Abstract

Polycomb repressive complex 2 (PRC2) methylates histone H3 lysine 27 (H3K27) and represses gene expression to regulate cell proliferation and differentiation. Enhancer of zeste homolog 2 (EZH2) or its close homolog EZH1 function as catalytic subunits of PRC2, so there are two PRC2 complexes containing either EZH2 or EZH1. Many reports suggest that inhibiting PRC2 activity through EZH2 knockdown gives rise to anti-cancer effect against hematological and solid cancers.

To date, some EZH2 selective inhibitors have demonstrated anti-cancer potential in preclinical and clinical studies. In spite of this promise, there is concern that the efficacy anticipated with EZH2 selective inhibitors may be compromised due to compensation by EZH1 activity.

Herein, we describe the novel, orally bioavailable EZH1/2 dual inhibitor DS-3201. This compound strongly and selectively inhibited the methyltransferase activity of both EZH1 and EZH2 with an IC50 value of 10 nM and 6.0 nM, respectively in cell-free enzymatic assays. This compound also suppressed trimethylation of H3K27 in cells (IC50: 0.55 nM) more potently than EZH2 selective inhibitors.

In order to identify the anti-cancer spectrum of DS-3201, we tested its in vitro growth inhibition activity against a panel of cancer cell lines including a variety of hematological cancers. Among the panel, hematological cell lines showed particular sensitivity to DS-3201, with GI50 values less than 100 nM, including 1) acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) cell lines harboring fusion genes, such as MLL-AF9, MLL-AF4, or AML1-ETO, 2) diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) cell lines having EZH2 gain-of-function (GOF) mutations, 3) most of the peripheral T-cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma cell lines tested. Our data thus shows this compound has broader anti-cancer activity than EZH2 selective inhibitors, especially in hematology cancers. We also evaluated the in vivo anti-tumor efficacy of DS-3201 against KARPAS-422, a DLBCL tumor xenograft with an EZH2 GOF mutation. A 100 mg/kg once daily oral administration of DS-3201 caused nearly complete tumor regression without any body weight loss and 25 mg/kg administration also showed clear tumor growth delay.

Based on these results, we initiated clinical studies of DS-3201 for patients with lymphoma (Clinical trial information: NCT02732275) and for those with AML and ALL (NCT03110354).

Disclosures

Honma: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment. Adachi: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment. Kanno: Asubio Pharma Co., Ltd.: Employment. Watanabe: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment. Hirasawa: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment. Nosaka: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment. Shiroishi: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment. Takizawa: Daiichi Sankyo RD Novare Co., Ltd.: Employment. Yasumatsu: Daiichi Sankyo RD Novare Co., Ltd.: Employment. Horiuchi: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment. Nakao: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment. Suzuki: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment. Yamasaki: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment. Nakajima: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment. Hayakawa: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment. Yamazaki: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment. Araki: Daiichi Sankyo: Employment. Fujiwara: Daiichi Sankyo Co., Ltd.: Employment.

Author notes

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Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.