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.
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