Research ArticleCANCER

Increased lysosomal biomass is responsible for the resistance of triple-negative breast cancers to CDK4/6 inhibition

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science Advances  17 Jun 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 25, eabb2210
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb2210


Inhibitors of cyclin-dependent kinases CDK4 and CDK6 have been approved for treatment of hormone receptor–positive breast cancers. In contrast, triple-negative breast cancers (TNBCs) are resistant to CDK4/6 inhibition. Here, we demonstrate that a subset of TNBC critically requires CDK4/6 for proliferation, and yet, these TNBC are resistant to CDK4/6 inhibition due to sequestration of CDK4/6 inhibitors into tumor cell lysosomes. This sequestration is caused by enhanced lysosomal biogenesis and increased lysosomal numbers in TNBC cells. We developed new CDK4/6 inhibitor compounds that evade the lysosomal sequestration and are efficacious against resistant TNBC. We also show that coadministration of lysosomotropic or lysosome-destabilizing compounds (an antibiotic azithromycin, an antidepressant siramesine, an antimalaria compound chloroquine) renders resistant tumor cells sensitive to currently used CDK4/6 inhibitors. Lastly, coinhibition of CDK2 arrested proliferation of CDK4/6 inhibitor-resistant cells. These observations may extend the use of CDK4/6 inhibitors to TNBCs that are refractory to current anti-CDK4/6 therapies.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial license, which permits use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, so long as the resultant use is not for commercial advantage and provided the original work is properly cited.

View Full Text

Stay Connected to Science Advances