Hormone receptor-positive, HER2-negative advanced breast cancers exhibit high sensitivity to CDK4/6 inhibitors such as palbociclib. However, most patients inevitably develop resistance, thus identification of new actionable therapeutic targets to overcome the recurrent disease is an urgent need. Immunohistochemical studies of tissue microarray revealed increased activation of non-receptor tyrosine kinase, ACK1 (also known as TNK2) in most of the breast cancer subtypes, independent of their hormone receptor status. Chromatin immunoprecipitation studies demonstrated that the nuclear target of activated ACK1, pY88-H4 epigenetic marks, were deposited at cell cycle genes, CCNB1, CCNB2 and CDC20, which in turn initiated their efficient transcription. Pharmacological inhibition of ACK1 using its inhibitor, (R)-9b dampened CCNB1, CCNB2 and CDC20 expression, caused G2/M arrest, culminating in regression of palbociclib-resistant breast tumor growth. Further, (R)-9b suppressed expression of CXCR4 receptor, which resulted in significant impairment of metastasis of breast cancer cells to lung. Overall, our pre-clinical data identifies activated ACK1 as an oncogene that epigenetically controls the cell cycle genes governing the G2/M transition in breast cancer cells. ACK1 inhibitor, (R)-9b could be a novel therapeutic option for the breast cancer patients that have developed resistance to CDK4/6 inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2263-2277
Number of pages15
Issue number29
StatePublished - Jul 14 2023


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