JOURNAL ARTICLE

Limitations in small intestinal neuroendocrine tumor therapy by mTor kinase inhibition reflect growth factor-mediated PI3K feedback loop activation via ERK1/2 and AKT

Bernhard Svejda, Mark Kidd, Alexander Kazberouk, Ben Lawrence, Roswitha Pfragner, Irvin M Modlin
Cancer 2011 September 15, 117 (18): 4141-54
21387274

BACKGROUND: Treatment of small intestinal neuroendocrine tumors (SINETs) with mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors alone or with somatostatin analogs has been proposed as effective therapy, because both agents have been reported to exhibit antiproliferative activity. Because adenocarcinomas escape mTOR inhibition, we examined whether the escape phenomenon occurred in SINETs and whether usage of somatostatin analogs with mTOR inhibitors surmounted loss of inhibition.

METHODS: The effects of the somatostatin analog octreotide (OCT), the mTOR inhibitor RAD001 (RAD), or the combination were evaluated in SINET cell lines (KRJ-I, H-STS) using cell viability assays, western blotting, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, and reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction to assess antiproliferative signaling pathways and feedback regulation.

RESULTS: RAD (10(-9) M) incompletely decreased cell viability (-40% to +15%); growth escape (P < .001) was noted at 72 hours in both cell lines. Phosphorylated (p)mTOR/mTOR and pp70S6K/p70S6K ratios were decreased but were associated with increases in phosphorylated extracellular signal-regulated kinase (pERK)/ERK and pAKT/AKT in both cell lines, whereas phosphorylated insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (pIGF-1R)/IGF-1R levels were elevated only in H-STS cells. Increased (P < .05) transcript levels for AKT1, MAPK, mTOR, IGF-1R, IGF-1, and TGFβ1 were evident. OCT (10(-6) M) itself had no significant effect on growth signaling in either cell line. An antiproliferative effect (66 ± 5%) using OCT+RAD was only noted in the KRJ-I cells (P < .05).

CONCLUSIONS: SINET treatment with the mTOR inhibitor RAD had no antiproliferative effect based on activation of pAKT and pERK1/2. A combinatorial approach using OCT and RAD failed to overcome this escape phenomenon. However, differences in RAD response rates in individual NET cell lines suggested that pretreatment identification of different tumor sensitivity to mTOR inhibitors could provide the basis for individualized treatment.

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