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DOI: 10.1101/2023.05.23.540590

Suppression of tumor cell lactate-generating signaling pathways eradicates murine PTEN/p53-deficient aggressive-variant prostate cancer via macrophage phagocytosis

K. K.Chaudagar H. Hieromnimon A. Kelley ...+9 A. Patnaik
Purpose: PTEN loss-of-function/PI3K pathway hyperactivation occurs in ~50% of metastatic, castrate-resistant prostate cancer patients, resulting in poor therapeutic outcomes and resistance to immune checkpoint inhibitors across multiple malignancies. Our prior studies in prostate-specific PTEN/p53-deleted genetically engineered mice (Pb-Cre;PTENfl/flTrp53fl/fl GEM) with aggressive-variant prostate cancer (AVPC) demonstrated feedback Wnt/{beta}-catenin signaling activation in 40% mice resistant to androgen deprivation therapy (ADT)/PI3K inhibitor (PI3Ki)/PD-1 antibody (aPD-1) combination, resulting in restoration of lactate cross-talk between tumor-cells and tumor-associated macrophages (TAM), histone lactylation (H3K18lac) and phagocytic suppression within TAM. Here, we targeted immunometabolic mechanism(s) of resistance to ADT/PI3Ki/aPD-1 combination, with the goal of durable tumor control in PTEN/p53-deficient PC. Experimental design: Pb-Cre;PTENfl/flTrp53fl/fl GEM were treated with either ADT (degarelix), PI3Ki (copanlisib), aPD-1, MEK inhibitor (trametinib) or Porcupine inhibitor (LGK`974) as single agents or their combinations. MRI was used to monitor tumor kinetics and immune/proteomic profiling/ex vivo co-culture mechanistic studies were performed on prostate tumors or established GEM-derived cell lines. Results: We tested whether Wnt/{beta}-catenin pathway inhibition with LGK`974 addition to degarelix/copanlisib/aPD-1 therapy enhances tumor control in GEM, and observed de novo resistance due to feedback activation of MEK signaling. Based on our observation that degarelix/aPD-1 treatment resulted in partial inhibition of MEK signaling, we substituted trametinib for degarelix/aPD-1 treatment, and observed a durable tumor growth control of PI3Ki/MEKi/PORCNi in 100% mice via H3K18lac suppression and complete TAM activation within TME. Conclusions: Abrogation of lactate-mediated cross-talk between cancer cells and TAM results in durable ADT-independent tumor control in PTEN/p53-deficient AVPC, and warrants further investigation in clinical trials.