Comparative Assessment and High-Throughput Drug-Combination Profiling of TEAD-Palmitoylation Inhibitors in Hippo Pathway Deficient Mesothelioma

Pharmaceuticals 2023 November 21 [Link]

Lale Evsen, Patrick J Morris, Craig J Thomas, Michele Ceribelli


The hippo signaling pathway is a central tumor suppressor cascade frequently inactivated in selected human cancers, leading to the aberrant activation of TEAD transcription factors. Whereas several TEAD auto-palmitoylation inhibitors are currently in development, a comprehensive assessment of this novel drug-modality is missing. Here, we report a comparative analysis among six TEADi(s) using cell-based and biochemical assays in Hippo pathway deficient mesothelioma. Our analysis revealed varying potency and selectivity across TEADi, also highlighting their limited efficacy. To overcome this limitation, we performed an unbiased, quantitative high-throughput drug screening by combining the TEADi VT-103 with a library of approximately 3000 oncology-focused drugs. By exploiting this library’s mechanistic redundancy, we identified several drug-classes robustly synergized with TEADi. These included glucocorticoid-receptor (GR) agonists, Mek1/2 inhibitors, mTOR inhibitors, and PI3K inhibitors, among others. Altogether, we report a coherent single-agent dataset informing on potency and selectivity of TEAD-palmitoylation inhibitors as single-agents. We also describe a rational pipeline enabling the systematic identification of TEAD druggable co-dependencies. This data should support the pre-clinical development of drug combination strategies for the treatment of Hippo-deficient mesothelioma, and more broadly, for other cancers dependent on the oncogenic activity of YAP/TEAD.