Pediatric Low-Grade glioma (PLGG) is the most common brain tumor in children. Current treatment protocols, particularly those involving high dose radiation therapy are associated with neurocognitive and neuroendocrine dysfunction. Genomic studies have revealed that PLGG are characterized by activation of the MAPK cascade. Recently, the value of selumetinib, an allosteric inhibitor of MEK1/2 has been demonstrated in PLGG. However, drug resistance will inevitably limit the efficacy. Trametinib is a more potent MEK1/2 inhibitor with better brain penetration than selumetinib. Here we have attempted to identify the mechanism/s of the resistance to trametinib that PLGG developes, and to explore combination treatments that may retard or prevent emergence of trametinib resistance in animal models.

In BT-40 (childhood anaplastic astrocytoma with BRAFV600E mutation) xenografts, trametinib caused complete tumor regressions, followed by tumor regrowth at the end of treatment. Trametinib treatment rapidly induced pSTAT3(Y705), that was blocked by the JAK1/2 inhibitor, ruxolitinib. Agaist BT-40 xenografts, ruxolitinib slightly enhanced the antitumor response to trametinib. The combination of trametinib with rapamycin was more active in each xenograft line than either single agent alone and in both subcutaneous and intracranial BT-40 models. In BT-40 xenografts, resistance to trametinib was consistently induced within 3 or 4 6-week cycles of treatment similar to that for the trametinib + ruxolitinib combination. In contrast, resistance to combined trametinib and rapamycin was not developed. Rapamycin prevented emergence of trametinib resistance, but did not reverse resistance to trametinib, once acquired. Inhibition of MAPK signaling by trametinib was similar in parental and trametinib-resistant BT-40 xenografts, however, trametinib reistant tumor cells failed to undergo apoptosis. Cells freshly isolated from trametinib resistant BT-40 xenografts had a higher apoptotic threshhold, whereas cells isolated from BT-40 xenografts after 3 cycles of trametinib + rapamycin, remained equally sensitive to parental BT-40 cells, as determined by BH3 profiling. This study reveals a potential new therapeutic use of rapamycin, preventing emergence of resistance to trametinib. Potentially, addition of rapamycin to MEK inhibitor therapy children with BRAF-driven low-grade glioma may be of value.

Citation Format: Fuyang Li. Regulation of TOR complex 1 by the BRAFV600EMutant determines response and development of resistance to MEK inhibition by trametinib in glioma models [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2019; 2019 Mar 29-Apr 3; Atlanta, GA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2019;79(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 3113.