Wnt5a induces ROR1 to associate with 14-3-3ζ for enhanced chemotaxis and proliferation of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells.

Abstract

Wnt5a can activate Rho GTPases in chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells by inducing the recruitment of ARHGEF2 to ROR1. Mass spectrometry on immune-precipitates of Wnt5a-activated ROR1 identified 14-3-3ζ, which was confirmed by co-immunoprecipitation. The capacity of Wnt5a to induce ROR1 to complex with 14-3-3ζ could be blocked in CLL cells treated with cirmtuzumab, a humanized mAb targeting ROR1. Silencing 14-3-3ζ via siRNA impaired the capacity of Wnt5a to: (1) induce recruitment of ARHGEF2 to ROR1, (2) enhance in vitro exchange activity of ARHGEF2, and (3) induce activation of RhoA and Rac1 in CLL cells. Furthermore, CRISPR/Cas9 deletion of 14-3-3ζ in ROR1-negative CLL cell-line MEC1, and in MEC1 cells transfected to express ROR1 (MEC1-ROR1), demonstrated that 14-3-3ζ was necessary for the growth/engraftment advantage of MEC1-ROR1 over MEC1 cells. We identified a binding motif (RSPS857SAS) for 14-3-3ζ on ROR1. Site-directed mutagenesis of ROR1 demonstrated that serine-857 was required for the recruitment of 14-3-3ζ and ARHGEF2 to ROR1, and activation of RhoA and Rac1. Collectively, this study reveals that 14-3-3ζ plays a critical role in Wnt5a/ROR1 signaling leading to enhanced CLL migration and proliferation.Leukemia accepted article preview online, 03 May 2017. doi:10.1038/leu.2017.132.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28465528

Wnt5a induces ROR1 to complex with HS1 to enhance migration of chronic lymphocytic leukemia cells.

Abstract

ROR1 is a conserved, oncoembryonic surface-antigen expressed in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). We found that ROR1 associates with Hematopoietic-lineage-cell-Specific protein 1 (HS1) in freshly-isolated CLL cells or in CLL cells cultured with exogenous Wnt5a. Wnt5a also induced HS1 tyrosine phosphorylation, recruitment of ARHGEF1, activation of RhoA, and enhanced chemokine-directed migration; such effects could be inhibited by cirmtuzumab, a humanized anti-ROR1 mAb. We generated truncated forms of ROR1 and found its extra-cellular cysteine-rich domain or kringle domain was necessary for Wnt5a-induced HS1 phosphorylation. Moreover, the cytoplamic, and more specifically the proline-rich domain (PRD), of ROR1 was required for it to associate with HS1 and allow for F-actin polymerization in response to Wnt5a. Accordingly, we introduced single amino-acid substitutions of proline (P) to alanine (A) in the ROR1 PRD at positions 784, 808, 826, 841, or 850 in potential SH3-binding motifs. In contrast to wild-type ROR1, or other ROR1P⇒A mutants, ROR1P(841)A had impaired capacity to recruit HS1 and ARHGEF1 to ROR1 in response to Wnt5a. Moreover, Wnt5a could not induce cells expressing ROR1P(841)A to phosphorylate HS1 or activate ARHGEF1, and was unable to enhance CLL-cell motility. Collectively, these studies indicate HS1 plays an important role in ROR1-dependent Wnt5a-enhanced chemokine-directed leukemia-cell migration.Leukemia accepted article preview online, 03 May 2017. doi:10.1038/leu.2017.133.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28465529

The long noncoding RNA, treRNA, decreases DNA damage and is associated with poor response to chemotherapy in chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Abstract

The study of long noncoding RNAs (lncRNAs) is an emerging area of cancer research, in part due to their ability to serve as disease biomarkers. However, few studies have investigated lncRNAs in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). We have identified one particular lncRNA, treRNA, which is overexpressed in CLL B-cells. We measured transcript expression in 144 CLL patient samples and separated samples into high or low expression of treRNA relative to the overall median. We found that high expression of treRNA is significantly associated with shorter time to treatment. High treRNA also correlates with poor prognostic indicators such as unmutated IGHV and high ZAP70 protein expression. We validated these initial findings in samples collected in a clinical trial comparing the nucleoside analog fludarabine alone or in combination with the alkylating agent cyclophosphamide in untreated CLL samples collected prior to starting therapy (E2997). High expression of treRNA was independently prognostic for shorter progression free survival in patients receiving fludarabine plus cyclophosphamide. Given these results, in order to study the role of treRNA in DNA damage response we generated a model cell line system where treRNA was over-expressed in the human B-CLL cell line OSU-CLL. Relative to the vector control line, there was less cell death in OSU-CLL over-expressing treRNA after exposure to fludarabine and mafosfamide, due in part to a reduction in DNA damage. Therefore, we suggest that treRNA is a novel biomarker in CLL associated with aggressive disease and poor response to chemotherapy through enhanced protection against cytotoxic mediated DNA damage.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28412730

Use of anticoagulants and antiplatelet in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia treated with single-agent ibrutinib.

