Anti-tumour efficacy on glioma models of PHA-848125, a multi-kinase inhibitor able to cross the blood-brain barrier

Br J Pharmacol. 2013 May;169(1):156-66. doi: 10.1111/bph.12112.


Background and purpose: Malignant gliomas, the most common primary brain tumours, are highly invasive and neurologically destructive neoplasms with a very bad prognosis due to the difficulty in removing the mass completely by surgery and the limited activity of current therapeutic agents. PHA-848125 is a multi-kinase inhibitor with broad anti-tumour activity in pre-clinical studies and good tolerability in phase 1 studies, which could affect two main pathways involved in glioma pathogenesis, the G1-S phase progression control pathway through the inhibition of cyclin-dependent kinases and the signalling pathways mediated by tyrosine kinase growth factor receptors, such as tropomyosin receptors. For this reason, we tested PHA-848125 in glioma models.

Experimental approach: PHA-848125 was tested on a panel of glioma cell lines in vitro to evaluate inhibition of proliferation and mechanism of action. In vivo efficacy was evaluated on two glioma models both as single agent and in combination with standard therapy.

Key results: When tested on a subset of representative glioma cell lines, PHA-848125 blocked cell proliferation, DNA synthesis and inhibited both cell cycle and signal transduction markers. Relevantly, PHA-848125 was also able to induce cell death through autophagy in all cell lines. Good anti-tumour efficacy was observed by oral route in different glioma models both with s.c. and intracranial implantation. Indeed, we demonstrate that the drug is able to cross the blood-brain barrier. Moreover, the combination of PHA-848125 with temozolomide resulted in a synergistic effect, and a clear therapeutic gain was also observed with a triple treatment adding PHA-848125 to radiotherapy and temozolomide.

Conclusions and implications: All the pre-clinical data obtained so far suggest that PHA-848125 may become a useful agent in chemotherapy regimens for glioma patients and support its evaluation in phase 2 trials for this indication.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacokinetics
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology
  • Blood-Brain Barrier / metabolism
  • Brain Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Dacarbazine / analogs & derivatives
  • Dacarbazine / pharmacology
  • Drug Synergism
  • Glioma / drug therapy*
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacokinetics
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacokinetics
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology*
  • Quinazolines / pharmacokinetics
  • Quinazolines / pharmacology*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Temozolomide
  • Xenograft Model Antitumor Assays


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • N,1,4,4-tetramethyl-8-((4-(4-methylpiperazin-1-yl)phenyl)amino)-4,5-dihydro-1H-pyrazolo(4,3-h)quinazoline-3-carboxamide
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrazoles
  • Quinazolines
  • Dacarbazine
  • Temozolomide