Endocrine resistance is a clinical challenge for the treatment of estrogen receptor positive (ER+) breast cancer (BC). CDK4/6 blockade in combination with endocrine therapy has shown clinical activity in metastatic ER+ BC refractory to anti-hormonal treatment. However, there is a need for biomarkers that can predict the response to this treatment and improve patient stratification. We aimed to address this issue using xenograft models established from samples of ER+ BC patients.

Six ER+ PDXs were treated with continuous doses of a CDK4/6 inhibitor (LEE011, 75mg/kg, 6IW) and a PI3K-alpha inhibitor (BYL719, 35mg/kg, 6IW) as single agents and in combination, and intrinsic sensitivity to these agents was evaluated. The models were then genomically characterized using a capture-based sequencing panel and by digital PCR.

One PDX model was intrinsically sensitive to single-agent CDK4/6 inhibition and experienced tumor regression, but all individual tumors eventually escaped therapy after 50 days of treatment. This particular model harbored an ESR1-mutation and concomitant losses of CDKN2A/B. At relapse, we identified the acquisition of an RB1 frameshift mutation. Interestingly, upfront combined treatment with a PI3K-alpha inhibitor delayed the onset of tumor progression. Two out of the remaining five CDK4/6-resistant PDXs harbored either a frameshift mutation in RB1 (plus loss of heterozygosity) or had low pRb protein expression. Two other resistant models harbored CCND1 and MYC amplifications. The remaining one harbored a TSC1 loss. In all the CDK4/6-resistant PDX, however, the combination of CDK4/6 and PI3K-alpha inhibition resulted in tumor regression.

From our results, we conclude that loss of G1-cell cycle checkpoint control, such as mutation/loss of RB1 and CCND1-amplification, is associated with lack of response to CDK4/6 blockade in ER+ BC PDX. The addition of a PI3K-alpha inhibitor results in improvement of disease control in all experimental models tested.

Citation Format: Violeta Serra, Marta Palafox, Maria-Teresa Herrera, Martin A Rivas, Marta Guzmán, Olga Rodriguez, Judit Grueso, Meritxell Bellet, Mafalda Oliveira, Cristina Saura, Emmanuelle di Tomaso, Giordi Camponigro, Nicholas C. Turner, Javier Cortés, José Baselga. Identification of CDK4/6-response biomarkers using estrogen receptor-positive breast cancer patient-derived xenografts (PDX). [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the 107th Annual Meeting of the American Association for Cancer Research; 2016 Apr 16-20; New Orleans, LA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(14 Suppl):Abstract nr 2825.