Biomolecules & Therapeutics
Characterization of KRC-108 as a TrkA Kinase Inhibitor with Anti-Tumor Effects
Hyo Jeong Lee1, Yeongyu Moon2, Jungil Choi2, Jeong Doo Heo2, Sekwang Kim1, Hari Krishna Nallapaneni3, Young-Won Chin4, Jongkook Lee3 and Sun-Young Han1,*
1College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Gyeongsang National University, Jinju 52828,
2Gyeongnam Biohealth Research Center, Gyeongnam Branch Institute, Korea Institute of Toxicology, Jinju 52834,
3College of Pharmacy, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341,
4College of Pharmacy and Research Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Seoul National University, Seoul 08826, Republic of Korea
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Received: December 28, 2021; Revised: February 1, 2022; Accepted: February 9, 2022; Published online: March 10, 2022.
© The Korean Society of Applied Pharmacology. All rights reserved.

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Tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA) protein is a receptor tyrosine kinase encoded by the NTRK1 gene. TrkA signaling mediates the proliferation, differentiation, and survival of neurons and other cells following stimulation by its ligand, the nerve growth factor. Chromosomal rearrangements of the NTRK1 gene result in the generation of TrkA fusion protein, which is known to cause deregulation of TrkA signaling. Targeting TrkA activity represents a promising strategy for the treatment of cancers that harbor the TrkA fusion protein. In this study, we evaluated the TrkA-inhibitory activity of the benzoxazole compound KRC-108. KRC-108 inhibited TrkA activity in an in vitro kinase assay, and suppressed the growth of KM12C colon cancer cells harboring an NTRK1 gene fusion. KRC-108 treatment induced cell cycle arrest, apoptotic cell death, and autophagy. KRC-108 suppressed the phosphorylation of downstream signaling molecules of TrkA, including Akt, phospholipase Cγ, and ERK1/2. Furthermore, KRC-108 exhibited antitumor activity in vivo in a KM12C cell xenograft model. These results indicate that KRC-108 may be a promising therapeutic agent for Trk fusion-positive cancers.
Keywords: Tropomyosin receptor kinase A, Neurotrophic receptor kinase 1 fusion, KRC-108, Colon cancer

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