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    Tissue-resident memory T cells from a metastatic vaginal melanoma patient are tumor-responsive T cells and increase after anti-PD-1 treatment
    Pizzolla, A ; Keam, SP ; Vergara, IA ; Caramia, F ; Thio, N ; Wang, M ; Kocovski, N ; Tantalo, D ; Jabbari, J ; Au-Yeung, G ; Sandhu, S ; Gyorki, DE ; Weppler, A ; Perdicchio, M ; McArthur, GA ; Papenfuss, AT ; Neeson, PJ (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2022-05)
    BACKGROUND: Vaginal melanoma (VM) is a rare cancer and has a poor response to immune checkpoint blockade (ICB). CD8+Tissue Resident Memory (TRM) T cells proliferate in response to ICB and correlate with longer survival in metastatic cutaneous melanoma. However, their capacity to respond to VM and their neoantigens is not known. METHODS: Using longitudinal samples, we explored the evolution of VM mutations by whole-exome sequencing and RNAseq, we also defined the immune context using multiplex immunohistochemistry and nanostring pan cancer immune profile. Then using fresh single cell suspensions of the metastatic samples, we explored VM T cells via mass cytometry and single cell RNAseq and T cell receptor sequencing (TCRseq). Finally, we investigated TRM, pre-TRM and exhausted T cell function against melanoma neo-antigens and melanoma differentiation antigens in vitro. RESULTS: Primary VM was non-inflamed and devoid of CD8+ TRM cells. In contrast, both metastases showed proliferating CD8+ TRM were clustered at the tumor margin, with increased numbers in the second ICB-refractory metastasis. The first metastasis showed dense infiltration of CD8+ T cells, the second showed immune exclusion with loss of melanoma cell Major histocompatibility complex (MHC)-I expression associated with downregulation of antigen presentation pathway gene expression. CD8+ TRM from both metastases responded to autologous melanoma cells more robustly than all other CD8+ T cell subsets. In addition, CD8+ TRM shared TCR clones across metastases, suggesting a response to common antigens, which was supported by recognition of the same neoantigen by expanded tumor infiltrating lymphocytes. CONCLUSIONS: In this study, we identified TRM clusters in VM metastases from a patient, but not primary disease. We showed TRM location at the tumor margin, and their superior functional response to autologous tumor cells, predicted neoantigens and melanoma differentiation antigens. These CD8+ TRM exhibited the highest tumor-responsive potential and shared their TCR with tumor-infiltrating effector memory T cells. This suggests VM metastases from this patient retain strong antitumor T cell functional responses; however, this response is suppressed in vivo. The loss of VG MHC-I expression is a common immune escape mechanism which was not addressed by anti-PD-1 monotherapy; rather an additional targeted approach to upregulate MHC-I expression is required.
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    Characterization of the treatment-naive immune microenvironment in melanoma with BRAF mutation
    Wang, M ; Zadeh, S ; Pizzolla, A ; Thia, K ; Gyorki, DE ; McArthur, GA ; Scolyer, RA ; Long, G ; Wilmott, JS ; Andrews, MC ; Au-Yeung, G ; Weppler, A ; Sandhu, S ; Trapani, JA ; Davis, MJ ; Neeson, PJ (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2022-04)
    BACKGROUND: Patients with BRAF-mutant and wild-type melanoma have different response rates to immune checkpoint blockade therapy. However, the reasons for this remain unknown. To address this issue, we investigated the precise immune composition resulting from BRAF mutation in treatment-naive melanoma to determine whether this may be a driver for different response to immunotherapy. METHODS: In this study, we characterized the treatment-naive immune context in patients with BRAF-mutant and BRAF wild-type (BRAF-wt) melanoma using data from single-cell RNA sequencing, bulk RNA sequencing, flow cytometry and immunohistochemistry (IHC). RESULTS: In single-cell data, BRAF-mutant melanoma displayed a significantly reduced infiltration of CD8+ T cells and macrophages but also increased B cells, natural killer (NK) cells and NKT cells. We then validated this finding using bulk RNA-seq data from the skin cutaneous melanoma cohort in The Cancer Genome Atlas and deconvoluted the data using seven different algorithms. Interestingly, BRAF-mutant tumors had more CD4+ T cells than BRAF-wt samples in both primary and metastatic cohorts. In the metastatic cohort, BRAF-mutant melanoma demonstrated more B cells but less CD8+ T cell infiltration when compared with BRAF-wt samples. In addition, we further investigated the immune cell infiltrate using flow cytometry and multiplex IHC techniques. We confirmed that BRAF-mutant melanoma metastases were enriched for CD4+ T cells and B cells and had a co-existing decrease in CD8+ T cells. Furthermore, we then identified B cells were associated with a trend for improved survival (p=0.078) in the BRAF-mutant samples and Th2 cells were associated with prolonged survival in the BRAF-wt samples. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, treatment-naive BRAF-mutant melanoma has a distinct immune context compared with BRAF-wt melanoma, with significantly decreased CD8+ T cells and increased B cells and CD4+ T cells in the tumor microenvironment. These findings indicate that further mechanistic studies are warranted to reveal how this difference in immune context leads to improved outcome to combination immune checkpoint blockade in BRAF-mutant melanoma.
