose: We describe the preclinical pharmacology and antitumor activity of GDC-0068, a novel highly selective ATP-competitive pan-Akt inhibitor currently in clinical trials for the treatment of human cancers.
Experimental design: The effect of GDC-0068 on Akt signaling was characterized using specific biomarkers of the Akt pathway, and response to GDC-0068 was evaluated in human cancer cell lines and xenograft models with various genetic backgrounds, either as a single agent or in combination with chemotherapeutic agents.
Results: GDC-0068 blocked Akt signaling both in cultured human cancer cell lines and in tumor xenograft models as evidenced by dose-dependent decrease in phosphorylation of downstream targets. Inhibition of Akt activity by GDC-0068 resulted in blockade of cell-cycle progression and reduced viability of cancer cell lines. Markers of Akt activation, including high-basal phospho-Akt levels, PTEN loss, and PIK3CA kinase domain mutations, correlate with sensitivity to GDC-0068. Isogenic PTEN knockout also sensitized MCF10A cells to GDC-0068. In multiple tumor xenograft models, oral administration of GDC-0068 resulted in antitumor activity ranging from tumor growth delay to regression. Consistent with the role of Akt in a survival pathway, GDC-0068 also enhanced antitumor activity of classic chemotherapeutic agents.
Conclusions: GDC-0068 is a highly selective, orally bioavailable Akt kinase inhibitor that shows pharmacodynamic inhibition of Akt signaling and robust antitumor activity in human cancer cells in vitro and in vivo. Our preclinical data provide a strong mechanistic rationale to evaluate GDC-0068 in cancers with activated Akt signaling.