Toxicology mechanisms and methods

Preclinical models of nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase inhibitor-mediated hematotoxicity and mitigation by co-treatment with nicotinic acid.

PMID 25894564


Nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NAD) is an essential co-factor in glycolysis and is a key molecule involved in maintaining cellular energy metabolism. Nicotinamide phosphoribosyltransferase (NAMPT) catalyzes the rate-limiting step of an important salvage pathway in which nicotinamide is recycled into NAD. NAMPT is up-regulated in many types of cancer and NAMPT inhibitors (NAMPTi) have potential therapeutic benefit in cancer by impairing tumor metabolism. Clinical trials with NAMPTi APO-866 and GMX-1778, however, failed to reach projected efficacious exposures due to dose-limiting thrombocytopenia. We evaluated preclinical models for thrombocytopenia that could be used in candidate drug selection and risk mitigation strategies for NAMPTi-related toxicity. Rats treated with a suite of structurally diverse and potent NAMPTi at maximum tolerated doses had decreased reticulocyte and lymphocyte counts, but no thrombocytopenia. We therefore evaluated and qualified a human colony forming unit-megakaryocyte (CFU-MK) as in vitro predictive model of NAMPTi-induced MK toxicity and thrombocytopenia. We further demonstrate that the MK toxicity is on-target based on the evidence that nicotinic acid (NA), which is converted to NAD via a NAMPT-independent pathway, can mitigate NAMPTi toxicity to human CFU-MK in vitro and was also protective for the hematotoxicity in rats in vivo. Finally, assessment of CFU-MK and human platelet bioenergetics and function show that NAMPTi was toxic to MK and not platelets, which is consistent with the clinically observed time-course of thrombocytopenia.