mTOR and P70 S6 kinase (S6K) play a key role in regulating protein translation. The role of mTOR and S6K in hepatocellular carcinoma has not been investigated, but this pathway is of particular interest because an effective inhibitor, rapamycin, is available. This study was undertaken to determine the prevalence and clinicopathological correlates of mTOR pathway activation in hepatocellular carcinoma and to determine whether rapamycin inhibits the pathway in cell culture.
Total and phosphorylated mTOR and S6K protein expression were studied by immunohistochemistry in hepatocellular carcinomas (n = 73), fibrolamellar carcinomas (n = 13), and hepatic adenomas (n = 15). Results were correlated with tumor growth pattern as defined by the WHO (trabecular, pseudoglandular/acinar, compact, and scirrhous), tumor size, Ki-67 proliferation index, and the modified Edmondson nuclear grade, which has a scale of 1 to 4. HepG2 and Hep3B cell lines were treated with rapamycin to see the effect on proliferation and S6K phosphorylation.
Increased expression of total mTOR was seen in 5% of hepatocellular carcinoma, whereas overexpression of phospho-mTOR was evident in 15% of hepatocellular carcinoma. Phospho-mTOR positivity correlated with increased expression of total S6K, which was found in 45% of cases. Total S6K overexpression was positively correlated with tumor nuclear grade, inversely with tumor size, and was unassociated with the proliferation index or WHO growth pattern. Rapamycin treatment of HepG2 and Hep3B cell lines markedly inhibited cell proliferation and reduced S6K phosphorylation in both cell lines.
The mTOR pathway is activated in a subset of hepatocellular carcinoma. Rapamycin can inhibit proliferation of neoplastic hepatocytes in cell culture.
"The mTORC1-S6K1 pathway plays an important role in regulating protein synthesis, cell growth, metabolism, and aging . S6K1 is overexpressed or activated in primary liver neoplasms, ovarian cancers, and many other types of malignancy due to the gene mutations in the PI3K pathway  . S6K1 gene amplification occurs in 10% of breast cancers and is associated with a poor prognosis . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Leflunomide is a novel immunomodulatory drug prescribed for treating rheumatoid arthritis. It inhibits the activity of protein tyrosine kinases and dihydroorotate dehydrogenase, a rate-limiting enzyme in the pyrimidine nucleotide synthesis pathway. Here, we report that A77 1726, the active metabolite of leflunomide, inhibited the phosphorylation of ribosomal protein S6 and two other substrates of S6K1, insulin receptor substrate-1 and carbamoyl phosphate synthetase 2, in an A375 melanoma cell line. A77 1726 increased the phosphorylation of AKT, p70 S6 (S6K1), ERK1/2, and MEK through the feedback activation of the IGF-1 receptor–mediated signaling pathway. Invitro kinase assay revealed that leflunomide and A77 1726 inhibited S6K1 activity with IC50 values of approximately 55 and 80 μM, respectively. Exogenous uridine partially blocked A77 1726–induced inhibition of A375 cell proliferation. S6K1 knockdown led to the inhibition of A375 cell proliferation but did not potentiate the antiproliferative effect of A77 1726. A77 1726 stimulated bromodeoxyuridine incorporation in A375 cells but arrested the cell cycle in the S phase, which was reversed by addition of exogenous uridine or by MAP kinase pathway inhibitors but not by rapamycin and LY294002 (a phosphoinositide 3-kinase inhibitor). These observations suggest that A77 1726 accelerates cell cycle entry into the S phase through MAP kinase activation and that pyrimidine nucleotide depletion halts the completion of the cell cycle. Our study identified a novel molecular target of A77 1726 and showed that the inhibition of S6K1 activity was in part responsible for its antiproliferative activity. Our study also provides a novel mechanistic insight into A77 1726–induced cell cycle arrest in the S phase.
Neoplasia (New York, N.Y.) 10/2014; 16(10):824–834. DOI:10.1016/j.neo.2014.08.006 · 4.25 Impact Factor
"mTOR is a key effector in the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway and plays a critical role in regulating cell proliferation, survival, and angiogenesis;91 as such, it is a prominent potential therapeutic target for HCC. Aberrant activation of mTOR is common in HCC, accounting for ~45% of cases, and its overexpression has been associated with poor prognosis in HCC patients.92–94 The downstream targets of mTOR include ribosomal p70S6 kinase and the eukaryotic initiation factor binding protein (4E-BP1), which regulates cell cycle, cell growth, and protein synthesis.95 "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In mammalian cells, microtubules are present both in interphase and dividing cells. In the latter, microtubules forming the mitotic spindle are highly dynamic and exquisitely sensitive to therapeutic inhibitors. Developed to alter microtubule function, microtubule-binding agents have been proven to be highly active as an anticancer treatment. Significant development of microtubule-binding agents has taken place in recent years, with newer anti-tubulin agents now showing novel properties of enhanced tumor specificity, reduced neurotoxicity, and insensitivity to chemoresistance mechanisms. Hepatocellular carcinoma remains one of the most difficult cancers to treat, with chemotherapies being relatively ineffective. There is now evidence to suggest that microtubule-binding agents may be effective in the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma, especially when used in combination with mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors. Preclinical models have suggested that the latter may be able to overcome resistance to microtubule binding agents. In this review article, recent developments of novel microtubule binding agents and their relevance to the treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma will be discussed.
OncoTargets and Therapy 04/2014; 7:575-585. DOI:10.2147/OTT.S46019 · 2.31 Impact Factor
"mTOR was activated in precancerous cirrhotic tissues in addition to chronic viral hepatitis tissues . A small-scale immunohistochemistry staining analysis revealed that 33 out of 73 (45%) HCC patients had increased expression of total S6k which correlated with mTOR activation as well as tumor nuclear grade and tumor size . Moreover, in a larger cohort of HCC patients, mTOR pathway was more remarkably altered in tumors with poor differentiation, high TNM stage, vascular invasion, and other poor prognostic features . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: As the fifth most common cancer in men and the eighth most common cancer in women, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths worldwide, with standard chemotherapy and radiation being minimally effective in prolonging survival. Virus hepatitis, particularly HBV and HCV infection is the most prominent risk factor for HCC development. Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is activated in viral hepatitis and HCC. mTOR inhibitors have been tested successfully in clinical trials for their antineoplastic potency and well tolerability. Treatment with mTOR inhibitor alone or in combination with cytotoxic drugs or targeted therapy drug scan significantly reduces HCC growth and improves clinical outcome, indicating that mTOR inhibition is a promising strategy for the clinical management of HCC.
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