AL101, a gamma-secretase inhibitor, has potent antitumor activity against adenoid cystic carcinoma with activated NOTCH signaling

Cell Death Dis. 2022 Aug 5;13(8):678. doi: 10.1038/s41419-022-05133-9.


Adenoid cystic carcinoma (ACC) is an aggressive salivary gland malignancy with limited treatment options for recurrent or metastatic disease. Due to chemotherapy resistance and lack of targeted therapeutic approaches, current treatment options for the localized disease are limited to surgery and radiation, which fails to prevent locoregional recurrences and distant metastases in over 50% of patients. Approximately 20% of patients with ACC carry NOTCH-activating mutations that are associated with a distinct phenotype, aggressive disease, and poor prognosis. Given the role of NOTCH signaling in regulating tumor cell behavior, NOTCH inhibitors represent an attractive potential therapeutic strategy for this subset of ACC. AL101 (osugacestat) is a potent γ-secretase inhibitor that prevents activation of all four NOTCH receptors. While this investigational new drug has demonstrated antineoplastic activity in several preclinical cancer models and in patients with advanced solid malignancies, we are the first to study the therapeutic benefit of AL101 in ACC. Here, we describe the antitumor activity of AL101 using ACC cell lines, organoids, and patient-derived xenograft models. Specifically, we find that AL101 has potent antitumor effects in in vitro and in vivo models of ACC with activating NOTCH1 mutations and constitutively upregulated NOTCH signaling pathway, providing a strong rationale for evaluation of AL101 in clinical trials for patients with NOTCH-driven relapsed/refractory ACC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases / metabolism
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic* / drug therapy
  • Carcinoma, Adenoid Cystic* / genetics
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Neoplasm Recurrence, Local
  • Receptors, Notch / metabolism
  • Salivary Gland Neoplasms* / genetics
  • Signal Transduction


  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Receptors, Notch
  • Amyloid Precursor Protein Secretases