Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is increasingly recognized as a master regulator of fundamental cellular functions, whose deregulation may underlie neoplastic transformation and progression. Hence, mTOR has recently emerged as a promising target for therapeutic anticancer interventions in several human tumors, including breast cancer. Here, we investigated the antiangiogenic potential of temsirolimus (also known as CCI-779), a novel mTOR inhibitor currently in clinical development for the treatment of breast cancer and other solid tumors. Consistent with previous reports, sensitivity to temsirolimus-mediated growth inhibition varied widely among different breast cancer cell lines and was primarily due to inhibition of proliferation with little, if any, effect on apoptosis induction. In the HER-2 gene-amplified breast cancer cell line BT474, temsirolimus inhibited vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) production in vitro under both normoxic and hypoxic conditions through inhibition of hypoxia-stimulated hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF)-1α expression and transcriptional activation. Interestingly, these effects were also observed in the MDA-MB-231 cell line, independent of its inherent sensitivity to the growth-inhibitory effects of temsirolimus. A central role for mTOR (and the critical regulator of cap-dependent protein translation, eIF4E) in the regulation of VEGF production by BT474 cells was further confirmed using a small interfering RNA approach to silence mTOR and eIF4E protein expression. In addition to its effect on HIF-1α-mediated VEGF production, temsirolimus also directly inhibited serum- and/or VEGF-driven endothelial cell proliferation and morphogenesis in vitro and vessel formation in a Matrigel assay in vivo. Overall, these results suggest that antiangiogenic effects may substantially contribute to the antitumor activity observed with temsirolimus in breast cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research