Multipoint targeting of the PI3K/mTOR pathway in mesothelioma.
ABSTRACT: Mesothelioma is a notoriously chemotherapy-resistant neoplasm, as is evident in the dismal overall survival for patients with those of asbestos-associated disease. We previously demonstrated co-activation of multiple receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), including epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), MET, and AXL in mesothelioma cell lines, suggesting that these kinases could serve as novel therapeutic targets. Although clinical trials have not shown activity for EGFR inhibitors in mesothelioma, concurrent inhibition of various activated RTKs has pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative effects in mesothelioma cell lines. Thus, we hypothesised that a coordinated network of multi-RTK activation contributes to mesothelioma tumorigenesis.Activation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR, Raf/MAPK, and co-activation of RTKs were evaluated in mesotheliomas. Effects of RTK and downstream inhibitors/shRNAs were assessed by measuring mesothelioma cell viability/growth, apoptosis, activation of signalling intermediates, expression of cell-cycle checkpoints, and cell-cycle alterations.We demonstrate activation of the PI3K/AKT/p70S6K and RAF/MEK/MAPK pathways in mesothelioma, but not in non-neoplastic mesothelial cells. The AKT activation, but not MAPK activation, was dependent on coordinated activation of RTKs EGFR, MET, and AXL. In addition, PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway inhibition recapitulated the anti-proliferative effects of concurrent inhibition of EGFR, MET, and AXL. Dual targeting of PI3K/mTOR by BEZ235 or a combination of RAD001 and AKT knockdown had a greater effect on mesothelioma proliferation and viability than inhibition of individual activated RTKs or downstream signalling intermediates. Inhibition of PI3K/AKT was also associated with MDM2-p53 cell-cycle regulation.These findings show that PI3K/AKT/mTOR is a crucial survival pathway downstream of multiple activated RTKs in mesothelioma, underscoring that PI3K/mTOR is a compelling target for therapeutic intervention.
Project description:The receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and MET are activated in subsets of mesothelioma, suggesting that these kinases might represent novel therapeutic targets in this notoriously chemotherapy-resistant cancer. However, clinical trials have shown little activity for EGFR inhibitors in mesothelioma. Despite the evidence for RTK activation in mesothelioma pathogenesis, it is unclear whether transforming activity is dependent on an individual kinase oncoprotein or the coordinated activity of multiple kinases. Using phospho-RTK and immunoblot assays, we herein demonstrate activation of multiple RTKs (EGFR, MET, AXL, and ERBB3) in individual mesothelioma cell lines but not in normal mesothelioma cells. Inhibition of mesothelioma multi-RTK signaling was accomplished using combinations of RTK direct inhibitors or by inhibition of the RTK chaperone, heat shock protein 90 (HSP90). Multi-RTK inhibition by the HSP90 inhibitor 17-allyloamino-17-demethoxygeldanamycin (17-AAG) had a substantially greater effect on mesothelioma proliferation and survival compared with inhibition of individual activated RTKs. HSP90 inhibition also suppressed phosphorylation of downstream signaling intermediates (AKT, mitogen-activated protein kinase, and S6); upregulated the p53, p21, and p27 cell cycle checkpoints; induced G(2) phase arrest; induced caspase 3/7 activity; and led to an increase in the sub-G(1) apoptotic population. These compelling proapoptotic and antiproliferative responses indicate that HSP90 inhibition warrants clinical evaluation as a novel therapeutic strategy in mesothelioma.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Ovarian cancer has the highest mortality rate of all gynecologic malignancy. The receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs), including EGFR, ERBB2, PDGFR, VEGFR and MET, are activated in subsets of ovarian cancer, suggesting that these kinases might represent novel therapeutic targets. However, clinical trials have not or just partially shown benefit to ovarian cancers treated with EGFR, ERBB2, or PDGFR inhibitors. Despite multiple RTK activation in ovarian cancer pathogenesis, it is unclear whether transforming activity is dependent on an individual kinase oncoprotein or the coordinated activity of multiple kinases. We hypothesized that a coordinated network of multi-RTK activation is important for the tumorigenesis of ovarian cancers. RESULTS: Herein, we demonstrate co-activation of multiple RTKs (EGFR, ERBB2, ERBB4, MET and/or AXL) in individual ovarian cancer cell lines and primary tumors. We also show that coordinate inhibition of this multi-kinase signaling has substantially greater effect on ovarian cancer proliferation and survival, compared to inhibition of individual activated kinases. The inhibition of this multi-RTK signaling by HSP90 suppression results in profound pro-apoptotic and anti-proliferative effects, and is associated with the inactivation of RTK downstream PI3-K/AKT/mTOR and RAF/MAPK signaling. CONCLUSION: These studies suggest that anti-multiple RTK strategy could be useful in the treatment of ovarian cancer.
