Dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor BEZ235 exerts extensive antitumor activity in HER2-positive gastric cancer

Yan Zhu, Tiantian Tian, Jianling Zou, Qiwei Wang, Zhongwu Li, Yanyan Li, Xijuan Liu, Bin Dong, Na Li, Jing Gao, Lin Shen
BMC Cancer 2015 November 11, 15: 894

BACKGROUND: To investigate the in vitro and in vivo antitumor activity of dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor BEZ235 (NVP-BEZ235) in HER2-positive gastric cancer.

METHODS: HER2-positive breast cancer cell line (BT474), HER2-positive (NCI-N87 and SNU216), and HER2-negative (MKN45) gastric cancer cell lines were used in this study. Cell viability, cell cycle, and HER2 downstream signaling pathways were analyzed using the MTS assay, flow cytometry, and western blotting, respectively. For the in vivo experiments, HER2-positive gastric cancer patient-derived xenografts were treated with BEZ235 to assess its antitumor activity.

RESULTS: The sensitivity of trastuzumab in BT474 cells was higher than that for NCI-N87 and SNU216 cells, which may be partially attributed to continuously active HER2 downstream signaling pathway. BEZ235 inhibited the proliferation of NCI-N87 and SNU216 cells in vitro in a dose-dependent manner by inducing the cell cycle arrest at the G1 phase. BEZ235 demonstrated greater inhibitory effects than trastuzumab, a unique targeted drug, in both the in vitro and in vivo set of experiments. Additionally, our results indicate that BEZ235 displayed some synergism with trastuzumab. BEZ235 exhibited its antitumor activity in gastric cancer by inhibiting important HER2 downstream signaling pathways, as indicated by the inhibition of phosphorylated AKT and S6.

CONCLUSION: The present study has demonstrated, for the first time, the antitumor activity of BEZ235 against HER2-positive gastric cancer in patient-derived xenografts, as well its synergistic interaction with trastuzumab. These important findings can be utilized to facilitate the design of future clinical trials.

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