Combination treatment with a PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway inhibitor overcomes resistance to anti-HER2 therapy in PIK3CA-mutant HER2-positive breast cancer cells.
ABSTRACT: Amplification and/or overexpression of human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) are observed in 15-20% of breast cancers (HER2+ breast cancers), and anti-HER2 therapies have significantly improved prognosis of patients with HER2+ breast cancer. One resistance mechanism to anti-HER2 therapies is constitutive activation of the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. Combination therapy with small-molecule inhibitors of AKT and HER2 was conducted in HER2+ breast cancer cell lines with or without PIK3CA mutations, which lead to constitutive activation of the PI3K pathway. PIK3CA mutations played important roles in resistance to single-agent anti-HER2 therapy in breast cancer cell lines. Combination therapy of a HER2 inhibitor and an AKT inhibitor, as well as other PI3K pathway inhibitors, could overcome the therapeutic limitations associated with single-agent anti-HER2 treatment in PIK3CA-mutant HER2+ breast cancer cell lines. Furthermore, expression of phosphorylated 4E-binding protein 1 (p4EBP1) following the treatment correlated with the antiproliferative activities of the combination, suggesting that p4EBP1 may have potential as a prognostic and/or efficacy-linking biomarkers for these combination therapies in patients with HER2+ breast cancer. These findings highlight potential clinical strategies using combination therapy to overcome the limitations associated with single-agent anti-HER2 therapies in patients with HER2+ breast cancer.
Project description:Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2; ERBB2) amplification and phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate 3-kinase, catalytic subunit alpha (PIK3CA) mutations often co-occur in breast cancer. Aberrant activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway has been shown to correlate with a diminished response to HER2-directed therapies. We generated a mouse model of HER2-overexpressing (HER2(+)), PIK3CA(H1047R)-mutant breast cancer. Mice expressing both human HER2 and mutant PIK3CA in the mammary epithelium developed tumors with shorter latencies compared with mice expressing either oncogene alone. HER2 and mutant PIK3CA also cooperated to promote lung metastases. By microarray analysis, HER2-driven tumors clustered with luminal breast cancers, whereas mutant PIK3CA tumors were associated with claudin-low breast cancers. PIK3CA and HER2(+)/PIK3CA tumors expressed elevated transcripts encoding markers of epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition and stem cells. Cells from HER2(+)/PIK3CA tumors more efficiently formed mammospheres and lung metastases. Finally, HER2(+)/PIK3CA tumors were resistant to trastuzumab alone and in combination with lapatinib or pertuzumab. Both drug resistance and enhanced mammosphere formation were reversed by treatment with a PI3K inhibitor. In sum, PIK3CA(H1047R) accelerates HER2-mediated breast epithelial transformation and metastatic progression, alters the intrinsic phenotype of HER2-overexpressing cancers, and generates resistance to approved combinations of anti-HER2 therapies.
Project description:PURPOSE:We investigated whether mutations in the gene encoding the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) catalytic subunit (PIK3CA) correlates with response to neoadjuvant human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) -targeted therapies in patients with breast cancer. PATIENTS AND METHODS:Baseline tissue biopsies were available from patients with HER2-positive early breast cancer who were enrolled onto the Neoadjuvant Lapatinib and/or Trastuzumab Treatment Optimization trial (NeoALTTO). Activating mutations in PIK3CA were identified using mass spectrometry-based genotyping. RESULTS:PIK3CA mutations were identified in 23% of HER2-positive breast tumors, and these mutations were associated with poorer outcome in all of the treatment arms. Patients treated with a combination of trastuzumab and lapatinib who had wild-type PIK3CA obtained a total pathologic complete response (pCR) rate of 53.1%, which decreased to 28.6% in patients with tumors that carried PIK3CA activating mutations (P = .012). CONCLUSION:Activating mutations in PIK3CA predicted poor pCR in patients with HER2-positive breast cancer treated with neoadjuvant therapies that target HER2. Consequently, the combination of anti-HER2 agents and PI3K inhibitors is being investigated.
