Inhibition of MEK and PI3K/mTOR suppresses tumor growth but does not cause tumor regression in patient-derived xenografts of RAS-mutant colorectal carcinomas

Giorgia Migliardi, Francesco Sassi, Davide Torti, Francesco Galimi, Eugenia R. Zanella, Michela Buscarino, Dario Ribero, Andrea Muratore, Paolo Massucco, Alberto Pisacane, Mauro Risio, Lorenzo Capussotti, Silvia Marsoni, Federica Di Nicolantonio, Alberto Bardelli, Paolo M. Comoglio, Livio Trusolino, Andrea Bertotti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Purpose: Gene mutations along the Ras pathway (KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, PIK3CA) occur in approximately 50% of colorectal cancers (CRC) and correlate with poor response to anti-EGF receptor (EGFR) therapies. We assessed the effects of mitogen-activated protein (MAP)/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase (MEK) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K)/mTOR inhibitors, which neutralize the major Ras effectors, in patient-derived xenografts from RAS/RAF/PIK3CA-mutant metastatic CRCs (mCRC). Experimental Design: Forty mCRC specimens harboring KRAS, NRAS, BRAF, and/or PIK3CA mutations were implanted in nonobese diabetic/severe combined immunodeficient (NOD/SCID) mice. Each xenograft was expanded into four treatment arms: placebo, the MEK inhibitor AZD6244, the PI3K/mTOR inhibitor, BEZ235, or AZD6244 + BEZ235. Cases initially treated with placebo crossed over to AZD6244, BEZ235, and the anti-EGFR monoclonal antibody cetuximab. Results: At the 3-week evaluation time point, cotreatment of established tumors with AZD6244 +BEZ235 induced disease stabilization in the majority of cases (70%) but did not lead to overt tumor regression. Monotherapy was less effective, with BEZ235 displaying higher activity than AZD6244 (disease control rates, DCRs: AZD6244, 27.5%; BEZ235, 42.5%). Triple therapy with cetuximab provided further advantage (DCR, 88%). The extent of disease control declined at the 6-week evaluation time point (DCRs: AZD6244, 13.9%; BEZ235, 16.2%; AZD6244+BEZ235, 34%). Cross-analysis of mice harboring xenografts from the same original tumor and treated with each of the different modalities revealed subgroups with preferential sensitivity to AZD6244 (12.5%), BEZ235 (35%), or AZD6244 + BEZ235 (42.5%); another subgroup (10%) showed equivalent response to any treatment. Conclusions: The prevalent growth-suppressive effects produced by MEK and PI3K/mTOR inhibition suggest that this strategy may retard disease progression in patients. However, data offer cautionary evidence against the occurrence of durable responses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2515-2525
Number of pages11
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Volume18
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology

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