A phase 1/2 clinical trial of the nitric oxide synthase inhibitor L-NMMA and taxane for treating chemoresistant triple-negative breast cancer

Andrew W. Chung, Kartik Anand, Ann C. Anselme, Alfred A. Chan, Nakul Gupta, Luz A. Venta, Mary R. Schwartz, Wei Qian, Yitian Xu, Licheng Zhang, John Kuhn, Tejal Patel, Angel A. Rodriguez, Anna Belcheva, Jorge Darcourt, Joe Ensor, Eric Bernicker, Ping Ying Pan, Shu Hsia Chen, Delphine J. LeePolly A. Niravath, Jenny C. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The inducible nitric oxide signaling (iNOS) pathway is associated with poor prognosis in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). Prior studies using in vivo models showed that inhibition of the iNOS signaling pathway using the pan-NOS inhibitor NG-monomethyl-l-arginine (L-NMMA) reduced tumor growth and enhanced survival in patients with TNBC. Here, we report a first-in-class phase 1/2 trial of L-NMMA combined with taxane for treating patients with chemorefractory, locally advanced breast cancer (LABC) or metastatic TNBC. We also examined immune cell correlates of chemotherapy response. 35 patients with metastatic TNBC were recruited: 15 in the phase 1 trial and 24 in the phase 2 trial (including 4 recommended phase 2 dose patients from the phase 1 trial). The overall response rate was 45.8% (11 of 24): 81.8% (9 of 11) for patients with LABC and 15.4% (2 of 13) for patients with metastatic TNBC. Among the patients with LABC, three patients had a pathological complete response at surgery (27.3%). Grade ≥3 toxicity was noted in 21% of patients; however, no adverse events were attributed to L-NMMA. Immune cells analyzed by CyTOF indicated that chemotherapy nonresponders showed greater expression of markers associated with M2 macrophage polarization and increased concentrations of circulating IL-6 and IL-10 cytokines. In contrast, chemotherapy responders showed an increase in CD15+ neutrophils in blood, as well as a decrease in arginase (a marker of protumor N2 neutrophils) in tumor biopsies obtained at the end of treatment. L-NMMA combined with taxane warrants further investigation in larger clinical studies of patients with breast cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberabj5070
JournalScience translational medicine
Volume13
Issue number624
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 15 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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