Project description:BACKGROUND:HER2-positive (+) breast cancers, defined by HER2 overexpression and/or amplification, are often addicted to HER2 to maintain their malignant phenotype. Yet, some HER2+ tumors do not benefit from anti-HER2 therapy. We hypothesize that HER2 amplification levels and PI3K pathway activation are key determinants of response to HER2-targeted treatments without chemotherapy. PATIENTS AND METHODS:Baseline HER2+ tumors from patients treated with neoadjuvant lapatinib plus trastuzumab [with endocrine therapy for estrogen receptor (ER)+ tumors] in TBCRC006 (NCT00548184) were evaluated in a central laboratory for HER2 amplification by fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) (n?=?56). HER2 copy number (CN) and FISH ratios, and PI3K pathway status, defined by PIK3CA mutations or PTEN levels by immunohistochemistry were available for 41 tumors. Results were correlated with pathologic complete response (pCR; no residual invasive tumor in breast). RESULTS:Thirteen of the 56 patients (23%) achieved pCR. None of the 11 patients with HER2 ratio <4 and/or CN <10 achieved pCR, whereas 13/45 patients (29%) with HER2 ratio ?4 and/or CN ?10 attained pCR (P?=?0.0513). Of the 18 patients with tumors expressing high PTEN or wild-type (WT) PIK3CA (intact PI3K pathway), 7 (39%) achieved pCR, compared with 1/23 (4%) with PI3K pathway alterations (P?=?0.0133). Seven of the 16 patients (44%) with HER2 ratio ?4 and intact PI3K pathway achieved pCR, whereas only 1/25 (4%) patients not meeting these criteria achieved pCR (P?=?0.0031). CONCLUSIONS:Our findings suggest that there is a clinical subtype in breast cancer with high HER2 amplification and intact PI3K pathway that is especially sensitive to HER2-targeted therapies without chemotherapy. A combination of HER2 FISH ratio and PI3K pathway status warrants validation to identify patients who may be treated with HER2-targeted therapy without chemotherapy.
Project description:HER2 (ERBB2) gene amplification and PIK3CA mutations often co-occur in breast cancer, and aberrant activation of the PI3K pathway has been implicated in resistance to HER2-directed therapies. We have created a mouse model of HER2-overexpressing (HER2+), PIK3CAH1047R-mutant breast cancer. Mice expressing both human HER2 and mutant PIK3CA in their mammary glands developed tumors with a significantly shorter latency compared to mice expressing either oncogene alone. By microarray analysis, HER2-driven tumors clustered with the luminal subtype, whereas HER2+PIK3CA and PIK3CA-driven tumors were associated with the claudin-low breast cancer subtype. In accordance, PIK3CA and HER2+PIK3CA tumors expressed elevated levels of EMT and stem cell markers, and cells from HER2+PIK3CA tumors more efficiently formed mammospheres, providing further evidence that activated PIK3CA may enrich for cancer stem cells. Finally, HER2+PIK3CA tumors are resistant to the HER2 antibody trastuzumab; resistance is partially reversed by the addition of a PI3K inhibitor. Taken together, these studies suggest that the co-expression of HER2 and PI3KH1047R in the mouse mammary gland accelerates the formation of aggressive, trastuzumab-resistant tumors. referenceXsample
Project description:Hyperactivation of phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K) can occur as a result of somatic mutations in PIK3CA, the gene encoding the p110? subunit of PI3K. The HER2 oncogene is amplified in 25% of all breast cancers and some of these tumors also harbor PIK3CA mutations. We examined mechanisms by which mutant PI3K can enhance transformation and confer resistance to HER2-directed therapies. We introduced the PI3K mutations E545K and H1047R in MCF10A human mammary epithelial cells that also overexpress HER2. Both mutants conferred a gain of function to MCF10A/HER2 cells. Expression of H1047R PI3K, but not E545K PI3K, markedly upregulated the HER3/HER4 ligand heregulin (HRG). HRG siRNA inhibited growth of H1047R but not E545K-expressing cells and synergized with the HER2 inhibitors trastuzumab and lapatinib. The PI3K inhibitor BEZ235 markedly inhibited HRG and pAKT levels and, in combination with lapatinib, completely inhibited growth of cells expressing H1047R PI3K. These observations suggest that PI3K mutants enhance HER2-mediated transformation by amplifying the ligand-induced signaling output of the ErbB network. This also counteracts the full effect of therapeutic inhibitors of HER2. These data also suggest that mammary tumors that contain both HER2 gene amplification and PIK3CA mutations should be treated with a combination of HER2 and PI3K inhibitors.