Project description:PI3K?-selective inhibitor BYL719 is currently in phase II/III clinical trial for the treatment of breast cancer, but highly variable response has been observed among patients. We sought to discover predictive biomarker for the efficacy of BYL719 by dissecting the proliferative signaling pathway mediated by PI3K in breast cancer. BYL719 concurrently inhibited the phosphorylation of AKT and ERK in <i>PIK3CA</i>-mutated human breast cancer cells. PI3K-regulated ERK phosphorylation was independent of canonical PDK1/AKT/mTOR pathway, while it was associated with RAF/MEK. Hyper-activation of EGFR or RAS abrogated inhibition of ERK phosphorylation by BYL719. Furthermore, hyper-activation of receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) including EGFR, c-MET, FGFR and HER3 but not IGF-1R restored ERK phosphorylation and cell viability suppressed by BYL719, suggesting the discriminative functions of RTKs in cell signaling and proliferation. By profiling 22 breast cancer cell lines, we found that BYL719 was more potent in cell lines where phosphorylation of both AKT and ERK was attenuated than those where only AKT phosphorylation was inhibited. The potency of BYL719 was further found to be significantly correlated with the expression profile of RTKs in breast cancer cells. Specifically, overexpression of EGFR, c-MET and/or FGFR1 forecasted resistance, while overexpression of IGF-1R and/or HER2 predicted sensitivity to BYL719 in breast cancer cells. Similar correlation between BYL719 efficacy and expression profile of RTKs was found in patient-derived xenograft models of breast cancer. Thus, inhibition of ERK phosphorylation by PI3K? inhibitor BYL719 contributes to its antitumor efficacy and is determined by the converged signaling from RTKs. The expression profile of RTKs in breast cancer tissue could be potentially developed as a predictive biomarker for the efficacy of PI3K? inhibitors.
Project description:Phosphoinositide-3-kinase (PI3K)-? inhibitors have shown clinical activity in squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) of head and neck (H&N) bearing PIK3CA mutations or amplification. Studying models of therapeutic resistance, we have observed that SCC cells that become refractory to PI3K? inhibition maintain PI3K-independent activation of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). This persistent mTOR activation is mediated by the tyrosine kinase receptor AXL. AXL is overexpressed in resistant tumors from both laboratory models and patients treated with the PI3K? inhibitor BYL719. AXL dimerizes with and phosphorylates epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), resulting in activation of phospholipase C? (PLC?)-protein kinase C (PKC), which, in turn, activates mTOR. Combined treatment with PI3K? and either EGFR, AXL, or PKC inhibitors reverts this resistance.
Project description:Unsustained enzyme inhibition is a barrier to targeted therapy for cancer. Here, resistance to a class I PI3K inhibitor in a model of metastatic breast cancer driven by PI3K and MYC was associated with feedback activation of tyrosine kinase receptors (RTKs), AKT, mTOR, and MYC. Inhibitors of bromodomain and extra terminal domain (BET) proteins also failed to affect tumor growth. Interestingly, BET inhibitors lowered PI3K signaling and dissociated BRD4 from chromatin at regulatory regions of insulin receptor and EGFR family RTKs to reduce their expression. Combined PI3K and BET inhibition induced cell death, tumor regression, and clamped inhibition of PI3K signaling in a broad range of tumor cell lines to provide a strategy to overcome resistance to kinase inhibitor therapy.
