Aberrant activation of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway is a common feature of acute myeloid leukemia (AML) patients contributing to chemoresistance, disease progression and unfavourable outcome. Therefore, inhibition of this pathway may represent a potential therapeutic approach in AML. The aim of this study was to evaluate the pre-clinical activity of NVP-BKM120 (BKM120), a selective pan-class I PI3K inhibitor, on AML cell lines and primary samples. Our results demonstrate that BKM120 abrogates the activity of the PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling, promoting cell growth arrest and significant apoptosis in a dose- and time-dependent manner in AML cells but not in the normal counterpart. BKM120-induced cytotoxicity is associated with a profound modulation of metabolic behaviour in both cell lines and primary samples. In addition, BKM120 synergizes with the glycolitic inhibitor dichloroacetate enhancing apoptosis induction at lower doses. Finally, in vivo administration of BKM120 to a xenotransplant mouse model of AML significantly inhibited leukemia progression and improved the overall survival of treated mice. Taken together, our findings indicate that BKM120, alone or in combination with other drugs, has a significant anti-leukemic activity supporting its clinical development as a novel therapeutic agent in AML.
ASJC Scopus subject areas