Copper Chelation as Targeted Therapy in a Mouse Model of Oncogenic BRAF-Driven Papillary Thyroid Cancer.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

Purpose: Sixty percent of papillary thyroid cancers (PTC) have an oncogenic (V600E) BRAF mutation. Inhibitors of BRAF and its substrates MEK1/2 are showing clinical promise in BRAFV600E PTC. PTC progression can be decades long, which is challenging in terms of toxicity and cost. We previously found that MEK1/2 require copper (Cu) for kinase activity and can be inhibited with the well-tolerated and economical Cu chelator tetrathiomolybdate (TM). We therefore tested TM for antineoplastic activity in BRAFV600E -positive PTC.Experimental Design: The efficacy of TM alone and in combination with current standard-of-care lenvatinib and sorafenib or BRAF and MEK1/2 inhibitors vemurafenib and trametinib was examined in BRAFV600E-positive human PTC cell lines and a genetically engineered mouse PTC model.Results: TM inhibited MEK1/2 kinase activity and transformed growth of PTC cells. TM was as or more potent than lenvatinib and sorafenib and enhanced the antineoplastic activity of sorafenib and vemurafenib. Activated ERK2, a substrate of MEK1/2, overcame this effect, consistent with TM deriving its antineoplastic activity by inhibiting MEK1/2. Oral TM reduced tumor burden and vemurafenib in a BrafV600E -positive mouse model of PTC. This effect was ascribed to a reduction of Cu in the tumors. TM reduced P-Erk1/2 in mouse PTC tumors, whereas genetic reduction of Cu in developing tumors trended towards a survival advantage. Finally, TM as a maintenance therapy after cessation of vemurafenib reduced tumor volume in the aforementioned PTC mouse model.Conclusions: TM inhibits BRAFV600E -driven PTC through inhibition of MEK1/2, supporting clinical evaluation of chronic TM therapy for this disease. Clin Cancer Res; 24(17); 4271-81. ©2018 AACR.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Xu, M; Casio, M; Range, DE; Sosa, JA; Counter, CM

Published Date

  • September 1, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 24 / 17

Start / End Page

  • 4271 - 4281

PubMed ID

  • 30065097

Pubmed Central ID

  • PMC6125179

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1557-3265

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-17-3705


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States