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    Melanoma brain metastases that progress on BRAF-MEK inhibitors demonstrate resistance to ipilimumab-nivolumab that is associated with the Innate PD-1 Resistance Signature (IPRES)
    Lau, PKH ; Feran, B ; Smith, L ; Lasocki, A ; Molania, R ; Smith, K ; Weppler, A ; Angel, C ; Kee, D ; Bhave, P ; Lee, B ; Young, RJ ; Iravani, A ; Yeang, HA ; Vergara, IA ; Kok, D ; Drummond, K ; Neeson, PJ ; Sheppard, KE ; Papenfuss, T ; Solomon, BJ ; Sandhu, S ; McArthur, GA (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2021-10)
    BACKGROUND: Melanoma brain metastases (MBMs) are a challenging clinical problem with high morbidity and mortality. Although first-line dabrafenib-trametinib and ipilimumab-nivolumab have similar intracranial response rates (50%-55%), central nervous system (CNS) resistance to BRAF-MEK inhibitors (BRAF-MEKi) usually occurs around 6 months, and durable responses are only seen with combination immunotherapy. We sought to investigate the utility of ipilimumab-nivolumab after MBM progression on BRAF-MEKi and identify mechanisms of resistance. METHODS: Patients who received first-line ipilimumab-nivolumab for MBMs or second/third line ipilimumab-nivolumab for intracranial metastases with BRAFV600 mutations with prior progression on BRAF-MEKi and MRI brain staging from March 1, 2015 to June 30, 2018 were included. Modified intracranial RECIST was used to assess response. Formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded samples of BRAFV600 mutant MBMs that were naïve to systemic treatment (n=18) or excised after progression on BRAF-MEKi (n=14) underwent whole transcriptome sequencing. Comparative analyses of MBMs naïve to systemic treatment versus BRAF-MEKi progression were performed. RESULTS: Twenty-five and 30 patients who received first and second/third line ipilimumab-nivolumab, were included respectively. Median sum of MBM diameters was 13 and 20.5 mm for the first and second/third line ipilimumab-nivolumab groups, respectively. Intracranial response rate was 75.0% (12/16), and median progression-free survival (PFS) was 41.6 months for first-line ipilimumab-nivolumab. Efficacy of second/third line ipilimumab-nivolumab after BRAF-MEKi progression was poor with an intracranial response rate of 4.8% (1/21) and median PFS of 1.3 months. Given the poor activity of ipilimumab-nivolumab after BRAF-MEKi MBM progression, we performed whole transcriptome sequencing to identify mechanisms of drug resistance. We identified a set of 178 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) between naïve and MBMs with progression on BRAF-MEKi treatment (p value <0.05, false discovery rate (FDR) <0.1). No distinct pathways were identified from gene set enrichment analyses using Kyoto Encyclopedia of Genes and Genomes, Gene Ontogeny or Hallmark libraries; however, enrichment of DEG from the Innate Anti-PD1 Resistance Signature (IPRES) was identified (p value=0.007, FDR=0.03). CONCLUSIONS: Second-line ipilimumab-nivolumab for MBMs after BRAF-MEKi progression has poor activity. MBMs that are resistant to BRAF-MEKi that also conferred resistance to second-line ipilimumab-nivolumab showed enrichment of the IPRES gene signature.
