Brain Distribution and Active Efflux of Three panRAF Inhibitors: Considerations in the Treatment of Melanoma Brain Metastases

Gautham Gampa, Minjee Kim, Afroz S. Mohammad, Karen E. Parrish, Ann C. Mladek, Jann N Sarkaria, William F Elmquist

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Targeted inhibition of RAF and MEK by molecularly targeted agents has been employed as a strategy to block aberrant mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling in melanoma. While the use of BRAF and MEK inhibitors, either as a single agent or in combination, improved efficacy in BRAF-mutant melanoma, initial responses are often followed by relapse due to acquired resistance. Moreover, some BRAF inhibitors are associated with paradoxical activation of the MAPK pathway, causing the development of secondary malignancies. The use of panRAF inhibitors, i.e., those that target all isoforms of RAF, may overcome paradoxical activation and resistance. The purpose of this study was to perform a quantitative assessment and evaluation of the influence of efflux mechanisms at the blood-brain barrier (BBB), in particular, Abcb1/P-glycoprotein (P-gp) and Abcg2/breast cancer resistance protein (Bcrp), on the brain distribution of three panRAF inhibitors: CCT196969 [1-(3-(tert-butyl)-1-phenyl-1H-pyrazol-5-yl)-3-(2-fluoro-4-((3-oxo-3,4-dihydropyrido[2,3-b]pyrazin-8-yl)oxy)phenyl)urea], LY3009120 1-(3,3-Dimethylbutyl)-3-(2-fluoro-4-methyl-5-(7-methyl-2-(methylamino)pyrido(2,3-d)pyrimidin-6-yl)phenyl)urea, and MLN2480 [4-pyrimidinecarboxamide, 6-amino-5-chloro-N-[(1R)-1-[5-[[[5-chloro-4-(trifluoromethyl)-2-pyridinyl]amino]carbonyl]-2-thiazolyl]ethyl]-]. In vitro studies using transfected Madin-Darby canine kidney II cells indicate that only LY3009120 and MLN2480 are substrates of Bcrp, and none of the three inhibitors are substrates of P-gp. The three panRAF inhibitors show high nonspecific binding in brain and plasma. In vivo studies in mice show that the brain distribution of CCT196969, LY3009120, and MLN2480 is limited, and is enhanced in transgenic mice lacking P-gp and Bcrp. While MLN2480 has a higher brain distribution, LY3009120 exhibits superior in vitro efficacy in patient-derived melanoma cell lines. The delivery of a drug to the site of action residing behind a functionally intact BBB, along with drug potency against the target, collectively play a critical role in determining in vivo efficacy outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)446-461
Number of pages16
JournalThe Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1 2019

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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