Identification of Pharmacodynamic Transcript Biomarkers in Response to FGFR Inhibition by AZD4547

Mol Cancer Ther. 2016 Nov;15(11):2802-2813. doi: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-16-0297. Epub 2016 Aug 22.


The challenge of developing effective pharmacodynamic biomarkers for preclinical and clinical testing of FGFR signaling inhibition is significant. Assays that rely on the measurement of phospho-protein epitopes can be limited by the availability of effective antibody detection reagents. Transcript profiling enables accurate quantification of many biomarkers and provides a broader representation of pathway modulation. To identify dynamic transcript biomarkers of FGFR signaling inhibition by AZD4547, a potent inhibitor of FGF receptors 1, 2, and 3, a gene expression profiling study was performed in FGFR2-amplified, drug-sensitive tumor cell lines. Consistent with known signaling pathways activated by FGFR, we identified transcript biomarkers downstream of the RAS-MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways. Using different tumor cell lines in vitro and xenografts in vivo, we confirmed that some of these transcript biomarkers (DUSP6, ETV5, YPEL2) were modulated downstream of oncogenic FGFR1, 2, 3, whereas others showed selective modulation only by FGFR2 signaling (EGR1). These transcripts showed consistent time-dependent modulation, corresponding to the plasma exposure of AZD4547 and inhibition of phosphorylation of the downstream signaling molecules FRS2 or ERK. Combination of FGFR and AKT inhibition in an FGFR2-mutated endometrial cancer xenograft model enhanced modulation of transcript biomarkers from the PI3K/AKT pathway and tumor growth inhibition. These biomarkers were detected on the clinically validated nanoString platform. Taken together, these data identified novel dynamic transcript biomarkers of FGFR inhibition that were validated in a number of in vivo models, and which are more robustly modulated by FGFR inhibition than some conventional downstream signaling protein biomarkers. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(11); 2802-13. ©2016 AACR.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Benzamides / pharmacology*
  • Biomarkers
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cluster Analysis
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Female
  • Gene Amplification
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation / drug effects*
  • Heterografts
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Piperazines / pharmacology*
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology*
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / genetics
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor / metabolism
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Transcriptome*


  • AZD4547
  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Benzamides
  • Biomarkers
  • Piperazines
  • Pyrazoles
  • Receptors, Fibroblast Growth Factor