- Differential effects of selective inhibitors targeting the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway in acute lymphoblastic leukemia (2013)
- Purpose: Aberrant PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling has been linked to oncogenesis and therapy resistance in various malignancies including leukemias. In Philadelphia chromosome (Ph) positive leukemias, activation of PI3K by dysregulated BCR-ABL tyrosine kinase (TK) contributes to the pathogenesis and development of resistance to ABL-TK inhibitors (TKI). The PI3K pathway thus is an attractive therapeutic target in BCR-ABL positive leukemias, but its role in BCR-ABL negative ALL is conjectural. Moreover, the functional contribution of individual components of the PI3K pathway in ALL has not been established. Experimental Design: We compared the activity of the ATP-competitive pan-PI3K inhibitor NVP-BKM120, the allosteric mTORC1 inhibitor RAD001, the ATP-competitive dual PI3K/mTORC1/C2 inhibitors NVP-BEZ235 and NVP-BGT226 and the combined mTORC1 and mTORC2 inhibitors Torin 1, PP242 and KU-0063794 using long-term cultures of ALL cells (ALL-LTC) from patients with B-precursor ALL that expressed the BCR-ABL or TEL-ABL oncoproteins or were BCR-ABL negative. Results: Dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitors profoundly inhibited growth and survival of ALL cells irrespective of their genetic subtype and their responsiveness to ABL-TKI. Combined suppression of PI3K, mTORC1 and mTORC2 displayed greater antileukemic activity than selective inhibitors of PI3K, mTORC1 or mTORC1 and mTORC2. Conclusions: Inhibition of the PI3K/mTOR pathway is a promising therapeutic approach in patients with ALL. Greater antileukemic activity of dual PI3K/mTORC1/C2 inhibitors appears to be due to the redundant function of PI3K and mTOR. Clinical trials examining dual PI3K/mTORC1/C2 inhibitors in patients with B-precursor ALL are warranted, and should not be restricted to particular genetic subtypes.
- Allosteric inhibition enhances the efficacy of ABL kinase inhibitors to target unmutated BCR-ABL and BCR-ABL-T315I (2012)
- Background: Chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) and Philadelphia chromosome-positive (Ph+) acute lymphatic leukemia (Ph + ALL) are caused by the t(9;22), which fuses BCR to ABL resulting in deregulated ABL-tyrosine kinase activity. The constitutively activated BCR/ABL-kinase "escapes" the auto-inhibition mechanisms of c-ABL, such as allosteric inhibition. The ABL-kinase inhibitors (AKIs) Imatinib, Nilotinib or Dasatinib, which target the ATP-binding site, are effective in Ph + leukemia. Another molecular therapy approach targeting BCR/ABL restores allosteric inhibition. Given the fact that all AKIs fail to inhibit BCR/ABL harboring the 'gatekeeper' mutation T315I, we investigated the effects of AKIs in combination with the allosteric inhibitor GNF2 in Ph + leukemia. Methods: The efficacy of this approach on the leukemogenic potential of BCR/ABL was studied in Ba/F3 cells, primary murine bone marrow cells, and untransformed Rat-1 fibroblasts expressing BCR/ABL or BCR/ABL-T315I as well as in patient-derived long-term cultures (PDLTC) from Ph + ALL-patients. Results: Here, we show that GNF-2 increased the effects of AKIs on unmutated BCR/ABL. Interestingly, the combination of Dasatinib and GNF-2 overcame resistance of BCR/ABL-T315I in all models used in a synergistic manner. Conclusions: Our observations establish a new approach for the molecular targeting of BCR/ABL and its resistant mutants using a combination of AKIs and allosteric inhibitors.