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Currently, there are no available targeted therapy options for non-V600 BRAF mutated tumors. The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of RAF and MEK concurrent inhibition on tumor growth, migration, signaling and apoptosis induction in preclinical models of non-V600 BRAF mutant tumor cell lines.
Six BRAF mutated human tumor cell lines CRL5885 (G466 V), WM3629 (D594G), WM3670 (G469E), MDAMB231 (G464 V), CRL5922 (L597 V) and A375 (V600E as control) were investigated. Pan-RAF inhibitor (sorafenib or AZ628) and MEK inhibitor (selumetinib) or their combination were used in in vitro viability, video microscopy, immunoblot, cell cycle and TUNEL assays. The in vivo effects of the drugs were assessed in an orthotopic NSG mouse breast cancer model.
All cell lines showed a significant growth inhibition with synergism in the sorafenib/AZ628 and selumetinib combination. Combination treatment resulted in higher Erk1/2 inhibition and in increased induction of apoptosis when compared to single agent treatments. However, single selumetinib treatment could cause adverse therapeutic effects, like increased cell migration in certain cells, selumetinib and sorafenib combination treatment lowered migratory capacity in all the cell lines. Importantly, combination resulted in significantly increased tumor growth inhibition in orthotropic xenografts of MDAMB231 cells when compared to sorafenib - but not to selumetinib – treatment.
Our data suggests that combined blocking of RAF and MEK may achieve increased therapeutic response in non-V600 BRAF mutant tumors.