Project description:The PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway alterations have been shown to play significant roles in the development, progression, and metastatic spread of breast cancer. Furthermore, they have been implicated in the process of drug resistance, especially endocrinal therapies. In this study, we aimed to define the correlation between the PI3K mutations and the expression of the phosphorylated forms of different downstream molecules in women with estrogen receptor (ER)-positive, human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-negative (luminal) early breast cancer treated at Cairo university hospitals.Next-generation sequencing was used to detect mutations in the PIK3CA hotspots (in exons 9 and 20). Immunohistochemistry was performed on tissue microarray blocks prepared from samples of 35 Egyptian luminal breast cancer patients in the pathology department of Centre Léon Bérard (CLB). The intensity and the percentage of stained tumor cells were integrated to define high versus low biomarker expression. The cytoplasmic and nuclear stainings were graded separately. Patients were followed for a median of 4.7 years (2.1 to 6.9 years). Correlation was done between PI3K mutations and the immunohistochemistry expression of pAKT, LKB1, p4EBP1, and pS6 ribosomal protein (pS6RP) with the clinicopathologic features and disease free survival (DFS) of the patients.Median age at diagnosis was 51.3 years (range, 25 to 82 years). Tumors were larger than 20 mm in 79.2% of the cases, whereas 57.9% had axillary lymph node deposits. Only 12.3% of the patients had SBR grade I tumors, 50.8% had grade II, and 36.8% had grade III. ERs were negative in 6 patients (17%) after pathology review. Thirty-two cases were assessable for LKB1 and pAKT, 33 for p4EBP1 and pS6RP, and 24 for PI3K mutations. Nuclear LKB1, cytoplasmic LKB1, nuclear pAKT, cytoplasmic pAKT, nuclear p4EBP1, and cytoplasmic pS6RP expression was high in 65.6%, 62.5%, 62.5%, 68.8%, 42.4%, and 57.6%, respectively. PIK3CA mutations were found in 7 patients (29.2%). PI3K mutations were correlated with nuclear localization of pAKT (i.e., decreased cytoplasmic pAKT, P = .04; and increased nuclear pAKT, P = .10). There was a tendency toward an inverse correlation between PI3K mutations and the expression of pS6RP (P = .10) and p4EBP1 (P = .19). Nuclear LKB1 expression was a marker of good prognosis. It was associated with smaller tumors (P = .05), more ER (P = .08) and progesteron receptor (PgR) positivity (P = .002). In the Kaplan Meier (KM) model, patients with high nuclear LKB1 had longer DFS (hazard ratio = 0.36; 95% confidence interval, 0.15-1.10; P = .08). Nuclear pAKT high expression also carried a tendency toward longer DFS (hazard ratio = 0.51; 95% confidence interval, 0.11-1.16; P = .13). The expression of p4EBP1, pS6RP, and the PI3K mutational status did not show any prognostic significance in our cohort.Among the studied biomarkers, only nuclear expression of LKB1 and pAKT tended to predict better survival in breast cancer patients. PI3K mutation was correlated with the expression of nuclear pAKT but not pS6RP or p4EBP1.
