Resistance to Selumetinib (AZD6244) in colorectal cancer cell lines is mediated by p70S6K and RPS6 activation

Silvina Grasso, Elena Tristante, Miguel Saceda, Pablo Carbonell, Leticia Mayor-López, Mar Carballo-Santana, Estefanía Carrasco-García, Lourdes Rocamora-Reverte, Pilar García-Morales, Fernando Carballo, José A Ferragut, Isabel Martínez-Lacaci
Neoplasia: An International Journal for Oncology Research 2014, 16 (10): 845-60
Selumetinib (AZD6244, ARRY-142886) is a MEK1/2 inhibitor that has gained interest as an anti-tumour agent. We have determined the degree of sensitivity/resistance to Selumetinib in a panel of colorectal cancer cell lines using cell proliferation and soft agar assays. Sensitive cell lines underwent G1 arrest, whereas Selumetinib had no effect on the cell cycle of resistant cells. Some of the resistant cell lines showed high levels of ERK1/2 phosphorylation in the absence of serum. Selumetinib inhibited phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and RSK and had no effect on AKT phosphorylation in both sensitive and resistant cells. Furthermore, mutations in KRAS, BRAF, or PIK3CA were not clearly associated with Selumetinib resistance. Surprisingly, Selumetinib was able to inhibit phosphorylation of p70 S6 kinase (p70S6K) and its downstream target ribosomal protein S6 (RPS6) in sensitive cell lines. However, p70S6K and RPS6 phosphorylation remained unaffected or even increased in resistant cells. Moreover, in some of the resistant cell lines p70S6K and RPS6 were phosphorylated in the absence of serum. Interestingly, colorectal primary cultures derived from tumours excised to patients exhibited the same behaviour than established cell lines. Pharmacological inhibition of p70S6K using the PI3K/mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235, the specific mTOR inhibitor Rapamycin and the specific p70S6K inhibitor PF-4708671 potentiated Selumetinib effects in resistant cells. In addition, biological inhibition of p70S6K using siRNA rendered responsiveness to Selumetinib in resistant cell lines. Furthermore, combination of p70S6K silencing and PF-47086714 was even more effective. We can conclude that p70S6K and its downstream target RPS6 are potential biomarkers of resistance to Selumetinib in colorectal cancer.

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