Selective RAF inhibitors have significant activity in patients with metastatic melanoma whose tumors express BRAFV600E. However, not all patients respond equally well to treatment and the duration of response is often limited to less than 6 months. LGX818 was developed with the hypothesis that a more potent inhibitor with excellent pharmacological properties would maximize the degree and duration of patient response. LGX818 is a highly potent RAF inhibitor with selective anti-proliferative and apoptotic activity in cells expressing BRAFV600E. In the A375 (BRAFV600E) human melanoma cell line LGX818 suppresses phospho-ERK (EC50 = 3 nM) leading to potent inhibition of proliferation (EC50 = 4 nM). No significant activity was observed against a panel of 100 kinases (IC50 > 900 nM) and LGX818 did not inhibit proliferation of > 400 cell lines expressing wild-type BRAF. Contributing to the high potency of LGX818 is the extremely slow off-rate from BRAFV600E which is not observed with other RAF inhibitors. In biochemical assays the dissociation half-life was >24 hours which translated into sustained target inhibition in cells following drug wash-out. Single dose PK/PD studies in human melanoma xenograft models (BRAFV600E) indicated that LGX818 treatment at oral doses as low as 6 mg/kg resulted in strong (75%) and sustained (>24 hours) decrease in phospho-MEK, even following clearance of drug from circulation. Decreases in phospho-ERK were consistent with phospho-MEK but markers of downstream transcriptional output (DUSP6 and SPRY4) appeared to provide a more sensitive measure of pathway activation. LGX818 induced tumor regression in multiple BRAF mutant human tumor xenograft models grown in immune compromised mice and rats at doses as low as 1 mg/kg. Consistent with the in vitro data, LGX818 was inactive against BRAF wild-type tumors at doses up to 300 mg/kg bid, with good tolerability and linear increase in exposure. Efficacy was also achieved in a more disease-relevant spontaneous metastatic melanoma and a model of melanoma brain metastasis. LGX818 is a potent and selective RAF kinase inhibitor with unique biochemical properties that contribute to an excellent pharmacological profile. A Phase I clinical trial in patients with BRAF mutant tumors is ongoing.

Citation Format: {Authors}. {Abstract title} [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 103rd Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2012 Mar 31-Apr 4; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2012;72(8 Suppl):Abstract nr 3790. doi:1538-7445.AM2012-3790