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    Evolution of late-stage metastatic melanoma is dominated by aneuploidy and whole genome doubling
    Vergara, IA ; Mintoff, CP ; Sandhu, S ; McIntosh, L ; Young, RJ ; Wong, SQ ; Colebatch, A ; Cameron, DL ; Kwon, JL ; Wolfe, R ; Peng, A ; Ellul, J ; Dou, X ; Fedele, C ; Boyle, S ; Arnau, GM ; Raleigh, J ; Hatzimihalis, A ; Szeto, P ; Mooi, J ; Widmer, DS ; Cheng, PF ; Amann, V ; Dummer, R ; Hayward, N ; Wilmott, J ; Scolyer, RA ; Cho, RJ ; Bowtell, D ; Thorne, H ; Alsop, K ; Cordner, S ; Woodford, N ; Leditschke, J ; O'Brien, P ; Dawson, S-J ; McArthur, GA ; Mann, GJ ; Levesque, MP ; Papenfuss, AT ; Shackleton, M (NATURE RESEARCH, 2021-03-04)
    Although melanoma is initiated by acquisition of point mutations and limited focal copy number alterations in melanocytes-of-origin, the nature of genetic changes that characterise lethal metastatic disease is poorly understood. Here, we analyze the evolution of human melanoma progressing from early to late disease in 13 patients by sampling their tumours at multiple sites and times. Whole exome and genome sequencing data from 88 tumour samples reveals only limited gain of point mutations generally, with net mutational loss in some metastases. In contrast, melanoma evolution is dominated by whole genome doubling and large-scale aneuploidy, in which widespread loss of heterozygosity sculpts the burden of point mutations, neoantigens and structural variants even in treatment-naïve and primary cutaneous melanomas in some patients. These results imply that dysregulation of genomic integrity is a key driver of selective clonal advantage during melanoma progression.
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    CD8+TISSUE-RESIDENT MEMORY T CELLS ARE TUMOUR REACTIVE AND INCREASE AFTER IMMUNOTHERAPY IN A CASE OF METASTATIC MUCOSAL MELANOMA
    Pizzolla, A ; Keam, S ; Vergara, I ; Caramia, F ; Wang, M ; Kocovski, N ; ThuNgoc, N ; Macdonald, S ; Tantalo, D ; Petrone, P ; Yeang, HXA ; Gyorki, D ; Weppler, A ; Au-Yeung, G ; Sandhu, S ; Perdicchio, M ; McArthur, G ; Papenfuss, T ; Neeson, P (BMJ PUBLISHING GROUP, 2020-11)
    Background Mucosal melanoma is a rare subtype of melanoma originating from mucosal tissues (1), metastases are very aggressive and respond poorly to therapy, including immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICI) such as anti-CTLA4 and anti-PD1 antibodies (2–5). CD8+ T cells constitute the most abundant immune infiltrate in metastatic melanoma, of which the Tissue Resident Memory subset (TRM) is of particular interest (6). CD8+ TRM cells express the highest levels of immune checkpoint receptors, proliferate in response to ICI and correlate with longer disease-free and overall survival (6–8). The immune landscape in mucosal melanoma remains poorly characterized. We aimed to: 1) phenotype CD8+ T cells and TRM infiltrating metastatic mucosal melanoma, 2) characterize the clonality of TRM in relation to other CD8+ T cell subsets and 3) define the capacity of CD8+ T cells and TRM to respond to melanoma cells and to in vivo and in vitro anti-PD1 treatment. Methods We investigated the CD8+ T and TRM cells infiltrating two temporally- and spatially-distant subcutaneous metastases, these originated from a primary vaginal mucosal melanoma. One metastasis was excised prior to anti-PD1 treatment and one was anti-PD1 refractory, having progressed on treatment. We used mass cytometry and single-cell RNA and TCR sequencing to characterise the phenotype and clonality of the T cells, multiplex immunohistochemistry to define their spatial relationship with