A novel irreversible TEAD inhibitor, SWTX-143, blocks Hippo pathway transcriptional output and causes tumor regression in preclinical mesothelioma models

Molecular Cancer Therapeutics 2023 September 23 [Link]

Hanne Hillen, Aurélie Candi, Bart Vanderhoydonck, Weronika Kowalczyk, Leticia Sansores-Garcia, Elena C Kesikiadou, Leen Van Huffel, Lore Spiessens, Marnik Nijs, Erik Soons, Wanda Haeck, Hugo Klaassen, Wim Smets, Stéphane A Spieser, Arnaud Marchand, Patrick Chaltin, Fabrice Ciesielski, Francois Debaene, Lei Chen, Adeela Kamal, Stephen L Gwaltney, Matthias Versele, Georg A Halder


The Hippo pathway and its downstream effectors, the YAP and TAZ transcriptional co-activators, are deregulated in multiple different types of human cancer and are required for cancer cell phenotypes in vitro and in vivo, while largely dispensable for tissue homeostasis in adult mice. YAP/TAZ and their main partner transcription factors, the TEAD1-4 factors, are therefore promising anti-cancer targets. Due to frequent YAP/TAZ hyperactivation caused by mutations in the Hippo pathway components NF2 and LATS2, mesothelioma is one of the prime cancer types predicted to be responsive to YAP/TAZ-TEAD inhibitor treatment. Mesothelioma is a devastating disease for which currently no effective treatment options exist. Here, we describe a novel covalent YAP/TAZ-TEAD inhibitor, SWTX-143, that binds to the palmitoylation pocket of all four TEAD isoforms. SWTX-143 caused irreversible and specific inhibition of the transcriptional activity of YAP/TAZ-TEAD in Hippo-mutant tumor cell lines. More importantly, YAP/TAZ-TEAD inhibitor treatment caused strong mesothelioma regression in subcutaneous xenograft models with human cells and in an orthotopic mesothelioma mouse model. Finally, SWTX-143 also selectively impaired the growth of NF2-mutant kidney cancer cell lines, suggesting that the sensitivity of mesothelioma models to these YAP/TAZ-TEAD inhibitors can be extended to other tumor types with aberrations in Hippo signaling. In brief, we describe a novel and specific YAP/TAZ-TEAD inhibitor that has potential to treat multiple Hippo-mutant solid tumor types.