Median survival of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cancer (PDAC) is 6 months, with 9% 5-year survival. Standard-of-care gemcitabine (Gem) provides only modest survival benefits, and combination therapies integrating novel targeted agents could improve outcomes. Fibroblast growth factor (FGF) receptors (FGFRs) play important roles in PDAC growth and invasion. Therefore, FGFR inhibitors (FGFRi) merit further investigation. Efficacy of Gem combined with NVP-BGJ398, a pan-FGFRi, was investigated in multiple PDAC cell lines exposed to the drugs alone and combined. Cell cycle distribution and cell numbers were quantified over time. Two pharmacodynamic models were developed to investigate Gem/BGJ398 interactions quantitatively: a drug-mediated cell proliferation/ death model, and a drug-perturbed cell cycle progression model. The models captured temporal changes in cell numbers, cell cycle progression, and cell death during drug exposure. Simultaneous fitting of all data provided reasonable parameter estimates. Therapeutic efficacy was then evaluated in a PDAC mouse model. Compared with Gem alone, combined Gem + FGFRi significantly downregulated ribonucleotide-diphosphate reductase large subunit 1 (RRM1), a gemcitabine resistance (GemR) biomarker, suggesting the FGFRi inhibited GemR emergence. The cell proliferation/death pharmacodynamic model estimated the drug interaction coefficient cdeath = 0.798, suggesting synergistic effects. The mechanism-based cell cycle progression model estimated drug interaction coefficient ccycle = 0.647, also suggesting synergy. Thus, FGFR inhibition appears to synergize with Gem in PDAC cells and tumors by sensitizing cells to Gem-mediated inhibition of proliferation and cell cycle progression. SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT An integrated approach of quantitative modeling and experimentation was employed to investigate the nature of fibroblast growth factor receptor inhibitor (FGFRi)/gemcitabine (Gem) interaction, and to identify mechanisms by which FGFRi exposure reverses Gem resistance in pancreatic cancer cells. The results show that FGFRi interacts synergistically with Gem to sensitize pancreatic cancer cells and tumors to Gem-mediated inhibition of proliferation and cell cycle progression. Thus, addition of FGFRi to standard-of-care Gem treatment could be a clinically deployable approach to enhance therapeutic benefit to pancreatic cancer patients.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||15|
|Journal||Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics|
|State||Published - Jun 1 2021|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine