Focal adhesion kinase (FAK) overexpression is frequently found in ovarian and other cancers and is predictive of poor clinical outcome. In the current study, we characterized the biological and therapeutic effects of a novel FAK inhibitor, TAE226. Taxane-sensitive (SKOV3ip1 and HeyA8) and taxane-resistant (HeyA8-MDR) cell lines were used for in vitro and in vivo therapy experiments using TAE226 alone and in combination with docetaxel. Assessment of cytotoxicity, cell proliferation [proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA)], angiogenesis (CD31), and apoptosis (terminal nucleotidyl transferase-mediated nick end labeling) were done by immunohistochemistry and immunofluorescence. In vitro, TAE226 inhibited the phosphorylation of FAK at both Y397 and Y861 sites, inhibited cell growth in a time- and dose-dependent manner, and enhanced docetaxel-mediated growth inhibition by 10- and 20-fold in the taxane-sensitive and taxane-resistant cell lines, respectively. In vivo, FAK inhibition by TAE226 significantly reduced tumor burden in the HeyA8, SKOV3ip1, and HeyA8-MDR models (46-64%) compared with vehicle-treated controls. However, the greatest efficacy was observed with concomitant administration of TAE226 and docetaxel in all three models (85-97% reduction, all P values <0.01). In addition, TAE226 alone and in combination with chemotherapy significantly prolonged survival in tumor-bearing mice. Even in larger tumors, combination therapy with TAE226 and docetaxel resulted in tumor regression. The therapeutic efficacy was related to reduced pericyte coverage, induction of apoptosis of tumor-associated endothelial cells, and reduced microvessel density and tumor cell proliferation. The novel FAK inhibitor, TAE226, offers an attractive therapeutic approach in ovarian carcinoma.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research