NVP-BEZ235, a dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor, prevents PI3K signaling and inhibits the growth of cancer cells with activating PI3K mutations

Violeta Serra, Ben Markman, Maurizio Scaltriti, Pieter J A Eichhorn, Vanesa Valero, Marta Guzman, Maria Luisa Botero, Elisabeth Llonch, Francesco Atzori, Serena Di Cosimo, Michel Maira, Carlos Garcia-Echeverria, Josep Lluis Parra, Joaquin Arribas, José Baselga
Cancer Research 2008 October 1, 68 (19): 8022-30
Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway deregulation is a common event in human cancer, either through inactivation of the tumor suppressor phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted from chromosome 10 or activating mutations of p110-alpha. These hotspot mutations result in oncogenic activity of the enzyme and contribute to therapeutic resistance to the anti-HER2 antibody trastuzumab. The PI3K pathway is, therefore, an attractive target for cancer therapy. We have studied NVP-BEZ235, a dual inhibitor of the PI3K and the downstream mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). NVP-BEZ235 inhibited the activation of the downstream effectors Akt, S6 ribosomal protein, and 4EBP1 in breast cancer cells. The antiproliferative activity of NVP-BEZ235 was superior to the allosteric selective mTOR complex inhibitor everolimus in a panel of 21 cancer cell lines of different origin and mutation status. The described Akt activation due to mTOR inhibition was prevented by higher doses of NVP-BEZ235. NVP-BEZ235 reversed the hyperactivation of the PI3K/mTOR pathway caused by the oncogenic mutations of p110-alpha, E545K, and H1047R, and inhibited the proliferation of HER2-amplified BT474 cells exogenously expressing these mutations that render them resistant to trastuzumab. In trastuzumab-resistant BT474 H1047R breast cancer xenografts, NVP-BEZ235 inhibited PI3K signaling and had potent antitumor activity. In treated animals, there was complete inhibition of PI3K signaling in the skin at pharmacologically active doses, suggesting that skin may serve as surrogate tissue for pharmacodynamic studies. In summary, NVP-BEZ235 inhibits the PI3K/mTOR axis and results in antiproliferative and antitumoral activity in cancer cells with both wild-type and mutated p110-alpha.

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