Project description:Despite multiple advances in the treatment of HER2+ breast cancers, resistance develops even to combinations of HER2 targeting agents. Inhibition of PI3K pathway signaling is critical for the efficacy of HER2 inhibitors. Activating mutations in PIK3CA can overlap with HER2 amplification and have been shown to confer resistance to HER2 inhibitors in preclinical studies.Lapatinib-resistant cells were profiled for mutations in the PI3K pathway with the SNaPshot assay. Hotspot PIK3CA mutations were retrovirally transduced into HER2-amplified cells. The impact of PIK3CA mutations on the effect of HER2 and PI3K inhibitors was assayed by immunoblot, proliferation and apoptosis assays. Uncoupling of PI3K signaling from HER2 was investigated by ELISA for phosphoproteins in the HER2-PI3K signaling cascade. The combination of HER2 inhibitors with PI3K inhibition was studied in HER2-amplified xenograft models with wild-type or mutant PIK3CA.Here we describe the acquisition of a hotspot PIK3CA mutation in cells selected for resistance to the HER2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib. We also show that the gain of function conferred by these PIK3CA mutations partially uncouples PI3K signaling from the HER2 receptor upstream. Drug resistance conferred by this uncoupling was overcome by blockade of PI3K with the pan-p110 inhibitor BKM120. In mice bearing HER2-amplified wild-type PIK3CA xenografts, dual HER2 targeting with trastuzumab and lapatinib resulted in tumor regression. The addition of a PI3K inhibitor further improved tumor regression and decreased tumor relapse after discontinuation of treatment. In a PIK3CA-mutant HER2+ xenograft, PI3K inhibition with BKM120 in combination with lapatinib and trastuzumab was required to achieve tumor regression.These results suggest that the combination of PI3K inhibition with dual HER2 blockade is necessary to circumvent the resistance to HER2 inhibitors conferred by PIK3CA mutation and also provides benefit to HER2+ tumors with wild-type PIK3CA tumors.
Project description:Human breast cancers that have HER2 amplification/overexpression frequently carry PIK3CA mutations, and are often associated with a worse prognosis. However, the role of PIK3CA mutations in the initiation and maintenance of these breast cancers remains elusive. In the present study, we generated a compound mouse model that genetically mimics HER2-positive breast cancer with coexisting PIK3CA(H1047R). Induction of PIK3CA(H1047R) expression in mouse mammary glands with constitutive expression of activated Her2/Neu resulted in accelerated mammary tumorigenesis with enhanced metastatic potential. Interestingly, inducible expression of mutant PIK3CA resulted in a robust activation of phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)/AKT signaling but attenuation of Her2/Her3 signaling, and this can be reversed by deinduction of PIK3CA(H1047R) expression. Strikingly, although these Her2(+) PIK3CA(H1047R)-initiated primary mammary tumors are refractory to HER2-targeted therapy, all tumors responded to inactivation of the oncogenic PIK3CA(H1047R), a situation closely mimicking the use of a highly effective inhibitor specifically targeting the mutant PIK3CA/p110a. Notably, these tumors eventually resumed growth, and a fraction of them escaped PI3K dependence by compensatory ERK activation, which can be blocked by combined inhibition of Her2 and MEK. Together, these results suggest that PIK3CA-specific inhibition as a monotherapy followed by combination therapy targeting MAPK and HER2 in a timely manner may be an effective treatment approach against HER2-positive cancers with coexisting PIK3CA-activating mutations.
Project description:Though incidence of PI3K oncogenic mutation is prominent in breast cancer (20-30%), pharmacological targeting of this signaling pathway alone has failed to provide meaningful clinical benefit. To better understand and address this problem, we conducted genome-wide analysis to study the association of mutant PI3K with other gene amplification events. One of the most significant copy number gain events associated with PIK3CA mutation was the region within chromosome 17 containing HER2. To investigate the oncogenic effect and cell signaling regulation of co-occurring PIK3CA-H1047R and or HER2 gene, we generated cell models ectopically expressing mutant PIK3CA, HER2 or both genetic alterations. We observed that cells with both genetic alterations demonstrate increased aggressiveness and invasive capabilities than cells with either genetic change alone. Furthermore, we found that the combination of the HER2 inhibitor (CP-724714) and pan PI3K inhibitor (LY294002) is more potent than either inhibitor alone in terms of inhibition of cell proliferation and colony formation. Significantly, four cell signaling pathways were found in common for cells with HER2, mutant PIK3CA and cells with both genetic alterations through an Affymetric microarray analysis. Moreover, the cells with both genetic alterations acquired more significant replication stress as shown by enriched signaling pathways of cell cycle checkpoint control and DNA damage response signaling. Our study suggests co-occurrence of oncogenic HER2 and mutant PIK3CA cooperatively drives breast cancer progression. The cells with both genetic alterations obtain additional features of replication stress which could open new opportunity for cancer diagnostics and treatment.