The mesenchymal-epithelial transition factor (c-Met) is a receptor tyrosine kinase with hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) as its only high-affinity ligand. Aberrant activation of c-Met is associated with many human malignancies, including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). We investigated the in vivo antitumor and antimetastatic efficacy of the c-Met inhibitor MSC2156119J (EMD 1214063) in patient-derived tumor explants. BALB/c nude mice were inoculated with MHCC97H cells or with tumor fragments of 10 patient-derived primary liver cancer explants selected according to c-Met/HGF expression levels. MSC2156119J (10, 30, and 100 mg/kg) and sorafenib (50 mg/kg) were administered orally as single-agent treatment or in combination, with vehicle as control. Tumor response, metastases formation, and alpha fetoprotein (AFP) levels were measured. MSC2156119J inhibited tumor growth and induced complete regression in mice bearing subcutaneous and orthotopic MHCC97H tumors. AFP levels were undetectable after 5 weeks of MSC2156119J treatment, and the number of metastatic lung foci was reduced. Primary liver explant models with strong c-Met/HGF activation showed increased responsiveness to MSC2156119J, with MSC2156119J showing similar or superior activity to sorafenib. Tumors characterized by low c-Met expression were less sensitive to MSC2156119J. MSC2156119J was better tolerated than sorafenib, and combination therapy did not improve efficacy. These findings indicate that selective c-Met/HGF inhibition with MSC2156119J is associated with marked regression of c-Met high-expressing tumors, supporting its clinical development as an antitumor treatment for HCC patients with active c-Met signaling.
Bladt, F., Friese-Hamim, M., Ihling, C., Wilm, C., & Blaukat, A. (2014). The c-Met inhibitor MSC2156119J effectively inhibits tumor growth in liver cancer models. Cancers, 6(3), 1736–1752. https://doi.org/10.3390/cancers6031736