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Clinical development of galunisertib (LY2157299 monohydrate), a small molecule inhibitor of transforming growth factor-beta signaling pathway

Authors Herbertz S, Sawyer JS, Stauber AJ, Gueorguieva I, Driscoll KE, Estrem ST, Cleverly AL, Desaiah D, Guba S, Benhadji KA, Slapak CA, Lahn M

Received 14 April 2015

Accepted for publication 19 May 2015

Published 10 August 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 4479—4499


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 4

Editor who approved publication: Professor Shu-Feng Zhou

Video abstract presented by Susan Guba

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Stephan Herbertz,1 J Scott Sawyer,2 Anja J Stauber,2 Ivelina Gueorguieva,3 Kyla E Driscoll,4 Shawn T Estrem,2 Ann L Cleverly,Durisala Desaiah,2 Susan C Guba,2 Karim A Benhadji,2 Christopher A Slapak,2 Michael M Lahn2

Lilly Deutschland GmbH, Bad Homburg, Germany; 2Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, Indianapolis, IN, USA; 3Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, Windlesham, Surrey, UK; 4Lilly Research Laboratories, Eli Lilly and Company, New York, NY, USA

Abstract: Transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) signaling regulates a wide range of biological processes. TGF-β plays an important role in tumorigenesis and contributes to the hallmarks of cancer, including tumor proliferation, invasion and metastasis, inflammation, angiogenesis, and escape of immune surveillance. There are several pharmacological approaches to block TGF-β signaling, such as monoclonal antibodies, vaccines, antisense oligonucleotides, and small molecule inhibitors. Galunisertib (LY2157299 monohydrate) is an oral small molecule inhibitor of the TGF-β receptor I kinase that specifically downregulates the phosphorylation of SMAD2, abrogating activation of the canonical pathway. Furthermore, galunisertib has antitumor activity in tumor-bearing animal models such as breast, colon, lung cancers, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Continuous long-term exposure to galunisertib caused cardiac toxicities in animals requiring adoption of a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic-based dosing strategy to allow further development. The use of such a pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic model defined a therapeutic window with an appropriate safety profile that enabled the clinical investigation of galunisertib. These efforts resulted in an intermittent dosing regimen (14 days on/14 days off, on a 28-day cycle) of galunisertib for all ongoing trials. Galunisertib is being investigated either as monotherapy or in combination with standard antitumor regimens (including nivolumab) in patients with cancer with high unmet medical needs such as glioblastoma, pancreatic cancer, and hepatocellular carcinoma. The present review summarizes the past and current experiences with different pharmacological treatments that enabled galunisertib to be investigated in patients.

Keywords: TGF-β, TGF-βRI kinase inhibitor, ALK5, galunisertib, LY2157299, cancer, clinical trials

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