Supplementary Figures S1-S5. Loss of sorafenib resistance in vitro and during transfer of resistant tumor fragments (S1); Sorafenib plasma levels declined in early progressors (S2); Impact of tumor free-mouse treatment on tissue sorafenib metabolite levels and resistance development (S3); Additional effects of dose escalation (S4); Effects of sorafenib treatment on cell signaling pathways in tissues (S5).
ARTICLE ABSTRACTAcquired evasive resistance is a major limitation of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) treatment with the tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) sorafenib. Recent findings suggest that resistance to sorafenib may have a reversible phenotype. In addition, loss of responsiveness has been proposed to be due to a gradual decrease in sorafenib plasma levels in patients. Here, the possible mechanisms underlying reversible sorafenib resistance were investigated using a Hep3B-hCG orthotopic human xenograft model of locally advanced HCC. Tissue and plasma sorafenib and metabolite levels, downstream antitumor targets, and toxicity were assessed during standard and dose-escalated sorafenib treatment. Drug levels were found to decline significantly over time in mice treated with 30 mg/kg sorafenib, coinciding with the onset of resistance but a greater magnitude of change was observed in tissues compared with plasma. Skin rash also correlated with drug levels and tended to decrease in severity over time. Drug level changes appeared to be partially tumor dependent involving induction of tumoral CYP3A4 metabolism, with host pretreatment alone unable to generate resistance. Escalation from 30 to 60 mg/kg sorafenib improved antitumor efficacy but worsened survival due to excessive body weight loss. Microvessel density was inhibited by sorafenib treatment but remained suppressed over time and dose increase. In conclusion, tumor CYP3A4 induction by sorafenib is a novel mechanism to account for variability in systemic drug levels; however, declining systemic sorafenib levels may only be a minor resistance mechanism. Escalating the dose may be an effective treatment strategy, provided toxicity can be controlled. Cancer Res; 75(12); 2510–9. ©2015 AACR.