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Russell Payne, Oliver D. Mrowczynski, Becky Slagle-Webb, Alexandre Bourcier, Christine Mau, Dawit Aregawi, Achuthamangalam B. Madhankumar, Sang Y. Lee, Kimberly Harbaugh, James Connor and Elias B. Rizk

OBJECTIVE

Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are soft-tissue sarcomas arising from peripheral nerves. MPNSTs have increased expression of the oncogene aurora kinase A, leading to enhanced cellular proliferation. This makes them extremely aggressive with high potential for metastasis and a devastating prognosis; 5-year survival estimates range from a dismal 15% to 60%. MPNSTs are currently treated with resection (sometimes requiring limb amputation) in combination with chemoradiation, both of which demonstrate limited effectiveness. The authors present the results of immunohistochemical, in vitro, and in vivo analyses of MLN8237 for the treatment of MPNSTs in an orthoxenograft murine model.

METHODS

Immunohistochemistry was performed on tumor sections to confirm the increased expression of aurora kinase A. Cytotoxicity analysis was then performed on an MPNST cell line (STS26T) to assess the efficacy of MLN8237 in vitro. A murine orthoxenograft MPNST model transfected to express luciferase was then developed to assess the efficacy of aurora kinase A inhibition in the treatment of MPNSTs in vivo. Mice with confirmed tumor on in vivo imaging were divided into 3 groups: 1) controls, 2) mice treated with MLN8237, and 3) mice treated with doxorubicin/ifosfamide. Treatment was carried out for 32 days, with imaging performed at weekly intervals until postinjection day 42. Average bioluminescence among groups was compared at weekly intervals using 1-way ANOVA. A survival analysis was performed using Kaplan-Meier curves.

RESULTS

Immunohistochemical analysis showed robust expression of aurora kinase A in tumor cells. Cytotoxicity analysis revealed STS26T susceptibility to MLN8237 in vitro. The group receiving treatment with MLN8237 showed a statistically significant difference in tumor size compared with the control group starting at postinjection day 21 and persisting until the end of the study. The MLN8237 group also showed decreased tumor size compared with the doxorubicin/ifosfamide group at the conclusion of the study (p = 0.036). Survival analysis revealed a significantly increased median survival in the MLN8237 group (83 days) compared with both the control (64 days) and doxorubicin/ifosfamide (67 days) groups. A hazard ratio comparing the 2 treatment groups showed a decreased hazard rate in the MLN8237 group compared with the doxorubicin/ifosfamide group (HR 2.945; p = 0.0134).

CONCLUSIONS

The results of this study demonstrate that MLN8237 is superior to combination treatment with doxorubicin/ifosfamide in a preclinical orthoxenograft murine model. These data have major implications for the future of MPNST research by providing a robust murine model as well as providing evidence that MLN8237 may be an effective treatment for MPNSTs.

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Oliver D. Mrowczynski, Russell A. Payne, Alexandre J. Bourcier, Christine Y. Mau, Becky Slagle-Webb, Ganesh Shenoy, Achuthamangalam B. Madhankumar, Stephan B. Abramson, Darren Wolfe, Kimberly S. Harbaugh, Elias B. Rizk and James R. Connor

OBJECTIVE

Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are aggressive soft tissue sarcomas that harbor a high potential for metastasis and have a devastating prognosis. Combination chemoradiation aids in tumor control and decreases tumor recurrence but causes deleterious side effects and does not extend long-term survival. An effective treatment with limited toxicity and enhanced efficacy is critical for patients suffering from MPNSTs.

METHODS

The authors recently identified that interleukin-13 receptor alpha 2 (IL-13Rα2) is overexpressed on MPNSTs and could serve as a precision-based target for delivery of chemotherapeutic agents. In the work reported here, a recombinant fusion molecule consisting of a mutant human IL-13 targeting moiety and a point mutant variant of Pseudomonas exotoxin A (IL-13.E13 K-PE4E) was utilized to treat MPNST in vitro in cell culture and in an in vivo murine model.

RESULTS

IL-13.E13 K-PE4E had a potent cytotoxic effect on MPNST cells in vitro. Furthermore, intratumoral administration of IL-13.E13 K-PE4E to orthotopically implanted MPNSTs decreased tumor burden 6-fold and 11-fold in late-stage and early-stage MPNST models, respectively. IL-13.E13 K-PE4E treatment also increased survival by 23 days in the early-stage MPNST model.

