Background: Vascular endothelial growth factor-targeted kinase inhibitors have emerged as highly promising therapies for radioiodine-refractory metastatic differentiated thyroid cancer. Unfortunately, drug resistance uniformly develops, limiting their therapeutic efficacies and thereby constituting a major clinical problem. Approach and Methods: To study acquired drug resistance and elucidate underlying mechanisms in this setting, BHP2-7 human differentiated thyroid cancer cells were subjected to prolonged continuous in vitro selection with 18Mpazopanib, a clinically relevant concentration; acquisition of pazopanib resistance was serially assessed, with the resulting resistant cells thereafter subcloned and characterized to assess potential mechanisms of acquired pazopanib resistance. Results: Stable 2- to 4-fold in vitro pazopanib resistance emerged in response to pazopanib selection associated with similar in vitro growth characteristics but with markedly more aggressive in vivo xenograft growth. Selected cells were cross-resistant to sunitinib and to a lesser extent sorafenib but not to MAPK kinase (MEK1/2) inhibition by GSK1120212. Genotyping demonstrated acquisition of a novel activating KRAS codon 13GGCto GTT (glycine to valine) mutation, consistent with the observed resistance to upstream vascular endothelial growth factor receptor inhibition yet sensitivity to downstream MAPK kinase (MEK1/2) inhibition. Conclusions: Selection of thyroid cancer cells with clinically utilized therapeutics can lead to acquired drug resistance and altered in vivo xenograft behavior that can recapitulate analogous drug resistance observed in patients. This approach has the potential to lead to insights into acquired treatment-related drug resistance in thyroid cancers that can be subjected to subsequent validation in serially collected patient samples and that has the potential to yield preemptive and responsive approaches to dealing with this important clinical problem.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical