British journal of cancer

Development of a cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor devoid of ABC transporter-dependent drug resistance.

PMID 24071597


Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) control cell cycle progression, RNA transcription and apoptosis, making them attractive targets for anticancer drug development. Unfortunately, CDK inhibitors developed to date have demonstrated variable efficacy. We generated drug-resistant cells by continuous low-dose exposure to a model pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine CDK inhibitor and investigated potential structural alterations for optimal efficacy. We identified induction of the ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters, ABCB1 and ABCG2, in resistant cells. Assessment of features involved in the ABC transporter substrate specificity from a compound library revealed high polar surface area (>100 Å(2)) as a key determinant of transporter interaction. We developed ICEC-0782 that preferentially inhibited CDK2, CDK7 and CDK9 in the nanomolar range. The compound inhibited phosphorylation of CDK substrates and downregulated the short-lived proteins, Mcl-1 and cyclin D1. ICEC-0782 induced G2/M arrest and apoptosis. The permeability and cytotoxicity of ICEC-0782 were unaffected by ABC transporter expression. Following daily oral dosing, the compound inhibited growth of human colon HCT-116 and human breast MCF7 tumour xenografts in vivo by 84% and 94%, respectively. We identified a promising pyrazolo[1,5-a]pyrimidine compound devoid of ABC transporter interaction, highly suitable for further preclinical and clinical evaluation for the treatment of cancer.