Targeted activity of the small molecule kinase inhibitor Pz-1 towards RET and TRK kinases

Marialuisa Moccia, Donglin Yang, Naga Rajiv Lakkaniga, Brendan Frett, Nicholas McConnell, Lingtian Zhang, Annalisa Brescia, Giorgia Federico, Lingzhi Zhang, Paolo Salerno, Massimo Santoro, Hong yu Li, Francesca Carlomagno

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5 Scopus citations


We have recently described Pz-1, a benzimidazole-based type-2 RET and VEGFR2 inhibitor. Based on a kinome scan, here we show that Pz-1 is also a potent (IC50 < 1 nM) TRKA/B/C inhibitor. Pz-1 potently inhibited proliferation of human cancer cells carrying either RET- or TRKA oncoproteins (IC50 ~ 1 nM), with a negligible effect against RET- and TRKA-negative cells. By testing mutations, known to mediate resistance to other compounds, RET G810R/S, but not L730I/V, E732K, V738A and Y806N, showed some degree of resistance to Pz-1. In the case of TRKA, G595R and F589L, but not G667C, showed some degree of resistance. In xenograft models, orally administered Pz-1 almost completely inhibited RET- and TRKA-mutant tumours at 1–3 mg/kg/day but showed a reduced effect on RET/TRKA-negative cancer models. The activity, albeit reduced, on RET/TRKA-negative tumours may be justified by VEGFR2 inhibition. Tumours induced by NIH3T3 cells transfected by RET G810R and TRKA G595R featured resistance to Pz-1, demonstrating that RET or TRKA inhibition is critical for its anti-tumourigenic effect. In conclusion, Pz-1 represents a new powerful kinase inhibitor with distinct activity towards cancers induced by oncogenic RET and TRKA variants, including some mutants displaying resistance to other drugs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number16103
JournalScientific reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

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