Chemotherapy is often ineffective in advanced-stage and aggressive histologic subtypes of endometrial cancer. Overexpression of the receptor tyrosine kinase AXL has been found to be associated with therapeutic resistance, metastasis, and poor prognosis. However, the mechanism of how inhibition of AXL improves response to chemotherapy is still largely unknown. Thus, we aimed to determine whether treatment with AVB-500, a selective inhibitor of GAS6-AXL, improves endometrial cancer cell sensitivity to chemotherapy particularly through metabolic changes. We found that both GAS6 and AXL expression were higher by immunohistochemistry in patient tumors with a poor response to chemotherapy compared with tumors with a good response to chemotherapy. We showed that chemotherapy-resistant endometrial cancer cells (ARK1, uterine serous carcinoma and PUC198, grade 3 endometrioid adenocarcinoma) had improved sensitivity and synergy with paclitaxel and carboplatin when treated in combination with AVB-500. We also found that in vivo intraperitoneal models with ARK1 and PUC198 cells had decreased tumor burden when treated with AVB-500 + paclitaxel compared with paclitaxel alone. Treatment with AVB-500 + paclitaxel decreased AKT signaling, which resulted in a decrease in basal glycolysis. Finally, multiple glycolytic metabolites were lower in the tumors treated with AVB-500 + paclitaxel than in tumors treated with paclitaxel alone. Our study provides strong preclinical rationale for combining AVB-500 with paclitaxel in aggressive endometrial cancer models.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1348-1359
Number of pages12
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2022


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