Project description:Mutated KRAS (KRAS*) is a fundamental driver in the majority of pancreatic ductal adenocarcinomas (PDAC). Using an inducible mouse model of KRAS*-driven PDAC, we compared KRAS* genetic extinction with pharmacologic inhibition of MEK1 in tumor spheres and in vivo. KRAS* ablation blocked proliferation and induced apoptosis, whereas MEK1 inhibition exerted cytostatic effects. Proteomic analysis evidenced that MEK1 inhibition was accompanied by a sustained activation of the PI3K-AKT-MTOR pathway and by the activation of AXL, PDGFRa, and HER1-2 receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) expressed in a large proportion of human PDAC samples analyzed. Although single inhibition of each RTK alone or plus MEK1 inhibitors was ineffective, a combination of inhibitors targeting all three coactivated RTKs and MEK1 was needed to inhibit proliferation and induce apoptosis in both mouse and human low-passage PDAC cultures. Importantly, constitutive AKT activation, which may mimic the fraction of AKT2-amplified PDAC, was able to bypass the induction of apoptosis caused by KRAS* ablation, highlighting a potential inherent resistance mechanism that may inform the clinical application of MEK inhibitor therapy. This study suggests that combinatorial-targeted therapies for pancreatic cancer must be informed by the activation state of each putative driver in a given treatment context. In addition, our work may offer explanative and predictive power in understanding why inhibitors of EGFR signaling fail in PDAC treatment and how drug resistance mechanisms may arise in strategies to directly target KRAS.
Project description:A novel pan ERBB inhibitor PF-00299804 (dacomitinib) is currently in phase II clinical trials in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) patients; however its pre-clinical efficacy in GBMs has not been tested. In this study, we evaluated the efficacy of dacomitinib alone or in combination with PI3K/mTOR dual inhibitor PF-05212384 in GBM and assessed the mechanisms of resistance and the molecular determinants of response. A panel of established and patient derived primary GBM lines that present different molecular profiles and also the GBM lines engineered to express EGFRvIII mutant or PTEN were treated with either dacomitinib, PF-05212384, or combination and assessed for their viability and changes in EGFR/PI3K/mTOR signaling. We show that dacomitinib significantly reduced phosphorylated EGFR in all the GBM lines but did not show a dose-dependent response on cell viability in a majority of the lines tested. Multiple lesions in the receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) pathway including PTEN mutation, co-activation of RTKs, and EGFRvIII mutation resulted in unaltered active status of PI3K/mTOR in the GBM lines even in the presence of EGFR inhibition. Blocking PI3K/mTOR dramatically inhibited cell proliferation in most GBM lines and enhanced dacomitinib induction of apoptosis in a GBM line that has both EGFR amplification and EGFR-independent PI3K activation. These data suggest molecular profiling of EGFR/PI3K/PTEN status to select GBM patients for EGFR or/and PI3K/mTOR targeted therapies.
