JOURNAL ARTICLE

Dual inhibition of PI3K and mTORC1/2 signaling by NVP-BEZ235 as a new therapeutic strategy for acute myeloid leukemia

Nicolas Chapuis, Jerome Tamburini, Alexa S Green, Christine Vignon, Valerie Bardet, Aymeric Neyret, Melanie Pannetier, Lise Willems, Sophie Park, Alexandre Macone, Sauveur-Michel Maira, Norbert Ifrah, François Dreyfus, Olivier Herault, Catherine Lacombe, Patrick Mayeux, Didier Bouscary
Clinical Cancer Research 2010 November 15, 16 (22): 5424-35
20884625

PURPOSE: The growth and survival of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cells are enhanced by the deregulation of signaling pathways such as phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt and mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR). Major efforts have thus been made to develop molecules targeting these activated pathways. The mTOR serine/threonine kinase belongs to two separate complexes: mTORC1 and mTORC2. The mTORC1 pathway is rapamycin sensitive and controls protein translation through the phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 in most models. In AML, however, the translation process is deregulated and rapamycin resistant. Furthermore, the activity of PI3K/Akt and mTOR is closely related, as mTORC2 activates the oncogenic kinase Akt. We therefore tested, in this study, the antileukemic activity of the dual PI3K/mTOR ATP-competitive inhibitor NVP-BEZ235 compound (Novartis).

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: The activity of NVP-BEZ235 was tested in primary AML samples (n = 21) and human leukemic cell lines. The different signaling pathways were analyzed by Western blotting. The cap-dependent mRNA translation was studied by 7-methyl-GTP pull-down experiments, polysomal analysis, and [(3)H]leucine incorporation assays. The antileukemic activity of NVP-BEZ235 was tested by analyzing its effects on leukemic progenitor clonogenicity, blast cell proliferation, and survival.

RESULTS: The NVP-BEZ235 compound was found to inhibit PI3K and mTORC1 signaling and also mTORC2 activity. Furthermore, NVP-BEZ235 fully inhibits the rapamycin-resistant phosphorylation of 4E-BP1, resulting in a marked inhibition of protein translation in AML cells. Hence, NVP-BEZ235 reduces the proliferation rate and induces an important apoptotic response in AML cells without affecting normal CD34(+) survival.

CONCLUSIONS: Our results clearly show the antileukemic efficiency of the NVP-BEZ235 compound, which therefore represents a promising option for future AML therapies.

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