Purpose: Crizotinib, the first FDA-approved ALK inhibitor, showed significant antitumor activity in young patients with anaplastic large-cell lymphoma (ALCL) frequently displaying ALK rearrangement. However, long-term therapeutic benefits of crizotinib are limited due to development of drug resistance. CH5424802--more potent and selective ALK inhibitor--comprises a good candidate for second-line treatment in crizotinib-relapsed patients. The aim of this study was to determine possible mechanisms of resistance to ALK inhibitors that can appear in ALCL patients.
Methods: ALK+ ALCL cell lines resistant to crizotinib (Karpas299CR) and to CH5424802 (Karpas299CHR) were established by long-term exposure of Karpas299 cells to these inhibitors. Next, alterations in their sensitivity to ALK, HSP90 and mTOR inhibitors were investigated by cell viability and BrdU incorporation assays and immunoblot analysis.
Results: cDNA sequencing of ALK kinase domain revealed activating mutations-I1171T in Karpas299CR and F1174C in Karpas299CHR. The resistant cells displayed diminished sensitivity to structurally unrelated ALK inhibitors-crizotinib, CH5424802 and TAE684. Nevertheless, CH5424802 and TAE684 were still more potent against the resistant cells than crizotinib. Moreover, Karpas299CR and Karpas299CHR cells remained sensitive to HSP90 or mTOR inhibitors.
Conclusions: Resistance mediated by activating mutations in ALK kinase domain may emerge in ALCL patients during ALK inhibitors treatment. However, more potent second-generation ALK inhibitors, HSP90 or mTOR inhibitors may represent an effective therapy for relapsed ALK+ ALCL patients.