Elacestrant (RAD1901) exhibits anti-tumor activity in multiple ER+ breast cancer models resistant to CDK4/6 inhibitors

Hitisha K. Patel, Nianjun Tao, Kyung Min Lee, Mariela Huerta, Heike Arlt, Tara Mullarkey, Steven Troy, Carlos L. Arteaga, Teeru Bihani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Background: Addition of CDK4/6 inhibitors (CDK4/6i) to endocrine therapy significantly increased progression-free survival, leading to their approval and incorporation into the metastatic breast cancer treatment paradigm. With these inhibitors being routinely used for patients with advanced estrogen receptor-positive (ER+) breast cancer, resistance to these agents and its impact on subsequent therapy needs to be understood. Considering the central role of ER in driving the growth of ER+ breast cancers, and thus endocrine agents being a mainstay in the treatment paradigm, the effects of prior CDK4/6i exposure on ER signaling and the relevance of ER-targeted therapy are important to investigate. The objective of this study was to evaluate the anti-tumor activity of elacestrant, a novel oral selective estrogen receptor degrader (SERD), in preclinical models of CDK4/6i resistance. Methods: Elacestrant was evaluated as a single agent, and in combination with alpelisib or everolimus, in multiple in vitro models and patient-derived xenografts that represent acquired and "de novo" CDK4/6i resistance. Results: Elacestrant demonstrated growth inhibition in cells resistant to all three approved CDK4/6i (palbociclib, abemaciclib, ribociclib) in both ESR1 wild-type and mutant backgrounds. Furthermore, we demonstrated that elacestrant, as a single agent and in combination, inhibited growth of patient-derived xenografts that have been derived from a patient previously treated with a CDK4/6i or exhibit de novo resistance to CDK4/6i. While the resistant lines demonstrate distinct alterations in cell cycle modulators, this did not affect elacestrant's anti-tumor activity. In fact, we observe that elacestrant downregulates several key cell cycle players and halts cell cycle progression in vitro and in vivo. Conclusions: We demonstrate that breast cancer tumor cells continue to rely on ER signaling to drive tumor growth despite exposure to CDK4/6i inhibitors. Importantly, elacestrant can inhibit this ER-dependent growth despite previously reported mechanisms of CDK4/6i resistance observed such as Rb loss, CDK6 overexpression, upregulated cyclinE1 and E2F1, among others. These data provide a scientific rationale for the evaluation of elacestrant in a post-CDK4/6i patient population. Additionally, elacestrant may also serve as an endocrine backbone for rational combinations to combat resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number146
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 18 2019


  • Abemaciclib
  • Breast cancer
  • CDK4/6
  • Elacestrant
  • Estrogen receptor
  • Palbociclib
  • RAD1901
  • Resistance
  • Ribociclib
  • SERD

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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