Effects of the dual phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor NVP-BEZ235 on the tumor vasculature: implications for clinical imaging

Christian R Schnell, Frédéric Stauffer, Peter R Allegrini, Terence O'Reilly, Paul M J McSheehy, Celine Dartois, Michael Stumm, Robert Cozens, Amanda Littlewood-Evans, Carlos García-Echeverría, Sauveur-Michel Maira
Cancer Research 2008 August 15, 68 (16): 6598-607
Dysregulated angiogenesis and high tumor vasculature permeability, two vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF)-mediated processes and hallmarks of human tumors, are in part phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) dependent. NVP-BEZ235, a dual PI3K/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor, was found to potently inhibit VEGF-induced cell proliferation and survival in vitro and VEGF-induced angiogenesis in vivo as shown with s.c. VEGF-impregnated agar chambers. Moreover, the compound strongly inhibited microvessel permeability both in normal tissue and in BN472 mammary carcinoma grown orthotopically in syngeneic rats. Similarly, tumor interstitial fluid pressure, a phenomenon that is also dependent of tumor permeability, was significantly reduced by NVP-BEZ235 in a dose-dependent manner on p.o. administration. Because RAD001, a specific mTOR allosteric inhibitor, was ineffective in the preceding experiments, we concluded that the effects observed for NVP-BEZ235 are in part driven by PI3K target modulation. Hence, tumor vasculature reduction was correlated with full blockade of endothelial nitric oxide (NO) synthase, a PI3K/Akt-dependent but mTORC1-independent effector involved in tumor permeability through NO production. In the BN472 tumor model, early reduction of permeability, as detected by K(trans) quantification using the dynamic contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging contrasting agent P792 (Vistarem), was found to be a predictive marker for late-stage antitumor activity by NVP-BEZ235.

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