tumour cells and other T cells, and functional assays to determine TRM response to tumour cells (figure 1). Results CD8+ TRM frequency increased with time and anti-PD1 treatment, forming clusters at the tumour margin. T cells in the anti-PD1 refractory lesion were more activated than T cells in the first tumour and were bound by anti-PD1 antibody in vivo. T cells could not be stimulated by anti-PD1 directly ex vivo. Both metastatic lesions shared common T cell clusters including TRM. Furthermore, TRM in each tumour shared T cell clones, suggesting the presence of common antigens between metastatic sites. Indeed, the two metastases had a similar mutational profile. In vitro expanded tumour infiltrating lymphocytes from both lesions recognized tumour cells from both lesions and the same neoantigen generated from a single point mutation in the gene CDKN1C. Finally, tumour cells stimulated TRM cells more robustly than other T cells subsets. Abstract 548 Figure 1Graphical depiction of the methods used to characterise T cells in mucosal metastatic melanoma Conclusions In this patient with vaginal mucosal melanoma, subsequent melanoma metastases of clonal origin attracted CD8+ T cells of similar specificity, among which TRM cells responded more vigorously to tumour cells than other T cells subsets. Acknowledgements The authors would like to acknowledge imCORE La Hoffmann- Roche Ltd. for funding. Ethics Approval Patients diagnosed with stage 3 or 4 metastatic melanoma and undergoing clinically indicated surgery were enrolled in prospective studies approved by the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre human ethics research committee (13/141). All experimental protocols have been approved and clinical data has been collected prospectively. References Carvajal RD, Hamid O, Ariyan C. Mucosal Melanoma. [cited 2020 Apr 1]; Available from: https://www.uptodate.com/contents/mucosal-melanoma Del Vecchio M, Di Guardo L, Ascierto PA, Grimaldi AM, Sileni VC, Pigozzo J, et al. Efficacy and safety of ipilimumab 3 mg/kg in patients with pretreated, metastatic, mucosal melanoma. Eur J Cancer Oxf Engl 1990; 2014 Jan;50(1):121–7. Postow MA, Luke JJ, Bluth MJ, Ramaiya N, Panageas KS, Lawrence DP, et al. Ipilimumab for patients with advanced mucosal melanoma. The Oncologist 2013 Jun;18(6):726–32. D’Angelo SP, Larkin J, Sosman JA, Lebbé C, Brady B, Neyns B, et al. Efficacy and safety of nivolumab alone or in combination with ipilimumab in patients with mucosal melanoma: a pooled analysis. J Clin Oncol Off J Am Soc Clin Oncol. 2017 Jan 10;35(2):226–35. Hamid O, Robert C, Ribas A, Hodi FS, Walpole E, Daud A, et al. Antitumour activity of pembrolizumab in advanced mucosal melanoma: a post-hoc analysis of KEYNOTE-001, 002, 006. Br J Cancer 2018;119(6):670–4. Boddupalli CS, Bar N, Kadaveru K, Krauthammer M, Pornputtapong N, Mai Z, et al. Interlesional diversity of T cell receptors in melanoma with immune checkpoints enriched in tissue-resident memory T cells. JCI Insight [Internet]. 2016 Dec 22 [cited 2019 Apr 24];1(21). Available from: https://insight.jci.org/articles/view/88955 Edwards J, Wilmott JS, Madore J, Gide TN, Quek C, Tasker A, et al. CD103+ Tumor-resident CD8+ T cells are associated with improved survival in immunotherapy-naïve melanoma patients and expand significantly during anti-PD-1 treatment. Clin Cancer Res Off J Am Assoc Cancer Res 2018 Jul 1;24(13):3036–45. Savas P, Virassamy B, Ye C, Salim A, Mintoff CP, Caramia F, et al. Single-cell profiling of breast cancer T cells reveals a tissue-resident memory subset associated with improved prognosis. Nat Med 2018 Jul;24(7):986–93.
