Novel ATP-competitive MEK inhibitor E6201 is effective against vemurafenib-resistant melanoma harboring the MEK1-C121S mutation in a preclinical model

Yusuke Narita, Kiyoshi Okamoto, Megumi Ikemori Kawada, Kazuma Takase, Yukinori Minoshima, Kotaro Kodama, Masao Iwata, Norimasa Miyamoto, Kohei Sawada
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2014, 13 (4): 823-32
Many clinical cases of acquired resistance to the BRAF inhibitor vemurafenib have recently been reported. One of the causes of this acquired resistance is the BRAF downstream kinase point mutation MEK1-C121S. This mutation confers resistance to not only vemurafenib, but also to the allosteric MEK inhibitor selumetinib (AZD6244). Here, we investigated the pharmacologic activities and effectiveness of the novel MEK inhibitor E6201 against BRAF (v-raf murine sarcoma viral oncogene homolog B1)-V600E mutant melanoma harboring the MEK1-C121S mutation. A cell-free assay confirmed that E6201 is an ATP-competitive MEK inhibitor, meaning it has a different binding mode with MEK compared with allosteric MEK inhibitors. E6201 is more effective against BRAF-V600E mutant melanoma compared with BRAF wild-type melanoma based on MEK inhibition. We found that the acquired MEK1-C121S mutation in BRAF-V600E mutant melanoma conferred resistance to both vemurafenib and selumetinib but not E6201. The effectiveness of E6201 in this preclinical study is a result of its binding with MEK1 far from the C121S point mutation so the mutation is unable to influence the MAPK pathway inhibitory activity. These results support further clinical investigation of E6201.

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