Activated HER2 is a promising therapeutic target for various cancers. Although several reports have described HER2 inhibitors in development, no covalent-binding inhibitor selective for HER2 has been reported. Here, we report a novel compound TAS0728 that covalently binds to HER2 at C805 and selectively inhibits its kinase activity. Once TAS0728 bound to HER2 kinase, the inhibitory activity was not affected by a high ATP concentration. A kinome-wide biochemical panel and cellular assays established that TAS0728 possesses high specificity for HER2 over wild-type EGFR. Cellular pharmacodynamics assays using MCF10A cells engineered to express various mutated HER2 genes revealed that TAS0728 potently inhibited the phosphorylation of mutated HER2 and wild-type HER2. Furthermore, TAS0728 exhibited robust and sustained inhibition of the phosphorylation of HER2, HER3, and downstream effectors, thereby inducing apoptosis of HER2-amplified breast cancer cells and in tumor tissues of a xenograft model. TAS0728 induced tumor regression in mouse xenograft models bearing HER2 signal-dependent tumors and exhibited a survival benefit without any evident toxicity in a peritoneal dissemination mouse model bearing HER2-driven cancer cells. Taken together, our results demonstrated that TAS0728 may offer a promising therapeutic option with improved efficacy as compared with current HER2 inhibitors for HER2-activated cancers. Assessment of TAS0728 in ongoing clinical trials is awaited (NCT03410927).
©2019 American Association for Cancer Research.