Targeting cytosolic nucleic acid sensing pathways to activate the Type I interferon (IFN) response is an emerging therapeutic strategy being explored in oncology. The PARP family consists of seventeen enzymes that regulate fundamental biological processes including response to cellular stress. PARP7 (TIPARP) is a stress-induced mono-ART that catalyzes the transfer of a single unit of ADP-ribose onto substrates (MARylation) to regulate their function and plays a role in suppressing the Type I IFN response in tumor cells (Gozgit 2021 Cancer Cell). RBN-2397 is the first potent and selective small molecule inhibitor of PARP7 catalytic function. To investigate the cell autonomous effects of PARP7 inhibition, we performed a cell line screen to identify PARP7 dependent cancer cell lines. We found that treatment of a subset of lines across several cancers led to a robust decrease in cell viability. Additionally, dosing of tumor bearing mice led to complete regressions in NCI-H1373 lung cancer xenografts. To investigate the mechanism of action (MOA) leading to decreased cell viability, we treated NCI-H1373 cells with RBN-2397 and found accumulation of cells in the G0/G1 phase of the cell cycle indicative of a cell cycle arrest. This arrest in NCI-H1373 cells was associated with the induction of senescence and increased mRNA expression of senescence associated secretory phenotype (SASP) genes. To evaluate the in vivo MOA, we performed an NCI-H1373 xenograft study and collected tumors after 7 days of RBN-2397 treatment. PARP7 inhibition led to decreased expression of Ki67, and increased expression of P21 and cleaved caspase-3, suggesting decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis. Increased expression of SASP genes was also observed in RBN-2397 treated tumors. Finally, we investigated transcriptional changes after RBN-2397 treatment by RNA sequencing. In addition to the effects observed in Type I IFN signaling, we also observed differential expression of genes associated with other pathways including autophagy and energy metabolism. Further evaluation of key autophagy proteins revealed that RBN-2397 affects autophagy flux and leads to a decrease in the oxygen consumption rate of cells and reduced ATP production from the mitochondria, suggesting that a change in energy metabolism may be related to the tumor intrinsic effect of RBN-2397. In summary, we show treatment of cancer cells with RBN-2397 not only leads to activation of tumor cell IFN signaling, but also causes G1 arrest and senescence, and changes in cancer cell autophagy and energy metabolism. In vivo, RBN-2397 treatment leads to complete tumor regressions in xenografts accompanied by decreased proliferation and increased apoptosis of tumor cells. RBN-2397 is currently being evaluated in the clinic as single agent in selected cancer types (NCT04053673) and in combination with anti-PD-1 therapies.

Citation Format: Jennifer R. Molina, Joseph M. Gozgit, Melissa M. Vasbinder, Ryan P. Abo, Kaiko kunii, Kristy G. Kuplast-Barr, Bin Gui, Sunaina P. Nayak, Elena Minissale, Kerren K. Swinger, Tim J. Wigle, Alvin Z. Lu, Danielle J. Blackwell, Christina R. Majer, Yue Ren, Ellen Bamberg, Mario Niepel, Jan-Rung Mo, William D. Church, Ahmed S. Mady, Jeff Song, Zacharenia A. Varsamis, Luke Utley, Patricia E. Rao, Timoty J. Mitchison, Kevin W. Kuntz, Victoria M. Richon, Kristen McEachern, Heike Keilhack. PARP7 inhibitor RBN-2397 increases tumoral IFN signaling leading to various tumor cell intrinsic effects and tumor regressions in mouse models [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2022; 2022 Apr 8-13. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2022;82(12_Suppl):Abstract nr 2154.