BackgroundGlioblastoma multiforme (GBM), due to its location, aggressiveness, heterogeneity and infiltrative growth, is characterized by an exceptionally dismal clinical outcome. The small molecule SI113, recently identified as a SGK1 inhibitor, has proven to be effective in restraining GBM growth in vitro and in vivo, showing also encouraging results when employed in combination with other antineoplastic drugs or radiotherapy. Our aim was to explore the pharmacological features of SI113 in GBM cells in order to elucidate the pivotal molecular pathways affected by the drug. Such knowledge would be of invaluable help in conceiving a rational offensive toward GBM.MethodsWe employed GBM cell lines, either established or primary (neurospheres), and used a Reverse-Phase Protein Arrays (RPPA) platform to assess the effect of SI113 upon 114 protein factors whose post-translational modifications are associated with activation or repression of specific signal transduction cascades.ResultsSI113 strongly affected the PI3K/mTOR pathway, evoking a pro-survival autophagic response in neurospheres. These results suggested the use of SI113 coupled, for maximum efficiency, with autophagy inhibitors. Indeed, the association of SI113 with an autophagy inhibitor, the antimalarial drug quinacrine, induced a strong synergistic effect in inhibiting GBM growth properties in all the cells tested, including neurospheres.ConclusionsRPPA clearly identified the molecular pathways influenced by SI113 in GBM cells, highlighting their vulnerability when the drug was administered in association with autophagy inhibitors, providing a strong molecular rationale for testing SI113 in clinical trials in associative GBM therapy.
- Glioblastoma multiforme