Vena F, et al. Mol Cancer Ther 2020.
Although gemcitabine is the cornerstone of care for pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA), patients lack durable responses and relapse is inevitable. While the underlying mechanisms leading to gemcitabine resistance are likely to be multifactorial, there is a strong association between activating gemcitabine metabolism pathways and clinical outcome. This study evaluated CK1δ as a potential therapeutic target for PDA and bladder cancer, in which CK1δ is frequently overexpressed. We assessed the
anti-tumor effects of genetically silencing or pharmacologically inhibiting CK1δ using our in-house CK1δ small-molecule inhibitor SR-3029, either alone or in combination with gemcitabine, on the proliferation and survival of pancreatic and bladder cancer cell lines and orthotopic mouse models. Genetic studies confirmed that silencing CK1δ or treatment with SR-3029 induced a significant upregulation of dCK, a rate-limiting enzyme in gemcitabine metabolite activation. The combination of SR-3029 with gemcitabine induced synergistic antiproliferative activity and enhanced apoptosis in both pancreatic and bladder cancer cells. Furthermore, in an orthotopic pancreatic tumor model, we observed improved efficacy with combination treatment concomitant with increased dCK expression. This study demonstrates that CK1δ plays a role in gemcitabine metabolism and that the combination of CK1δ inhibition with gemcitabine holds promise as a future therapeutic option for metastatic PDA as well as other cancers with upregulated CK1δ expression.