Lenvatinib is an oral multikinase inhibitor that selectively inhibits vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) receptors 1 to 3 and other proangiogenic and oncogenic pathway-related receptor tyrosine kinases. To elucidate the origin of the potency of lenvatinib in VEGF receptor 2 (VEGFR2) inhibition, we conducted a kinetic interaction analysis of lenvatinib with VEGFR2 and X-ray analysis of the crystal structure of VEGFR2-lenvatinib complexes. Kinetic analysis revealed that lenvatinib had a rapid association rate constant and a relatively slow dissociation rate constant in complex with VEGFR2. Co-crystal structure analysis demonstrated that lenvatinib binds at its ATP mimetic quinoline moiety to the ATP binding site and to the neighboring region via a cyclopropane ring, adopting an Asp-Phe-Gly (DFG)-"in" conformation. These results suggest that lenvatinib is very distinct in its binding mode of interaction compared to the several approved VEGFR2 kinase inhibitors.
Keywords: Receptor tyrosine kinase; VEGFR2; X-ray crystallography; kinase inhibitor; kinetic interaction analysis.