Recent investigations have documented that constitutively activated phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling is a common feature of T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), where it strongly influences growth and survival. These findings lend compelling weight for the application of PI3K/Akt/mTOR inhibitors in T-ALL. However, our knowledge of PI3K/Akt/ mTOR signaling in T-ALL is limited and it is not clear whether it could be an effective target for innovative therapeutic strategies. Here, we have analyzed the therapeutic potential of the dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor PI-103, a small synthetic molecule of the pyridofuropyrimidine class, on both T-ALL cell lines and patient samples, which displayed constitutive activation of PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling. PI-103 inhibited the growth of T-ALL cells, including 170-kDa P-glycoprotein overexpressing cells. PI-103 cytotoxicity was independent of p53 gene status. PI-103 was more potent than inhibitors that are selective only for PI3K (Wortmannin, LY294002) or for mTOR (rapamycin). PI-103 induced G 0-G 1 phase cell cycle arrest and apoptosis, which was characterized by activation of caspase-3 and caspase-9. PI-103 caused Akt dephosphorylation, accompanied by dephosphorylation of the Akt downstream target, glycogen synthase kinase-3β. Also, mTOR downstream targets were dephosphorylated in response to PI-103, including p70S6 kinase, ribosomal S6 protein, and 4E-BP1. PI-103 strongly synergized with vincristine. These findings indicate that multitargeted therapy toward PI3K and mTOR alone or with existing drugs may serve as an efficient treatment toward T-ALL cells, which require up-regulation of PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling for their survival and growth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research