Preclinical efficacy of bevacizumab with CRLX101, an investigational nanoparticle-drug conjugate, in treatment of metastatic triple-negative breast cancer

E. Pham, M. Yin, C. G. Peters, C. R. Lee, D. Brown, P. Xu, S. Man, L. Jayaraman, E. Rohde, A. Chow, D. Lazarus, S. Eliasof, F. S. Foster, R. S. Kerbel
Cancer Research2016
VEGF-pathway targeting antiangiogenic drugs, such as bevacizumab, when combined with chemotherapy have changed clinical practice for the treatment of a broad spectrum of human cancers. However, adaptive resistance often develops and one major mechanism is elevated tumor hypoxia and upregulated HIF-1α caused by antiangiogenic treatment. Reduced tumor vessel numbers and function following antiangiogenic therapy may also affect intratumoral delivery of concurrently administered chemotherapy. Nonetheless, combining chemotherapy and bevacizumab can lead to improved response rates, progression-free survival, and sometimes overall survival, the extent of which can partly depend on the chemotherapy backbone. A rational, complementing chemotherapy partner for combination with bevacizumab would not only reduce HIF-1α to overcome hypoxia-induced resistance, but also improve tumor perfusion to maintain intratumoral drug delivery. Here we evaluated bevacizumab and CRLX101, an investigational nanoparticle-drug conjugate containing camptothecin, in preclinical mouse models of orthotopic primary triple-negative breast tumor xenografts, including a patient-derived xenograft. We also evaluated long-term efficacy of CRLX101 and bevacizumab to treat postsurgical, advanced metastatic breast cancer in mice. CRLX101 alone and combined with bevacizumab was highly efficacious, leading to complete tumor regressions, reduced metastasis, and greatly extended survival of mice with metastatic disease. Moreover, CRLX101 led to improved tumor perfusion and reduced hypoxia, as measured by contrast-enhanced ultrasound and photoacoustic imaging. CRLX101 durably suppressed HIF-1α, thus potentially counteracting undesirable effects of elevated tumor hypoxia caused by bevacizumab. Our preclinical results show pairing a potent cytotoxic nanoparticle chemotherapeutic that complements and improves concurrent antiangiogenic therapy may be a promising treatment strategy for metastatic breast cancer.
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