Background: Activating mutations or structural rearrangements in BRAF are identified in roughly 75% of all pediatric low-grade astrocytomas (PLGAs). However, first-generation RAF inhibitors approved for adult melanoma have poor blood-brain penetrance and are only effective on tumors that express the canonical BRAFV600E oncoprotein, which functions as a monomer. These drugs (type I antagonists that target the "DFG-in" conformation of the kinase) fail to block signaling via KIAA1549:BRAF, a truncation/fusion BRAF oncoprotein which functions as a dimer and is found in the most common form of PLGA.
Methods: A panel of small molecule RAF inhibitors (including type II inhibitors, targeting the "DFG-out" conformation of the kinase) was screened for drugs showing efficacy on murine models of PLGA and on authentic human PLGA cells expressing KIAA1549:BRAF.
Results: We identify a type II RAF inhibitor that serves as an equipotent antagonist of BRAFV600E, KIAA1549:BRAF, and other noncanonical BRAF oncoproteins that function as dimers. This drug (MLN2480, also known as TAK-580) has good brain penetrance and is active on authentic human PLGA cells in brain organotypic cultures.
Conclusion: MLN2480 may be an effective therapeutic for BRAF mutant pediatric astrocytomas.
Keywords: MLN2480; RAF dimers; pediatric low-grade astrocytoma.
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