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The clinical development of p53-reactivating drugs in sarcomas - charting future therapeutic approaches and understanding the clinical molecular toxicology of Nutlins

Lookup NU author(s): Professor John LunecORCiD


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Introduction: The majority of human sarcomas, particularly soft tissue sarcomas, are relatively resistant to traditional cytotoxic therapies. The proof-of-concept study by Ray-Coquard et al., using the Nutlin human double minute (HDM) 2-binding antagonist RG7112, has recently opened a new chapter in the molecular targeting of human sarcomas.Areas covered: In this review, the authors discuss the challenges and prospective remedies for minimizing the significant haematological toxicities of the cis-imidazole Nutlin HDM2-binding antagonists. Furthermore, they also chart the future direction of the development of p53-reactivating (p53-RA) drugs in 12q13-15 amplicon sarcomas and as potential chemopreventative therapies against sarcomagenesis in germ line mutated TP53 carriers. Drawing lessons from the therapeutic use of Imatinib in gastrointestinal tumours, the authors predict the potential pitfalls, which may lie in ahead for the future clinical development of p53-RA agents, as well as discussing potential non-invasive methods to identify the development of drug resistance.Expert opinion: Medicinal chemistry strategies, based on structure-based drug design, are required to re-engineer cis-imidazoline Nutlin HDM2-binding antagonists into less haematologically toxic drugs. In silico modelling is also required to predict toxicities of other p53-RA drugs at a much earlier stage in drug development. Whether p53-RA drugs will be therapeutically effective as a monotherapy remains to be determined.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Biswas S, Killick E, Jochemsen AG, Lunec J

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Expert Opinion on Investigational Drugs

Year: 2014

Volume: 23

Issue: 5

Pages: 629-645

Print publication date: 01/05/2014

ISSN (print): 1354-3784

ISSN (electronic): 1744-7658



DOI: 10.1517/13543784.2014.892924