Combination of Tipifarnib and Sunitinib Overcomes Renal Cell Carcinoma Resistance to Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors via Tumor-Derived Exosome and T Cell Modulation

Extracellular Vesicles

Greenberg, Jacob W., Hogyoung Kim, Miae Ahn, Ahmed A. Moustafa, He Zhou, Pedro C. Barata, A. Hamid Boulares, Asim B. Abdel-Mageed, and Louis S. Krane. 2022. “Combination of Tipifarnib and Sunitinib Overcomes Renal Cell Carcinoma Resistance to Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors via Tumor-Derived Exosome and T Cell Modulation.” Cancers 14 (4): 903.

Background: Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) were initially demonstrated as an efficacious treatment for renal cell carcinoma (RCC). However, after a median treatment length of 14 months, a vast majority of patients develop resistance. This study analyzed a combination therapy of tipifarnib (Tipi) + sunitinib that targeted exosome-conferred drug resistance. Methods: 786-O, 786-O-SR (sunitinib resistant), A498, A498-SR, Caki-2, Caki-2-SR, and 293T cells were cultured. Exosomes were collected using differential ultracentrifugation. Cell proliferation, Jurkat T cell immune assay, and immunoblot analysis were used for downstream analysis. Results: SR exosomes treatment displayed a cytotoxic effect on immune cells. This cytotoxic effect was associated with increased expression of PD-L1 on SR exosomes when compared to sunitinib-sensitive (SS) exosomes. Additionally, Tipi treatment downregulated PD-L1 expression on exosomes derived from SR cell lines. Tipi’s ability to downregulate PD-L1 in exosomes has a significant application within patients. Exosomes collected from patients with RCC showed increased PD-L1 expression over subjects without RCC. Next, exosome concentrations were then compared after Tipi treatment, with all SS cell lines displaying an even greater reduction. On immunoblot assay, 293T cells showed a dose-dependent increase in Alix with no change in either nSMase or Rab27a. Conversely, all the SS and SR cell lines displayed a decrease in all three markers. After a cell proliferation employed a 48-h treatment on all SS and SR cell lines, the drug combination displayed synergistic ability to decrease tumor growth. Conclusions: Tipifarnib attenuates both the exosome endosomal sorting complex required for endosomal sorting complex required for transport (ESCRT)-dependent and ESCRT-independent pathways, thereby blocking exosome biogenesis and secretion as well as downregulating PD-L1 on SS and SR cells.

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