Science Translational Medicine
April 29, 2020
Gastrointestinal stromal tumor (GIST) is the most common human sarcoma driven by mutations in KIT or platelet-derived growth factor α (PDGFRα). Although first-line treatment, imatinib, has revolutionized GIST treatment, drug resistance due to acquisition of secondary KIT/PDGFRα mutations develops in a majority of patients. Second- and third-line treatments, sunitinib and regorafenib, lack activity against a plethora of mutations in KIT/PDGFRα in GIST, with median time to disease progression of 4 to 6 months and inhibition of vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 (VEGFR2) causing high-grade hypertension. Patients with GIST have an unmet need for a well-tolerated drug that robustly inhibits a range of KIT/PDGFRα mutations. Here, we report the discovery and pharmacological characterization of AZD3229, a potent and selective small-molecule inhibitor of KIT and PDGFRα designed to inhibit a broad range of primary and imatinib-resistant secondary mutations seen in GIST. In engineered and GIST-derived cell lines, AZD3229 is 15 to 60 times more potent than imatinib in inhibiting KIT primary mutations and has low nanomolar activity against a wide spectrum of secondary mutations. AZD3229 causes durable inhibition of KIT signaling in patient-derived xenograft (PDX) models of GIST, leading to tumor regressions at doses that showed no changes in arterial blood pressure (BP) in rat telemetry studies. AZD3229 has a superior potency and selectivity profile to standard of care (SoC) agents-imatinib, sunitinib, and regorafenib, as well as investigational agents, avapritinib (BLU-285) and ripretinib (DCC-2618). AZD3229 has the potential to be a best-in-class inhibitor for clinically relevant KIT/PDGFRα mutations in GIST.