Abstract

Bleeding events have been observed among a subgroup of chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) patients treated with ibrutinib. We analysed data from two studies of single-agent ibrutinib to better characterize bleeding events and pattern of anticoagulation and antiplatelet use. Among 327 ibrutinib-treated patients, concomitant anticoagulation (11%) or antiplatelet use (34%) was common, but major bleeding was infrequent (2%). Bleeding events were primarily grade 1, and infrequently (1%) led to discontinuation. Among 175 patients receiving concomitant anticoagulant or antiplatelet agents, 5 had major bleeding events (3%). These events were typically observed in conjunction with other factors, such as coexisting medical conditions and/or concurrent medications.

© 2017 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28397242

Leukemia-cell proliferation and disease progression in patients with early stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia.

Abstract

The clinical course of patients with recently diagnosed early stage chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) is highly variable. We examined the relationship between CLL-cell birth rate and treatment-free survival (TFS) in 97 patients with recently diagnosed, Rai stage 0-II CLL in a blinded, prospective study, using in vivo 2H2O labeling. Birth rates ranged from 0.07-1.31% new cells per day. With median follow-up of 4.0 years, 33 subjects (34%) required treatment by NCI criteria. High birth rate was observed in 44% of subjects and was significantly associated with shorter TFS, unmutated IGHV status, and expression of ZAP70 and of CD38. In multivariable modeling considering age, gender, Rai stage, expression of ZAP70 or CD38, IGHV mutation status and FISH cytogenetics, only CLL-cell birth rate and IGHV mutation status met criteria for inclusion. Hazard ratios were 3.51 (P=0.002) for high birth rate and 4.93 (P<0.001) for unmutated IGHV. The association between elevated birth rate and shorter TFS was observed in subjects with either mutated or unmutated IGHVs, and the use of both markers was a better predictor of TFS than either parameter alone. Thus, an increased CLL birth rate in early stage disease is a strong predictor of disease progression and earlier treatment.Leukemia accepted article preview online, 24 January 2017. doi:10.1038/leu.2017.34.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28115735

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia.

Abstract

Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL) is a malignancy of CD5+ B cells that is characterized by the accumulation of small, mature-appearing lymphocytes in the blood, marrow and lymphoid tissues. Signalling via surface immunoglobulin, which constitutes the major part of the B cell receptor, and several genetic alterations play a part in CLL pathogenesis, in addition to interactions between CLL cells and other cell types, such as stromal cells, T cells and nurse-like cells in the lymph nodes. The clinical progression of CLL is heterogeneous and ranges from patients who require treatment soon after diagnosis to others who do not require therapy for many years, if at all. Several factors, including the immunoglobulin heavy-chain variable region gene (IGHV) mutational status, genomic changes, patient age and the presence of comorbidities, should be considered when defining the optimal management strategies, which include chemotherapy, chemoimmunotherapy and/or drugs targeting B cell receptor signalling or inhibitors of apoptosis, such as BCL-2. Research on the biology of CLL has profoundly enhanced our ability to identify patients who are at higher risk for disease progression and our capacity to treat patients with drugs that selectively target distinctive phenotypic or physiological features of CLL. How these and other advances have shaped our current understanding and treatment of patients with CLL is the subject of this Primer.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28102226

Phase I First-in-Human Study of Venetoclax in Patients With Relapsed or Refractory Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.

