Sacituzumab govitecan (IMMU-132), an SN-38–conjugated antibody–drug conjugate, is showing promising therapeutic results in a phase I/II trial of patients with advanced Trop-2–expressing, metastatic, solid cancers. As members of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters confer chemotherapy resistance by active drug efflux, which is a frequent cause of treatment failure, we explored the use of known inhibitors of ABC transporters for improving the therapeutic efficacy of IMMU-132 by overcoming SN-38 resistance. Two human tumor cell lines made resistant to SN-38, MDA-MB-231-S120 (human breast cancer) and NCI-N87-S120 (human gastric cancer), were established by continuous exposure of the parental cells to stepwise increased concentrations of SN-38 and analyzed by flow cytometry for functional activities of ABCG2 and ABCB1, immunoblotting and qRT-PCR for the expression of ABCG2 at both protein and mRNA levels, and MTS assays for the potency of SN-38 alone or in combination with a modulator of ABC transporters. MDA-MB-231-S120 and NCI-N87-S120 displayed reduced sensitivity to SN-38 in vitro, with IC50 values approximately 50-fold higher than parental MDA-MB-231 and NCI-N87 cells. The increase in drug resistance of both S120 cell populations is associated with the expression of functional ABCG2, but not ABCB1. Importantly, treatment of both S120 sublines with known ABCG2 inhibitors (fumitremorgin C, Ko143, and YHO-13351) restored toxicity of SN-38, and the combination of YHO-13351 with IMMU-132 increased the median survival of mice bearing NCI-N87-S120 xenografts. These results provide a rationale for combination therapy of IMMU-132 and inhibitors of ABC transporters, such as YHO-13351. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(8); 1910–9. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Molecular Cancer Therapeutics Online (http://mct.aacrjournals.org/).
Dedicated to Ralph A. Reisfeld, PhD, on the celebration of his 90th birthday.
- Received April 8, 2016.
- Revision received May 11, 2016.
- Accepted May 11, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.