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    A novel immunogenic mouse model of melanoma for the preclinical assessment of combination targeted and immune-based therapy
    Lelliott, EJ ; Cullinane, C ; Martin, CA ; Walker, R ; Ramsbottom, KM ; Souza-Fonseca-Guimaraes, F ; Abuhammad, S ; Michie, J ; Kirby, L ; Young, RJ ; Slater, A ; Lau, P ; Meeth, K ; Oliaro, J ; Haynes, N ; McArthur, GA ; Sheppard, KE (NATURE PORTFOLIO, 2019-02-04)
    Both targeted therapy and immunotherapy have been used successfully to treat melanoma, but the development of resistance and poor response rates to the individual therapies has limited their success. Designing rational combinations of targeted therapy and immunotherapy may overcome these obstacles, but requires assessment in preclinical models with the capacity to respond to both therapeutic classes. Herein, we describe the development and characterization of a novel, immunogenic variant of the BrafV600ECdkn2a-/-Pten-/- YUMM1.1 tumor model that expresses the immunogen, ovalbumin (YOVAL1.1). We demonstrate that, unlike parental tumors, YOVAL1.1 tumors are immunogenic in vivo and can be controlled by immunotherapy. Importantly, YOVAL1.1 tumors are sensitive to targeted inhibitors of BRAFV600E and MEK, responding in a manner consistent with human BRAFV600E melanoma. The YOVAL1.1 melanoma model is transplantable, immunogenic and sensitive to clinical therapies, making it a valuable platform to guide strategic development of combined targeted therapy and immunotherapy approaches in BRAFV600E melanoma.
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    Inhibition of RNA polymerase I transcription activates targeted DNA damage response and enhances the efficacy of PARP inhibitors in high-grade serous ovarian cancer.
    Sanij, E ; Hannan, K ; Xuan, J ; Yan, S ; Ahern, JA ; Trigos, AS ; Brajanovski, N ; Son, J ; Chan, KT ; Kondrashova, O ; Lieschke, E ; Wakefield, MJ ; Ellis, S ; Cullinane, C ; Poortinga, G ; Khanna, KK ; Mileshkin, L ; McArthur, GA ; Soong, J ; Berns, EM ; Hannan, RD ; Scott, CL ; Sheppard, KE ; Pearson, RB (AMER ASSOC CANCER RESEARCH, 2020-07)
    Abstract Introduction: PARP inhibitors (PARPi) have revolutionized disease management of patients with homologous recombination (HR) DNA repair-deficient high-grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). However, acquired resistance to PARPi is a major challenge in the clinic. The specific inhibitor of RNA polymerase I (Pol I) transcription of ribosomal RNA genes (rDNA) has demonstrated single-agent antitumor activity in p53 wild-type and p53-mutant hematologic malignancies (first-in-human trial, dose escalation study of CX-5461 at Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre) (Khot et al., Cancer Discov 2019). CX-5461 has also been reported to exhibit synthetic lethality with BRCA1/2 deficiency through stabilization of G-quadruplex DNA (GQ) structures. Here, we investigate the efficacy of CX-5461 in treating HGSOC. Experimental Design: The mechanisms by which CX-5461 induces DNA damage response (DDR) and displays synthetic lethality in HR-deficient HGSOC cells are explored. We present in vivo data of mice bearing two functionally and genomically profiled HGSOC-patient-derived xenograft (PDX)s treated with CX-5461 and olaparib, alone and in combination. We also investigate CX-5461-sensitivity gene expression signatures in primary and relapsed HGSOC. Results: Utilizing ovarian cancer cell lines, we demonstrate that sensitivity to CX-5461 is associated with “BRCA1 mutation” and “MYC targets” gene expression signatures. In addition, sensitivity to CX-5461 is associated with high basal rates of Pol I transcription. Importantly, we demonstrate a novel mechanism for CX-5461 synthetic lethal interaction with HR deficiency mediated through the induction of replication stress at rDNA