CONCLUSIONS

The current MPNST treatment paradigm consists of 3 prongs: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, none of which, either singly or in combination, are curative or extend survival to a clinically meaningful degree. The results presented here provide the possibility of intratumoral therapy with a potent and highly tumor-specific cytotoxin as a fourth treatment prong with the potential to yield improved outcomes in patients with MPNSTs.

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Oliver D. Mrowczynski, Russell A. Payne, Alexandre J. Bourcier, Christine Y. Mau, Becky Slagle-Webb, Ganesh Shenoy, Achuthamangalam B. Madhankumar, Stephan B. Abramson, Darren Wolfe, Kimberly S. Harbaugh, Elias B. Rizk and James R. Connor

OBJECTIVE

Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are aggressive soft tissue sarcomas that harbor a high potential for metastasis and have a devastating prognosis. Combination chemoradiation aids in tumor control and decreases tumor recurrence but causes deleterious side effects and does not extend long-term survival. An effective treatment with limited toxicity and enhanced efficacy is critical for patients suffering from MPNSTs.

METHODS

The authors recently identified that interleukin-13 receptor alpha 2 (IL-13Rα2) is overexpressed on MPNSTs and could serve as a precision-based target for delivery of chemotherapeutic agents. In the work reported here, a recombinant fusion molecule consisting of a mutant human IL-13 targeting moiety and a point mutant variant of Pseudomonas exotoxin A (IL-13.E13 K-PE4E) was utilized to treat MPNST in vitro in cell culture and in an in vivo murine model.

RESULTS

IL-13.E13 K-PE4E had a potent cytotoxic effect on MPNST cells in vitro. Furthermore, intratumoral administration of IL-13.E13 K-PE4E to orthotopically implanted MPNSTs decreased tumor burden 6-fold and 11-fold in late-stage and early-stage MPNST models, respectively. IL-13.E13 K-PE4E treatment also increased survival by 23 days in the early-stage MPNST model.

CONCLUSIONS

The current MPNST treatment paradigm consists of 3 prongs: surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation, none of which, either singly or in combination, are curative or extend survival to a clinically meaningful degree. The results presented here provide the possibility of intratumoral therapy with a potent and highly tumor-specific cytotoxin as a fourth treatment prong with the potential to yield improved outcomes in patients with MPNSTs.

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Aaron Bernstein, Oliver D. Mrowczynski, Amrit Greene, Sandra Ryan, Catherine Chung, Brad E. Zacharia and Michael Glantz

OBJECTIVE

BRAF V600E is a common oncogenic driver in a variety of primary brain tumors. Dual inhibitor therapy using dabrafenib (a selective oral inhibitor of several mutated forms of BRAF kinase) and trametinib (a reversible inhibitor of MEK1 and MEK2) has been used successfully for treatment of metastatic melanoma, anaplastic thyroid cancer, and other tumor types, but has been reported in only a few patients with primary brain tumors and none with pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma. Here, the authors report on the substantial clinical response and reduction in cutaneous toxicity in a case series of BRAF V600E primary brain cancers treated with dual BRAF/MEK inhibitor therapy.

METHODS

The authors treated 4 BRAF V600E patients, each with a different type of primary brain tumor (pilocytic astrocytoma, papillary craniopharyngioma, ganglioglioma, and pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma) with the combination of dabrafenib and trametinib.

RESULTS

The patients with pilocytic astrocytoma, pleomorphic xanthoastrocytoma, and papillary craniopharyngioma experienced near-complete radiographic and complete clinical responses after 8 weeks of therapy. A substantial partial response (by RANO [Response Assessment in Neuro-Oncology] criteria) was observed in the patient with ganglioglioma. The patient with craniopharyngioma developed dramatic, diffuse verrucal keratosis within 2 weeks of starting dabrafenib. This completely resolved within 2 weeks of adding trametinib.

CONCLUSIONS

Dual BRAF/MEK inhibitor therapy represents an exciting treatment option for patients with BRAF V600E primary brain tumors. In addition to greater efficacy than single-agent dabrafenib, this combination has the potential to mitigate cutaneous toxicity, one of the most common and concerning BRAF inhibitor–related adverse events.