Purpose: Uveal melanoma (UM) is uniformly refractory to all available systemic chemotherapies, thus creating an urgent need for novel therapeutics. In this study, we investigated the sensitivity of UM cells to ICG-001, a small molecule reported to suppress the Wnt/β-catenin-mediated transcriptional program.
Methods: We used a panel of UM cell lines to examine the effects of ICG-001 on cellular proliferation, migration, and gene expression. In vivo efficacy of ICG-001 was evaluated in a UM xenograft model.
Results: ICG-001 exerted strong antiproliferative activity against UM cells, leading to cell cycle arrest, apoptosis, and inhibition of migration. Global gene expression profiling revealed strong suppression of genes associated with cell cycle proliferation, DNA replication, and G1/S transition. Gene set enrichment analysis revealed that ICG-001 suppressed Wnt, mTOR, and MAPK signaling. Strikingly, ICG-001 suppressed the expression of genes associated with UM aggressiveness, including CDH1, CITED1, EMP1, EMP3, SDCBP, and SPARC. Notably, the transcriptomic footprint of ICG-001, when applied to a UM patient dataset, was associated with better clinical outcome. Lastly, ICG-001 exerted anticancer activity against a UM tumor xenograft in mice.
Conclusions: Using in vitro and in vivo experiments, we demonstrate that ICG-001 has strong anticancer activity against UM cells and suppresses transcriptional programs critical for the cancer cell. Our results suggest that ICG-001 holds promise and should be examined further as a novel therapeutic agent for UM.