Immunofluorescence can assess the efficacy of mTOR pathway therapeutic agent Everolimus in breast cancer models

Chun-Ting Kuo, Chen-Lin Chen, Chih-Chi Li, Guan-Syuan Huang, Wei-Yuan Ma, Wei-Fan Hsu, Ching-Hung Lin, Yen-Shen Lu, Andrew M Wo
Scientific Reports 2019 July 29, 9 (1): 10898
When breast cancer patients start to exhibit resistance to hormonal therapy or chemotherapy, the mTOR inhibitor everolimus can be considered as an alternative therapeutic agent. Everolimus can deregulate the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway and affect a range of cellular functions. In some patients, the agent does not exhibit the desired efficacy and, even worse, not without the associated side effects. This study assessed the use of immunofluorescence (IF) as a modality to fill this unmet need of predicting the efficacy of everolimus prior to administration. Cell viability and MTT assays based on IF intensities of pho-4EBP1 Thr37/46 and pho-S6K1 Ser424 on breast cancer cells (Hs578T, MCF7, BT474, MDA-MB-231) and patient-derived cell culture from metastatic sites (ABC-82T and ABC-16TX1) were interrogated. Results show that independent pho-4EBP1 Thr37/46 and pho-S6K1 Ser424 IF expressions can classify data into different groups: everolimus sensitive and resistant. The combined IF baseline intensity of these proteins is predictive of the efficacy of everolimus, and their intensities change dynamically when cells are resistant to everolimus. Furthermore, mTOR resistance is not only consequence of the AKT/mTOR pathway but also through the LKB1 or MAPK/ERK pathway. The LKB1 and pho-GSK3β may also be potential predictive markers for everolimus.

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