Combinatorial Effects of Lapatinib and Rapamycin in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer Cells

Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology, Winship Cancer Institute, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics (Impact Factor: 5.68). 06/2011; 10(8):1460-9. DOI: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-10-0925
Source: PubMed


Triple-negative breast cancers, which lack estrogen receptor, progesterone receptor, and HER2/neu overexpression, account for approximately 15% of breast cancers, but occur more commonly in African Americans. The poor survival outcomes seen with triple-negative breast cancers patients are, in part, due to a lack of therapeutic targets. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed in 50% of triple-negative breast cancers, but EGFR inhibitors have not been effective in patients with metastatic breast cancers. However, mTOR inhibition has been shown to reverse resistance to EGFR inhibitors. We examined the combination effects of mTOR inhibition with EGFR inhibition in triple-negative breast cancer in vitro and in vivo. The combination of EGFR inhibition by using lapatinib and mTOR inhibition with rapamycin resulted in significantly greater cytotoxicity than the single agents alone and these effects were synergistic in vitro. The combination of rapamycin and lapatinib significantly decreased growth of triple-negative breast cancers in vivo compared with either agent alone. EGFR inhibition abrogated the expression of rapamycin-induced activated Akt in triple-negative breast cancer cells in vitro. The combination of EGFR and mTOR inhibition resulted in increased apoptosis in some, but not all, triple-negative cell lines, and these apoptotic effects correlated with a decrease in activated eukaryotic translation initiation factor (eIF4E). These results suggest that mTOR inhibitors could sensitize a subset of triple-negative breast cancers to EGFR inhibitors. Given the paucity of effective targeted agents in triple-negative breast cancers, these results warrant further evaluation.

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Available from: Lily Yang, Apr 20, 2015
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    • "Although chemotherapy is the major therapeutic option, recent scientific efforts have revealed that targeting EGFR may be a potential strategy for such patients. TNBCs frequently overexpress EGFR and the antitumor activity of lapatinib in such diseases was also tested [46, 47]. However, this drug did not show clinical benefits, and, in contrast, even promoted cancer metastasis and development of drug resistance [16]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Lapatinib, a dual epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), has been approved for HER2-positive breast cancer patients. Nevertheless, its inhibitory effect on EGFR did not deliver clinical benefits for triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) patients even EGFR overexpression was frequently found in this disease. Moreover, lapatinib was unexpectedly found to enhance metastasis of TNBC cells, but the underlying mechanisms are not fully understood. In this study, we explored that the level of interleukin-6 (IL-6) was elevated in lapatinib-treated TNBC cells. Treatment with IL-6 antibody abolished the lapatinib-induced migration. Mechanistically, the signaling axis of Raf-1/mitogen-activated protein kinases (MAPKs), c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs), p38 MAPK, and activator protein 1 (AP-1) was activated in response to lapatinib treatment to induce IL-6 expression. Furthermore, our data showed that microRNA-7 directly binds and inhibits Raf-1 3'UTR activity, and that down-regulation of miR-7 by lapatinib contributes to the activation of Raf-1 signaling pathway and the induction of IL-6 expression. Our results not only revealed IL-6 as a key regulator of lapatinib-induced metastasis, but also explored the requirement of miR7/Raf-1/MAPK/AP-1 axis in lapatinib-induced IL-6 expression.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2015 · Oncotarget
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    • "Breast cancer stem cell targeting is considered a promising therapy. Thus far, various drugs that are specific to receptors such as Her2/neu and epidermal growth factor receptors have been used to target breast cancer stem cells.4–11 However, more than 50% of tumors do not express these receptors and are drug resistant.12–16 "
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    ABSTRACT: Breast cancer stem cells with a CD44(+)CD24(-) phenotype are the origin of breast tumors. Strong CD44 expression in this population indicates its important role in maintaining the stem cell phenotype. Previous studies show that CD44 down-regulation causes CD44(+)CD24(-) breast cancer stem cells to differentiate into non-stem cells that are sensitive to antitumor drugs and lose many characteristics of the original cells. In this study, we determined tumor suppression in non-obese severe combined immunodeficiency mice using CD44 shRNA therapy combined with doxorubicin treatment. Tumor-bearing non-obese severe combined immunodeficiency mice were established by injection of CD44(+)CD24(-) cells. To track CD44(+)CD24(-) cells, green fluorescence protein was stably transduced using a lentiviral vector prior to injection into mice. The amount of CD44 shRNA lentiviral vector used for transduction was based on CD44 down-regulation by in vitro CD44 shRNA transduction. Mice were treated with direct injection of CD44 shRNA lentiviral vector into tumors followed by doxorubicin administration after 48 hours. The effect was evaluated by changes in the size and weight of tumors compared with that of the control. The combination of CD44 down-regulation and doxorubicin strongly suppressed tumor growth with significant differences in tumor sizes and weights compared with that of CD44 down-regulation or doxorubicin treatment alone. In the combination of CD44 down-regulation and doxorubicin group, the tumor weight was significantly decreased by 4.38-fold compared with that of the control group. These results support a new strategy for breast cancer treatment by combining gene therapy with chemotherapy.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · OncoTargets and Therapy
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    ABSTRACT: Lapatinib, a dual EGFR/HER2 kinase inhibitor, is approved for use in patients with trastuzumab-refractory HER2- overexpressing breast cancer. Increased PI3K signaling has been associated with resistance to trastuzumab, although its role in lapatinib resistance remains unclear. The purpose of the current study was to determine if PI3K/mTOR activity affects lapatinib sensitivity. Reduced sensitivity to lapatinib was associated with an inability of lapatinib to inhibit Akt and p70S6K phosphorylation. Transfection of constitutively active Akt reduced lapatinib sensitivity, while kinase-dead Akt increased sensitivity. Knockdown of 4EBP1 also increased lapatinib sensitivity, in contrast to p70S6K knockdown, which did not affect response to lapatinib. Pharmacologic inhibition of mTOR using rapamycin or ridaforolimus increased lapatinib sensitivity and reduced phospho-Akt levels in cells that showed poor response to single-agent lapatinib, including those transfected with hyperactive Akt. Finally, combination mTOR inhibition plus lapatinib resulted in synergistic inhibition of proliferation, reduced anchorage-independent growth, and reduced in vivo tumor growth of HER2- overexpressing breast cancer cells that have primary trastuzumab resistance. Our data suggest that PI3K/mTOR inhibition is critical for achieving optimal response to lapatinib. Collectively, these experiments support evaluation of lapatinib in combination with pharmacologic mTOR inhibition as a potential strategy for inhibiting growth of HER2-overexpressing breast cancers that show resistance to trastuzumab and poor response to lapatinib.
    Preview · Article · Oct 2011 · Anti-cancer agents in medicinal chemistry
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