ATP-competitive mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitors are in early phase clinical trials. These novel targeted agents, including PP242, are mechanistically distinct from the allosteric, partial mTOR inhibitor, rapamycin. The goal of this study was to evaluate how PP242 best combines with standard chemotherapies for colorectal cancer (CRC), and which subsets of patients are most likely to benefit. The combination index for PP242 plus 5-fluorouracil, oxaliplatin, or irinotecan was determined in CRC cell lines with different mutational backgrounds. In KRAS mutant CRC cell lines, sensitivity to PP242 increases with co-mutation of PIK3CA. Mutation of p53 predicts resistance to chemotherapy, but not PP242. Efficacy of PP242 was comparable to that of standard chemotherapies over the dose range tested. Sensitivity or resistance to PP242 dictates relative synergy or antagonism, respectively, when PP242 is combined with 5-fluorouracil. The same trend exists for PP242 + oxaliplatin, but with a narrower dynamic range. Conversely potency of PP242 and the combination index for PP242 + irinotecan were unrelated, but synergy exists across all dose levels in PP242 and irinotecan sensitive, p53 wild-type cell lines. Overall, our in vitro analysis predicts that mutational status can be used to rank sensitivity to PP242 and standard chemotherapies. Single agent potency can in turn be used to predict the combination index in a drug-specific manner. Our data suggest a clinical trial to determine whether ATP-competitive mTOR inhibitors provide benefit in combination with standard chemotherapies for patients with PIK3CA mutant metastatic CRC, stratified by the presence or absence of KRAS co-mutation.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) regulates cell growth by integrating nutrient and growth factor signaling and is strongly implicated in cancer. But mTOR is not an oncogene, and which tumors will be resistant or sensitive to new adenosine triphosphate (ATP) competitive mTOR inhibitors now in clinical trials remains unknown. We screened a panel of over 600 human cancer cell lines to identify markers of resistance and sensitivity to the mTOR inhibitor PP242. RAS and phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase catalytic subunit alpha (PIK3CA) mutations were the most significant genetic markers for resistance and sensitivity to PP242, respectively; colon origin was the most significant marker for resistance based on tissue type. Among colon cancer cell lines, those with KRAS mutations were most resistant to PP242, whereas those without KRAS mutations most sensitive. Surprisingly, cell lines with co-mutation of PIK3CA and KRAS had intermediate sensitivity. Immunoblot analysis of the signaling targets downstream of mTOR revealed that the degree of cellular growth inhibition induced by PP242 was correlated with inhibition of phosphorylation of the translational repressor eIF4E-binding protein 1 (4E-BP1), but not ribosomal protein S6 (rpS6). In a tumor growth inhibition trial of PP242 in patient-derived colon cancer xenografts, resistance to PP242-induced inhibition of 4E-BP1 phosphorylation and xenograft growth was again observed in KRAS mutant tumors without PIK3CA co-mutation, compared with KRAS wild-type controls. We show that, in the absence of PIK3CA co-mutation, KRAS mutations are associated with resistance to PP242 and that this is specifically linked to changes in the level of phosphorylation of 4E-BP1.Oncogene advance online publication, 1 April 2013; doi:10.1038/onc.2013.92.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: mTOR [mammalian (or mechanistic) target of rapamycin] is a protein kinase that, as part of mTORC1 (mTOR complex 1), acts as a critical molecular link between growth signals and the processes underlying cell growth. Although there has been intense interest in the upstream mechanisms regulating mTORC1, the full repertoire of downstream molecular events through which mTORC1 signalling promotes cell growth is only recently coming to light. It is now recognized that mTORC1 promotes cell growth and proliferation in large part through the activation of key anabolic processes. Through a variety of downstream targets, mTORC1 alters cellular metabolism to drive the biosynthesis of building blocks and macromolecules fundamentally essential for cell growth, including proteins, lipids and nucleic acids. In the present review, we focus on the metabolic functions of mTORC1 as they relate to the control of cell growth and proliferation. As mTORC1 is aberrantly activated in a number of tumour syndromes and up to 80% of human cancers, we also discuss the importance of this mTORC1-driven biosynthetic programme in tumour growth and progression.
Biochemical Society Transactions 08/2013; 41(4):906-12. DOI:10.1042/BST20130041 · 3.19 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To determine the role of the mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling in sustaining cancer stem-like cells and its clinical values in colorectal cancer (CRC).
mTOR expression in CRC patients was analyzed by immunohistochemistry and survival analysis was used to confirm the clinical value of mTOR. Colorectal cell lines were treated by mTOR inhibitors rapamycin and PP242, and sphere formation assay and aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH) assay were utilized to determine the impact of mTOR inhibition in CRC stem-like cells, combined or not combined with chemotherapeutic drug (fluorouracil and oxaliplatin).
mTOR expression was associated with outcomes of CRC patients and predicted poor prognosis in stage II CRC patients. mTOR signaling was activated in stem-like colorectal cancer cells, and mTOR inhibitors (rapamycin and PP242) decreased the capacity of sphere formation as well as ALDH activity. Furthermore, mTOR inhibitors also were demonstrated to suppress the stimulation of stem-like cells by chemotherapy.
mTOR shared predictive significance in stage II CRC patients' outcomes and played a vital role in the maintenance of colorectal cancer stem-like cells. mTOR inhibitors might hold the potential to become a therapeutic target against CRC stem cells.
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