repeats. Our data reveal CX-5461-mediated DDR in HR-deficient cells does not involve stabilization of GQ structures as previously proposed. On the contrary, we show definitively that CX-5461 inhibits Pol I recruitment leading to rDNA chromatin defects including stabilization of R-loops, single-stranded DNA, and replication stress at the rDNA. Mechanistically, we demonstrate CX-5461 leads to replication-dependent DNA damage involving MRE11-dependent degradation of replication forks. Importantly, CX-5461 has a different sensitivity spectrum to olaparib and cooperates with PARPi in exacerbating replication stress, leading to enhanced therapeutic efficacy in HR-deficient HGSOC-PDX in vivo compared to single-agent treatment of both drugs. Further, CX-5461 exhibits single-agent efficacy in olaparib-resistant HGSOC-PDX overcoming PARPi-resistance mechanisms involving fork protection. Importantly, we identify CX-5461-sensitivity gene expression signatures in primary and relapsed HGSOC. Conclusions: CX-5461 is a promising therapy alone and in combination therapy with PARPi in HR-deficient HGSOC. CX-5461 also has exciting potential as a treatment option for patients with relapsed HGSOC tumors that have high MYC activity and poor clinical outcome; these patients currently have very limited effective treatment options. This abstract is also being presented as Poster A71. Citation Format: Elaine Sanij, Katherine Hannan, Jiachen Xuan, Shunfei Yan, Jessica A. Ahern, Anna S. Trigos, Natalie Brajanovski, Jinbae Son, Keefe T. Chan, Olga Kondrashova, Elizabeth Lieschke, Matthew J. Wakefield, Sarah Ellis, Carleen Cullinane, Gretchen Poortinga, Kum Kum Khanna, Linda Mileshkin, Grant A. McArthur, John Soong, Els M. Berns, Ross D. Hannan, Clare L. Scott, Karen E. Sheppard, Richard B. Pearson. Inhibition of RNA polymerase I transcription activates targeted DNA damage response and enhances the efficacy of PARP inhibitors in high-grade serous ovarian cancer [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference on Advances in Ovarian Cancer Research; 2019 Sep 13-16, 2019; Atlanta, GA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Clin Cancer Res 2020;26(13_Suppl):Abstract nr PR13.
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    CX-5461 activates the DNA damage response and demonstrates therapeutic efficacy in high-grade serous ovarian cancer
    Sanij, E ; Hannan, KM ; Xuan, J ; Yan, S ; Ahern, JE ; Trigos, AS ; Brajanovski, N ; Son, J ; Chan, KT ; Kondrashova, O ; Lieschke, E ; Wakefield, MJ ; Frank, D ; Ellis, S ; Cullinane, C ; Kang, J ; Poortinga, G ; Nag, P ; Deans, AJ ; Khanna, KK ; Mileshkin, L ; McArthur, GA ; Soong, J ; Berns, EMJJ ; Hannan, RD ; Scott, CL ; Sheppard, KE ; Pearson, RB (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2020-05-26)
    Acquired resistance to PARP inhibitors (PARPi) is a major challenge for the clinical management of high grade serous ovarian cancer (HGSOC). Here, we demonstrate CX-5461, the first-in-class inhibitor of RNA polymerase I transcription of ribosomal RNA genes (rDNA), induces replication stress and activates the DNA damage response. CX-5461 co-operates with PARPi in exacerbating replication stress and enhances therapeutic efficacy against homologous recombination (HR) DNA repair-deficient HGSOC-patient-derived xenograft (PDX) in vivo. We demonstrate CX-5461 has a different sensitivity spectrum to PARPi involving MRE11-dependent degradation of replication forks. Importantly, CX-5461 exhibits in vivo single agent efficacy in a HGSOC-PDX with reduced sensitivity to PARPi by overcoming replication fork protection. Further, we identify CX-5461-sensitivity gene expression signatures in primary and relapsed HGSOC. We propose CX-5461 is a promising therapy in combination with PARPi in HR-deficient HGSOC and also as a single agent for the treatment of relapsed disease.
