Analysis of kinome-wide signalling network dynamics has the potential to reveal actionable drug targets and inhibitors of potential therapeutic benefit for UM patients.
Metastatic uveal melanoma (UM) is invariably fatal, usually within a year of diagnosis. There are currently no effective therapies, and clinical studies employing kinase inhibitors have so far demonstrated limited success. This is despite common activating mutations in GNAQ/11 genes, which trigger signalling pathways that might predispose tumours to a variety of targeted drugs. In this study, we have profiled kinome expression network dynamics in various human ocular melanomas. We uncovered a shared transcriptional profile in human primary UM samples and across a variety of experimental cell-based models. The poor overall response of UM cells to FDA-approved kinase inhibitors contrasted with much higher sensitivity to the bromodomain inhibitor JQ1, a broad transcriptional repressor. Mechanistically, we identified a repressed FOXM1-dependent kinase subnetwork in JQ1-exposed cells that contained multiple cell cycle-regulated protein kinases. Consistently, we demonstrated vulnerability of UM cells to inhibitors of mitotic protein kinases within this network, including the investigational PLK1 inhibitor BI6727. We conclude that analysis of kinome-wide signalling network dynamics has the potential to reveal actionable drug targets and inhibitors of potential therapeutic benefit for UM patients.
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