ALK inhibitors such as the ALK/MET/ROS1 inhibitor crizotinib (Xalkori) have shown clinical efficacy in a number of tumour types. However, in ALK positive neuroblastoma treatment with the ALK inhibitor crizotinib has proved more difficult, highlighting the exploration of new drugs as a clinical priority. A recent report of an increased percentage of ALK positive cases in the relapsed neuroblastoma patient population, together with the increased repertoire of ALK inhibitors now available, led to the investigation of alternative ALK inhibitors with potential for use in treatment of neuroblastoma. Here we report an investigation of the activity of a next generation ALK inhibitor in a range of in vitro and pre-clinical ALK driven neuroblastoma models.

Initially PF-06463922 was tested in various neuroblastoma cell lines and a range of gain-of-function ALK neuroblastoma mutations were subsequently analyzed in more detail in engineered Ba/F3 and PC12 cell models and by in vitro kinase assays, comparing the effect of PF-06463922 in abrogating cell growth and induced pharmacodynamics markers of response with the ALK inhibitor crizotinib. These results clearly show PF-06463922 to be a superior inhibitor of ALK kinase activity inhibiting all neuroblastoma mutant ALK forms assayed. Finally, single agent oral administration of PF-06463922 lead to induction of apoptosis and a dramatic reduction in tumour volume in a genetically engineered mouse model of treatment-resistant high-risk neuroblastoma driven by aberrant expression of MYCN and activated ALK. Taken together, our results suggest that PF-06463922 represents an important potential step forward in the treatment of relapsed neuroblastoma with mutated ALK.

Statement of significance: Our results together with PK/PD analysis of PF-06463922 suggest future clinical trial investigation of ALK positive neuroblastoma

Citation Format: J. Guan, L. Danielson, D. Chand, Y. Jamin, K. Ruuth, E. Tucker, G. Umapathy, A. El Wakil, B. Witek, T. W. Johnson, T. Smeal, L. Chesler, R. H. Palmer, B. Hallberg. The ALK inhibitor PF-06463922 shows significant response as a single agent in ALK/MYCN driven models of neuroblastoma. [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR Special Conference on Advances in Pediatric Cancer Research: From Mechanisms and Models to Treatment and Survivorship; 2015 Nov 9-12; Fort Lauderdale, FL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2016;76(5 Suppl):Abstract nr B12.