Dual covalent inhibition of PKM and IMPDH targets metabolism in cutaneous metastatic Melanoma

Marwa Zerhouni, Anthony R. Martin, Nathan Furstoss, Vincent S. Gutierrez, Emilie Jaune, Nedra Tekaya, Guillaume E. Beranger, Patricia Abbe, Claire Regazzetti, Hella Amdouni, Mohsine Driowya, Patrice Dubreuil, Frederic Luciano, Arnaud Jacquel, Meri K. Tulic, Thomas Cluzeau, Brendan P. O’Hara, Issam Ben-Sahra, Thierry Passeron, Rachid BenhidaGuillaume Robert, Patrick Auberger*, Stephane Rocchi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Overcoming acquired drug resistance is a primary challenge in cancer treatment. Notably, more than 50% of patients with BRAFV600E cutaneous metastatic melanoma (CMM) eventually develop resistance to BRAF inhibitors. Resistant cells undergo metabolic reprogramming that profoundly influences therapeutic response and promotes tumor progression. Uncovering metabolic vulnerabilities could help suppress CMM tumor growth and overcome drug resistance. Here we identified a drug, HA344, that concomitantly targets two distinct metabolic hubs in cancer cells. HA344 inhibited the final and rate-limiting step of glycolysis through its covalent binding to the pyruvate kinase M2 (PKM2) enzyme, and it concurrently blocked the activity of inosine monophosphate dehydrogenase, the rate-limiting enzyme of de novo guanylate synthesis. As a consequence, HA344 efficiently targeted vemurafenib-sensitive and vemurafenib-resistant CMM cells and impaired CMM xenograft tumor growth in mice. In addition, HA344 acted synergistically with BRAF inhibitors on CMM cell lines in vitro. Thus, the mechanism of action of HA344 provides potential therapeutic avenues for patients with CMM and a broad range of different cancers. Significance: Glycolytic and purine synthesis pathways are often deregulated in therapy-resistant tumors and can be targeted by the covalent inhibitor described in this study, suggesting its broad application for overcoming resistance in cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3806-3821
Number of pages16
JournalCancer Research
Issue number14
StatePublished - Jul 15 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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