Conducting a Virtual Clinical Trial in HER2-Negative Breast Cancer Using a Quantitative Systems Pharmacology Model With an Epigenetic Modulator and Immune Checkpoint Inhibitors

Hanwen Wang, Richard J. Sové, Mohammad Jafarnejad, Sondra Rahmeh, Elizabeth M. Jaffee, Vered Stearns, Evanthia T.Roussos Torres, Roisin M. Connolly, Aleksander S. Popel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

The survival rate of patients with breast cancer has been improved by immune checkpoint blockade therapies, and the efficacy of their combinations with epigenetic modulators has shown promising results in preclinical studies. In this prospective study, we propose an ordinary differential equation (ODE)-based quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP) model to conduct an in silico virtual clinical trial and analyze potential predictive biomarkers to improve the anti-tumor response in HER2-negative breast cancer. The model is comprised of four compartments: central, peripheral, tumor, and tumor-draining lymph node, and describes immune activation, suppression, T cell trafficking, and pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics (PK/PD) of the therapeutic agents. We implement theoretical mechanisms of action for checkpoint inhibitors and the epigenetic modulator based on preclinical studies to investigate their effects on anti-tumor response. According to model-based simulations, we confirm the synergistic effect of the epigenetic modulator and that pre-treatment tumor mutational burden, tumor-infiltrating effector T cell (Teff) density, and Teff to regulatory T cell (Treg) ratio are significantly higher in responders, which can be potential biomarkers to be considered in clinical trials. Overall, we present a readily reproducible modular model to conduct in silico virtual clinical trials on patient cohorts of interest, which is a step toward personalized medicine in cancer immunotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number141
JournalFrontiers in Bioengineering and Biotechnology
Volume8
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 25 2020

Keywords

  • computational model
  • epigenetic modulator
  • immune checkpoint inhibitor
  • immuno-oncology
  • quantitative systems pharmacology
  • systems biology
  • virtual clinical trial

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Histology
  • Biomedical Engineering

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