Abstract

Purpose B-cell leukemia/lymphoma-2 (BCL-2) overexpression is common in many non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL) subtypes. A phase I trial in patients with NHL was conducted to determine safety, pharmacokinetics, and efficacy of venetoclax, a selective, potent, orally bioavailable BCL-2 inhibitor. Patients and Methods A total of 106 patients with relapsed or refractory NHL received venetoclax once daily until progressive disease or unacceptable toxicity at target doses from 200 to 1,200 mg in dose-escalation and safety expansion cohorts. Treatment commenced with a 3-week dose ramp-up period for most patients in dose-escalation cohorts and for all patients in safety expansion. Results NHL subtypes included mantle cell lymphoma (MCL; n = 28), follicular lymphoma (FL; n = 29), diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL; n = 34), DLBCL arising from chronic lymphocytic leukemia (Richter transformation; n = 7), Waldenström macroglobulinemia (n = 4), and marginal zone lymphoma (n = 3). Venetoclax was generally well tolerated. Clinical tumor lysis syndrome was not observed, whereas laboratory tumor lysis syndrome was documented in three patients. Treatment-emergent adverse events were reported in 103 patients (97%), a majority of which were grade 1 to 2 in severity. Grade 3 to 4 events were reported in 59 patients (56%), and the most common were hematologic, including anemia (15%), neutropenia (11%), and thrombocytopenia (9%). Overall response rate was 44% (MCL, 75%; FL, 38%; DLBCL, 18%). Estimated median progression-free survival was 6 months (MCL, 14 months; FL, 11 months; DLBCL, 1 month). Conclusion Selective targeting of BCL-2 with venetoclax was well tolerated, and single-agent activity varied among NHL subtypes. We determined 1,200 mg to be the recommended single-agent dose for future studies in FL and DLBCL, with 800 mg being sufficient to consistently achieve durable response in MCL. Additional investigations including combination therapy to augment response rates and durability are ongoing.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28095146

Venetoclax plus rituximab in relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia: a phase 1b study.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Selective BCL2 inhibition with venetoclax has substantial activity in patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia. Combination therapy with rituximab enhanced activity in preclinical models. The aim of this study was to assess the safety, pharmacokinetics, and activity of venetoclax in combination with rituximab.

METHODS:

Adult patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (according to the 2008 Modified International Workshop on CLL guidelines) or small lymphocytic lymphoma were eligible for this phase 1b, dose-escalation trial. The primary outcomes were to assess the safety profile, to determine the maximum tolerated dose, and to establish the recommended phase 2 dose of venetoclax when given in combination with rituximab. Secondary outcomes were to assess the pharmacokinetic profile and analyse efficacy, including overall response, duration of response, and time to tumour progression. Minimal residual disease was a protocol-specified exploratory objective. Central review of the endpoints was not done. Venetoclax was dosed daily using a stepwise escalation to target doses (200-600 mg) and then monthly rituximab commenced (375 mg/m2 in month 1 and 500 mg/m2 in months 2-6). Adverse events were graded according to the National Cancer Institute Common Terminology Criteria for adverse events version 4.0. Protocol-guided drug cessation was allowed for patients who achieved complete response (including complete response with incomplete marrow recovery) or negative bone marrow minimal residual disease. Analyses were done per protocol for all patients who commenced drug and included all patients who received at least one dose of venetoclax. Data were pooled across dose cohorts. Patients are still receiving therapy and follow-up is ongoing. The trial is registered at ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT01682616.

FINDINGS:

Between Aug 6, 2012, and May 28, 2014, we enrolled 49 patients. Common grade 1-2 toxicities included upper respiratory tract infections (in 28 [57%] of 49 patients), diarrhoea (27 [55%]), and nausea (25 [51%]). Grade 3-4 adverse events occurred in 37 (76%) of 49 patients; most common were neutropenia (26 [53%]), thrombocytopenia (eight [16%]), anaemia (seven [14%]), febrile neutropenia (six [12%]), and leucopenia (six [12%]). The most common serious adverse events were pyrexia (six [12%]), febrile neutropenia (five [10%]), lower respiratory tract infection, and pneumonia (each three [6%]). Clinical tumour lysis syndrome occurred in two patients (resulting in one death) who initiated venetoclax at 50 mg. After enhancing tumour lysis syndrome prophylaxis measures and commencing venetoclax at 20 mg, clinical tumour lysis syndrome did not occur. The maximum tolerated dose was not identified; the recommended phase 2 dose of venetoclax in combination with rituximab was 400 mg. Overall, 42 (86%) of 49 patients achieved a response, including a complete response in 25 (51%) of 49 patients. 2 year estimates for progression-free survival and ongoing response were 82% (95% CI 66-91) and 89% (95% CI 72-96), respectively. Negative marrow minimal residual disease was attained in 20 (80%) of 25 complete responders and 28 (57%) of 49 patients overall. 13 responders ceased all therapy; among these all 11 minimal residual disease-negative responders remain progression-free off therapy. Two with minimal residual disease-positive complete response progressed after 24 months off therapy and re-attained response after re-initiation of venetoclax.

INTERPRETATION:

A substantial proportion of patients achieved an overall response with the combination of venetoclax and rituximab including 25 (51%) of 49 patients who achieved a complete response and 28 (57%) of 49 patients who achieved negative marrow minimal residual disease with acceptable safety. The depth and durability of responses observed with the combination offers an attractive potential treatment option for patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukaemia and could allow some patients to maintain response after discontinuing therapy, a strategy that warrants further investigation in randomised studies.

FUNDING:

AbbVie Inc and Genentech Inc.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/28089635