Purpose: Currently, an optimal therapeutic strategy comprising molecularly targeted agents for treating EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients with acquired resistance to osimertinib is not available. Therefore, the initial therapeutic intervention is crucial for the prolonged survival of these patients. The activation of anexelekto (AXL) signaling is known to be associated with intrinsic and acquired resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs). In this study, we investigated the best therapeutic strategy to combat AXL-induced tolerance to EGFR-TKIs using the novel AXL inhibitor ONO-7475.
Experimental design: We examined the efficacy of ONO-7475 in combination with EGFR-TKIs in EGFR-mutated NSCLC cells using in vitro and in vivo experiments. We investigated the correlation between AXL expression in tumors and clinical outcomes with osimertinib for EGFR-mutated NSCLC patients with acquired resistance to initial EGFR-TKIs.
Results: ONO-7475 sensitized AXL-overexpressing EGFR-mutant NSCLC cells to the EGFR-TKIs osimertinib and dacomitinib. In addition, ONO-7475 suppressed the emergence and maintenance of EGFR-TKI-tolerant cells. In the cell line-derived xenograft models of AXL-overexpressing EGFR-mutated lung cancer treated with osimertinib, initial combination therapy of ONO-7475 and osimertinib markedly regressed tumors and delayed tumor regrowth compared with osimertinib alone or the combination after acquired resistance to osimertinib. AXL expression in EGFR-TKI refractory tumors did not correlate with the sensitivity of osimertinib.
Conclusions: These results demonstrate that ONO-7475 suppresses the emergence and maintenance of tolerant cells to the initial EGFR-TKIs, osimertinib or dacomitinib, in AXL-overexpressing EGFR-mutated NSCLC cells, suggesting that ONO-7475 and osimertinib is a highly potent combination for initial treatment.
©2020 American Association for Cancer Research.