Project description:AXL receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) inhibition presents a promising therapeutic strategy for aggressive tumor subtypes, as AXL signaling is upregulated in many cancers resistant to first-line treatments. Furthermore, the AXL ligand growth arrest-specific gene 6 (GAS6) has recently been linked to cancer drug resistance. Here, we established that challenging conditions, such as serum deprivation, divide AXL-overexpressing tumor cell lines into non-self-sustaining and self-sustaining subtypes in 3D spheroid culture. Self-sustaining cells are characterized by excessive GAS6 secretion and TAM-PDK-RSK-mTOR pathway activation. In 3D spheroid culture, the activation of the TAM-PDK-RSK-mTOR pathway proves crucial following treatment with AXL/MET inhibitor BMS777607, when the self-sustaining tumor cells react with TAM-RSK hyperactivation and enhanced SRC-AKT-mTOR signaling. Thus, bidirectional activated mTOR leads to enhanced proliferation and counteracts the drug effect. mTOR activation is accompanied by an enhanced AXL expression and hyperphosphorylation following 24 h of treatment with BMS777607. Therefore, we elucidate a double role of AXL that can be assigned to RSK-mTOR as well as SRC-AKT-mTOR pathway activation, specifically through AXL Y779 phosphorylation. This phosphosite fuels the resistance mechanism in 3D spheroids, alongside further SRC-dependent EGFR Y1173 and/or MET Y1349 phosphorylation which is defined by the cell-specific addiction. In conclusion, self-sustenance in cancer cells is based on a signaling synergy, individually balanced between GAS6 TAM-dependent PDK-RSK-mTOR survival pathway and the AXLY779/EGFR/MET-driven SRC-mTOR pathway.
Project description:Receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) activate pathways mediated by serine-threonine kinases, such as the PI3K (phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase)-Akt pathway, the Ras-MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase)-RSK (ribosomal S6 kinase) pathway, and the mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin)-p70 S6 pathway, that control important aspects of cell growth, proliferation, and survival. The Akt, RSK, and p70 S6 family of protein kinases transmits signals by phosphorylating substrates on an RxRxxS/T motif (R, arginine; S, serine; T, threonine; and x, any amino acid). We developed a large-scale proteomic approach to identify more than 300 substrates of this kinase family in cancer cell lines driven by the c-Met, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), or platelet-derived growth factor receptor alpha (PDGFRalpha) RTKs. We identified a subset of proteins with RxRxxS/T sites for which phosphorylation was decreased by RTK inhibitors (RTKIs), as well as by inhibitors of the PI3K, mTOR, and MAPK pathways, and we determined the effects of small interfering RNA directed against these substrates on cell viability. Phosphorylation of the protein chaperone SGTA (small glutamine-rich tetratricopeptide repeat-containing protein alpha) at serine-305 was essential for PDGFRalpha stabilization and cell survival in PDGFRalpha-dependent cancer cells. Our approach provides a new view of RTK and Akt-RSK-S6 kinase signaling, revealing previously unidentified Akt-RSK-S6 kinase substrates that merit further consideration as targets for combination therapy with RTKIs.
Project description:Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a prevalent and devastating disease that claims more lives than breast, prostate, colon and pancreatic cancers combined. Current research suggests that standard chemotherapy regimens have been optimized to maximal efficiency. Promising new treatment strategies involve novel agents targeting molecular aberrations present in subsets of NSCLC. We evaluated 88 human NSCLC tumors of diverse histology and identified Mer and Axl as receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) overexpressed in 69% and 93%, respectively, of tumors relative to surrounding normal lung tissue. Mer and Axl were also frequently overexpressed and activated in NSCLC cell lines. Ligand-dependent Mer or Axl activation stimulated MAPK, AKT and FAK signaling pathways indicating roles for these RTKs in multiple oncogenic processes. In addition, we identified a novel pro-survival pathway-involving AKT, CREB, Bcl-xL, survivin, and Bcl-2-downstream of Mer, which is differentially modulated by Axl signaling. We demonstrated that short hairpin RNA (shRNA) knockdown of Mer or Axl significantly reduced NSCLC colony formation and growth of subcutaneous xenografts in nude mice. Mer or Axl knockdown also improved in vitro NSCLC sensitivity to chemotherapeutic agents by promoting apoptosis. When comparing the effects of Mer and Axl knockdown, Mer inhibition exhibited more complete blockade of tumor growth while Axl knockdown more robustly improved chemosensitivity. These results indicate that Mer and Axl have complementary and overlapping roles in NSCLC and suggest that treatment strategies targeting both RTKs may be more effective than singly-targeted agents. Our findings validate Mer and Axl as potential therapeutic targets in NSCLC and provide justification for development of novel therapeutic compounds that selectively inhibit Mer and/or Axl.