PI3K pathway dependencies in endometrioid endometrial cancer cell lines

Britta Weigelt, Patricia H Warne, Maryou B Lambros, Jorge S Reis-Filho, Julian Downward
Clinical Cancer Research: An Official Journal of the American Association for Cancer Research 2013 July 1, 19 (13): 3533-44

PURPOSE: Endometrioid endometrial cancers (EEC) frequently harbor coexisting mutations in phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway genes, including PTEN, PIK3CA, PIK3R1, and KRAS. We sought to define the genetic determinants of PI3K pathway inhibitor response in EEC cells, and whether PTEN-mutant EEC cell lines rely on p110β signaling for survival.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Twenty-four human EEC cell lines were characterized for their mutation profile and activation state of PI3K and mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signaling pathway proteins. Cells were treated with pan-class I PI3K, p110α, and p110β isoform-specific, allosteric mTOR, mTOR kinase, dual PI3K/mTOR, mitogen-activated protein/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (MEK), and RAF inhibitors. RNA interference (RNAi) was used to assess effects of KRAS silencing in EEC cells.

RESULTS: EEC cell lines harboring PIK3CA and PTEN mutations were selectively sensitive to the pan-class I PI3K inhibitor GDC-0941 and allosteric mTOR inhibitor temsirolimus, respectively. Subsets of EEC cells with concurrent PIK3CA and/or PTEN and KRAS mutations were sensitive to PI3K pathway inhibition, and only 2 of 6 KRAS-mutant cell lines showed response to MEK inhibition. KRAS RNAi silencing did not induce apoptosis in KRAS-mutant EEC cells. PTEN-mutant EEC cell lines were resistant to the p110β inhibitors GSK2636771 and AZD6482, and only in combination with the p110α selective inhibitor A66 was a decrease in cell viability observed.

CONCLUSIONS: Targeted pan-PI3K and mTOR inhibition in EEC cells may be most effective in PIK3CA- and PTEN-mutant tumors, respectively, even in a subset of EECs concurrently harboring KRAS mutations. Inhibition of p110β alone may not be sufficient to sensitize PTEN-mutant EEC cells and combination with other targeted agents may be required.

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