Pembrolizumab/Entinostat Active in Melanoma Patients Refractory to Checkpoint Inhibitors


“Combining the PD-1 inhibitor pembrolizumab (Keytruda) with the HDAC inhibitor entinostat demonstrated promising clinical activity and acceptable safety in patients with melanoma who were refractory to immune checkpoint inhibitors.

“In the ongoing phase II ENCORE 601 trial, the PD-1/HDAC combination induced a response in 4 of 13 patients (31%; 95% CI, 9-61). The responses comprised 3 confirmed responses and 1 unconfirmed response, according to the study findings, which were presented in a poster at the 2017 ASCO Annual Meeting. An additional 4 patients achieved stable disease.”

Go to full article.

If you’re wondering whether this story applies to your own cancer case or a loved one’s, we invite you to use our ASK Cancer Commons service.

HDAC Inhibitor Confers Radiosensitivity to Prostate Stem-Like Cells

“Background: Radiotherapy can be an effective treatment for prostate cancer, but radiorecurrent tumours do develop. Considering prostate cancer heterogeneity, we hypothesised that primitive stem-like cells may constitute the radiation-resistant fraction. Methods: Primary cultures were derived from patients undergoing resection for prostate cancer or benign prostatic hyperplasia. After short-term culture, three populations of cells were sorted, reflecting the prostate epithelial hierarchy, namely stem-like cells (SCs, α2β1integrinhi/CD133+), transit-amplifying (TA, α2β1integrinhi/CD133−) and committed basal (CB, α2β1integrinlo) cells. Radiosensitivity was measured by colony-forming efficiency (CFE) and DNA damage by comet assay and DNA damage foci quantification. Immunofluorescence and flow cytometry were used to measure heterochromatin. The HDAC (histone deacetylase) inhibitor Trichostatin A was used as a radiosensitiser. Results: Stem-like cells had increased CFE post irradiation compared with the more differentiated cells (TA and CB). The SC population sustained fewer lethal double-strand breaks than either TA or CB cells, which correlated with SCs being less proliferative and having increased levels of heterochromatin. Finally, treatment with an HDAC inhibitor sensitised the SCs to radiation. Interpretation: Prostate SCs are more radioresistant than more differentiated cell populations. We suggest that the primitive cells survive radiation therapy and that pre-treatment with HDAC inhibitors may sensitise this resistant fraction.”


The Antimelanoma Activity of the Histone Deacetylase Inhibitor Panobinostat (LBH589) is Mediated by Direct Tumor Cytotoxicity and Increased Tumor Immunogenicity

“Melanoma is the deadliest skin cancer, and its incidence has been increasing faster than any other cancer. Although immunogenic, melanoma is not effectively cleared by host immunity. In this study, we investigate the therapeutic, antimelanoma potential of the histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) panobinostat (LBH589) by assessing both its cytotoxic effects on melanoma cells as well as enhancement of immune recognition of melanoma. Utilizing murine and human melanoma cell lines, we analyzed the effects of LBH589 on proliferation and survival. In addition, we analyzed the expression of several immunologically relevant surface markers and melanoma differentiation antigens, and the ability of LBH589-treated melanoma to activate antigen-specific T cells. Finally, we assessed the in-vivo effects of LBH589 in a mouse melanoma model. Low nanomolar concentrations of LBH589 inhibit the growth of all melanoma cell lines tested, but not normal melanocytes. This inhibition is characterized by increased apoptosis as well as a G1 cell cycle arrest. In addition, LBH589 augments the expression of major histocompatibility complex and costimulatory molecules on melanoma cells leading to an increased ability to activate antigen-specific T cells. Treatment also increases expression of melanoma differentiation antigens. In vivo, LBH589 treatment of melanoma-bearing mice results in a significant increase in survival. However, in immunodeficient mice, the therapeutic effect of LBH589 is lost. Taken together, LBH589 exerts a dual effect upon melanoma cells by affecting not only growth/survival but also by increasing melanoma immunogenicity. These effects provide the framework for future evaluation of this HDAC inhibitor in melanoma treatment.”