Synergistic Effects of Neratinib in Combination With Palbociclib or Miransertib in Brain Cancer Cells

Ermira Mulliqi, Said Khelwatty, Anna Morgan, Keyoumars Ashkan, Helmout Modjtahedi


Background: Aberrant expression and activation of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) resulted in approval of several forms of EGFR inhibitors in the treatment of patients with a wide range of epithelial cancers. However, no EGFR inhibitor has yet been approved for the treatment of patients with brain cancer, indicating that targeting EGFR alone may not be sufficient in some patients.

Methods: In this study, we investigated the role of all members of the EGFR family, other growth factor receptors, cell-cycle proteins, and downstream cell signaling pathways (e.g., mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK), serine/threonine protein kinase (AKT), signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT3), Src, Abelson murine leukemia viral oncogene homolog (Abl)) on the growth of a panel of human brain cancer cell lines (HBCCLs). We examined the growth response of HBCCLs to treatment with 17 targeted agents compared to two cytotoxic drugs.

Results: Of the targeted agents, the irreversible pan-human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER) inhibitors neratinib and afatinib were more effective than erlotinib and lapatinib at inhibiting the growth of all HBCCLs, and the cyclin-dependent kinase (CDK)1/2/5/9 inhibitor dinaciclib was the most potent targeted agent. We found that treatment with Src/Abl/c-kit inhibitor dasatinib, signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT3) inhibitor stattic, Abl/platelet-derived growth factor receptor (PDGFR)vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGFR)2/fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR)1 inhibitor ponatinib, and the tropomyosin receptor kinase (TRK)/ROS proto-oncogene 1 receptor tyrosine kinase (ROS)/anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) inhibitor entrectinib, also inhibited the growth of all HBCCLs. Interestingly, these agents were more effective in inhibiting growth of HBCCLs when proliferating at a slower rate. In addition to inhibiting the proliferation of HBCCLs, treatment with neratinib, dinaciclib, dasatinib, stattic and trametinib inhibited the migration of brain tumor cell line A172.

Conclusions: Notably, we found that treatment with neratinib in combination with palbociclib (CDK4/6 inhibitor), or miransertib (AKT1/2/3 inhibitor) resulted in synergistic growth inhibition of all HBCCLs. Our results support that repurposing drugs like neratinib in combination with the palbociclib or miransertib may be of therapeutic potential in brain cancer and warrants further investigations.

World J Oncol. 2024;15(3):492-505


Brain cancer; EGFR; Cancer stem cell markers; Neratinib; Dasatinib; Palbociclib; Miransertib

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