Implementing Patient-Derived Xenografts to Assess the Effectiveness of Cyclin-Dependent Kinase Inhibitors in Glioblastoma

Cancers (Basel). 2019 Dec 12;11(12):2005. doi: 10.3390/cancers11122005.


Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common primary brain tumor with no available cure. As previously described, seliciclib, a first-generation cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK) inhibitor, down-regulates the anti-apoptotic protein, Mcl-1, in GBM, thereby sensitizing GBM cells to the apoptosis-inducing effects of the death receptor ligand, tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL). Here, we have assessed the efficacy of seliciclib when delivered in combination with the antibody against human death receptor 5, drozitumab, in clinically relevant patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of GBM. A reduction in viability and significant levels of apoptosis were observed in vitro in human GBM neurospheres following treatment with seliciclib plus drozitumab. While the co-treatment strategy induced a similar effect in PDX models, the dosing regimen required to observe seliciclib-targeted responses in the brain, resulted in lethal toxicity in 45% of animals. Additional studies showed that the second-generation CDK inhibitor, CYC065, with improved potency in comparison to seliciclib, induced a significant decrease in the size of human GBM neurospheres in vitro and was well tolerated in vivo, upon administration at clinically relevant doses. This study highlights the continued need for robust pre-clinical assessment of promising treatment approaches using clinically relevant models.

Keywords: CDK inhibitors; CYC065; TRAIL; drozitumab; glioblastoma; neurospheres; patient-derived xenograft; seliciclib.