PORCN inhibition synergizes with PI3K/mTOR inhibition in Wnt-addicted cancers.
Pancreatic cancer (pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma, PDAC) is aggressive and lethal. Although there is an urgent need for effective therapeutics in treating pancreatic cancer, none of the targeted therapies tested in clinical trials to date significantly improve its outcome. PORCN inhibitors show efficacy in preclinical models of Wnt-addicted cancers, including RNF43-mutant pancreatic cancers and have advanced to clinical trials. In this study, we aimed to develop drug combination strategies to further enhance the therapeutic efficacy of the PORCN inhibitor ETC-159. To identify additional druggable vulnerabilities in Wnt-driven pancreatic cancers, we performed an in vivo CRISPR loss-of-function screen. CTNNB1, KRAS, and MYC were reidentified as key oncogenic drivers. Notably, glucose metabolism pathway genes were important in vivo but less so in vitro. Knockout of multiple genes regulating PI3K/mTOR signaling impacted the growth of Wnt-driven pancreatic cancer cells in vivo. Importantly, multiple PI3K/mTOR pathway inhibitors in combination with ETC-159 synergistically suppressed the growth of multiple Wnt-addicted cancer cell lines in soft agar. Furthermore, the combination of the PORCN inhibitor ETC-159 and the pan-PI3K inhibitor GDC-0941 potently suppressed the in vivo growth of RNF43-mutant pancreatic cancer xenografts. This was largely due to enhanced suppressive effects on both cell proliferation and glucose metabolism. These findings demonstrate that dual PORCN and PI3K/mTOR inhibition is a potential strategy for treating Wnt-driven pancreatic cancers.
Zhong, Z; Sepramaniam, S; Chew, XH; Wood, K; Lee, MA; Madan, B; Virshup, DM
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