MK-0457 (VX-680) is a reversible small molecule kinase inhibitor that targets Aurora A, B, and C with Ki values of 0.7, 18, and 4.6 nM, respectively. MK-0457 also inhibits Flt3 (Ki = 30 nM), and both the wild type and the T315I mutant of BCR-ABL (Ki = 30 and 40 nM, respectively). Clinical trials are ongoing in patients with solid tumors and hematological malignancies. Recent data show that MK-0457 is active in patients against subtypes of AML, BCR-ABL T315I mutant CML, and Philadelphia positive (Ph+) ALL. To support multi-agent clinical trials, the activity of MK-0457 in combination with idarubicin, Ara-C, and BCR-ABL inhibitors was investigated. The viability of a panel of AML, ALL, and CML cell lines was assessed following single agent and either simultaneous or sequential combinations of agents. Combination effects were evaluated using the Bliss Independence Model. MK-0457 as a single agent markedly inhibited leukemia cell viability (at 72 hrs) with an IC50 range of 20–300 nM for MV4-11, Molt-4, Molm-13, K562, LAMA-84, MEG-01, and KU812F cells. Additionally, MK-0457 inhibited the viability of BaF3 cells transformed by wild type, T315I, or Y253F mutants of BCR-ABL with similar IC50s (approximately 300 nM). The sequential combination of MK-0457 followed by either idarubicin or Ara-C showed greater synergy than simultaneous combinations in a cell line dependent manner. MK-0457 displayed strong synergy in simultaneous combination with Gleevec (imatinib mesylate) in a panel of human CML-derived cell lines and BaF3 cells expressing wild type BCR-ABL. MK-0457 enhanced the Gleevec-mediated cell death of K562 leukemia cells as evidenced by increased caspase activity, PARP cleavage, and induction of the sub-G1 population. At concentrations where synergy was observed by cell viability analysis, the MK-0457/Gleevec combination resulted predominantly in aneuploidy and G2/M arrest, consistent with inhibition of Aurora kinases by MK-0457. These results support the clinical evaluation of MK-0457 combined with idarubicin and Ara-C in AML and with BCR-ABL inhibitors in CML and Ph+ ALL.

Disclosures: RRH and MWH are employees of Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; RRH and MWH have ownership interest in Vertex Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

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