MKNK1 (MAP kinase-interacting serine/threonine-protein kinase, also known as Mnk1) is activated by the mitogen-activated protein kinases ERK1/2 and p38. Thus, MKNK1 signaling is involved in the cellular response to environmental stress factors and cytokines. Of particular interest, MKNK1 kinase was shown to regulate mRNA translation by phosphorylating the translation initiation factor eIF4E (eukaryotic translation initiation factor 4E), known to be critical for malignant transformation but dispensable for translation in normal cells. In addition, MKNK is involved in resistance mechanisms to cancer therapeutics. Thus, the inhibition of MKNK1 activity may provide an innovative approach for anti-cancer therapy.

BAY 1143269 was identified as a potent and selective inhibitor of MKNK1 activity with an unprecedented mode of action.

It inhibits the phosphorylation of eIF4E in various cancer cell lines in vitro and leads to reduced expression of MKNK-regulated translational downstream targets, including survivin, Cdc25C and cyclin B1. In addition, BAY 1143269 potently inhibits cytokine release in LPS stimulated human blood.

In vivo, BAY 1143269 shows a significant monotherapy efficacy in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), colorectal cancer and melanoma xenograft models after an once daily, oral application of 200 mg/kg in mice and 70 mg/kg in rats.

Furthermore, combination treatment with chemotherapy and BAY 1143269 gives additive efficacy in several NSCLC cell lines and patient-derived xenograft models leading to partial response (Lu7558, A549), stable disease (Lu7187, Lu7166) or significant delay in tumor re-growth versus chemotherapy alone after stop of treatment (Lu7558).

In summary, BAY 1143269 is a selective, orally available MKNK1 inhibitor that demonstrates preclinical in vivo efficacy in mono- and combination therapy and may provide therapeutic benefit for patients with solid tumors.

Citation Format: Susann Santag, Franziska Siegel, Antje Margret Wegner, Claudia Schneider, Ulf Boemer, Knut Eis, Florian Puehler, Martin Michels, Franz von Nussbaum, Karl Ziegelbauer, Dominik Mumberg, Kirstin Petersen. Preclinical anti-tumor efficacy and mode of action of a novel, orally available, selective MKNK1 inhibitor [BAY 1143269]. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 106th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2015 Apr 18-22; Philadelphia, PA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2015;75(15 Suppl):Abstract nr 2604. doi:10.1158/1538-7445.AM2015-2604