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    Regulation of PRMT5-MDM4 axis is critical in the response to CDK4/6 inhibitors in melanoma
    AbuHammad, S ; Cullinane, C ; Martin, C ; Bacolas, Z ; Ward, T ; Chen, H ; Slater, A ; Ardley, K ; Kirby, L ; Chan, KT ; Brajanovski, N ; Smith, LK ; Rao, AD ; Lelliott, EJ ; Kleinschmidt, M ; Vergara, IA ; Papenfuss, AT ; Lau, P ; Ghosh, P ; Haupt, S ; Haupt, Y ; Sanij, E ; Poortinga, G ; Pearson, RB ; Falk, H ; Curtis, DJ ; Stupple, P ; Devlin, M ; Street, I ; Davies, MA ; McArthur, GA ; Sheppard, KE (NATL ACAD SCIENCES, 2019-09-03)
    Cyclin-dependent kinase 4/6 (CDK4/6) inhibitors are an established treatment in estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer and are currently in clinical development in melanoma, a tumor that exhibits high rates of CDK4 activation. We analyzed melanoma cells with acquired resistance to the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib and demonstrate that the activity of PRMT5, a protein arginine methyltransferase and indirect target of CDK4, is essential for CDK4/6 inhibitor sensitivity. By indirectly suppressing PRMT5 activity, palbociclib alters the pre-mRNA splicing of MDM4, a negative regulator of p53, leading to decreased MDM4 protein expression and subsequent p53 activation. In turn, p53 induces p21, leading to inhibition of CDK2, the main kinase substituting for CDK4/6 and a key driver of resistance to palbociclib. Loss of the ability of palbociclib to regulate the PRMT5-MDM4 axis leads to resistance. Importantly, combining palbociclib with the PRMT5 inhibitor GSK3326595 enhances the efficacy of palbociclib in treating naive and resistant models and also delays the emergence of resistance. Our studies have uncovered a mechanism of action of CDK4/6 inhibitors in regulating the MDM4 oncogene and the tumor suppressor, p53. Furthermore, we have established that palbociclib inhibition of the PRMT5-MDM4 axis is essential for robust melanoma cell sensitivity and provide preclinical evidence that coinhibition of CDK4/6 and PRMT5 is an effective and well-tolerated therapeutic strategy. Overall, our data provide a strong rationale for further investigation of novel combinations of CDK4/6 and PRMT5 inhibitors, not only in melanoma but other tumor types, including breast, pancreatic, and esophageal carcinoma.
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    Bioinformatics Pipelines for Targeted Resequencing and Whole-Exome Sequencing of Human and Mouse Genomes: A Virtual Appliance Approach for Instant Deployment
    Li, J ; Doyle, MA ; Saeed, I ; Wong, SQ ; Mar, V ; Goode, DL ; Caramia, F ; Doig, K ; Ryland, GL ; Thompson, ER ; Hunter, SM ; Halgamuge, SK ; Ellul, J ; Dobrovic, A ; Campbell, IG ; Papenfuss, AT ; McArthur, GA ; Tothill, RW ; Calogero, RA (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2014-04-21)
    Targeted resequencing by massively parallel sequencing has become an effective and affordable way to survey small to large portions of the genome for genetic variation. Despite the rapid development in open source software for analysis of such data, the practical implementation of these tools through construction of sequencing analysis pipelines still remains a challenging and laborious activity, and a major hurdle for many small research and clinical laboratories. We developed TREVA (Targeted REsequencing Virtual Appliance), making pre-built pipelines immediately available as a virtual appliance. Based on virtual machine technologies, TREVA is a solution for rapid and efficient deployment of complex bioinformatics pipelines to laboratories of all sizes, enabling reproducible results. The analyses that are supported in TREVA include: somatic and germline single-nucleotide and insertion/deletion variant calling, copy number analysis, and cohort-based analyses such as pathway and significantly mutated genes analyses. TREVA is flexible and easy to use, and can be customised by Linux-based extensions if required. TREVA can also be deployed on the cloud (cloud computing), enabling instant access without investment overheads for additional hardware. TREVA is available at http://bioinformatics.petermac.org/treva/.