Pan-mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor AZD8055 primes rhabdomyosarcoma cells for ABT-737-induced apoptosis by down-regulating Mcl-1 protein

  • The PI3K/mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is often aberrantly activated in rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS) and represents a promising therapeutic target. Recent evaluation of AZD8055, an ATP-competitive mTOR inhibitor, by the Preclinical Pediatric Testing Program showed in vivo antitumor activity against childhood solid tumors, including RMS. Therefore, in the present study, we searched for AZD8055-based combination therapies. Here, we identify a new synergistic lethality of AZD8055 together with ABT-737, a BH3 mimetic that antagonizes Bcl-2, Bcl-xL, and Bcl-w but not Mcl-1. AZD8055 and ABT-737 cooperate to induce apoptosis in alveolar and embryonal RMS cells in a highly synergistic fashion (combination index < 0.2). Synergistic induction of apoptosis by AZD8055 and ABT-737 is confirmed on the molecular level, as AZD8055 and ABT-737 cooperate to trigger loss of mitochondrial membrane potential, activation of caspases, and caspase-dependent apoptosis that is blocked by the pan-caspase inhibitor Z-VAD-fmk. Similar to AZD8055, the PI3K/mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235, the PI3K inhibitor NVP-BKM120 and Akt inhibitor synergize with ABT-737 to trigger apoptosis, whereas no cooperativity is found for the mTOR complex 1 inhibitor RAD001. Interestingly, molecular studies reveal a correlation between the ability of different PI3K/mTOR inhibitors to potentiate ABT-737-induced apoptosis and to suppress Mcl-1 protein levels. Importantly, knockdown of Mcl-1 increases ABT-737-induced apoptosis similar to AZD8055/ABT-737 cotreatment. This indicates that AZD8055-mediated suppression of Mcl-1 protein plays an important role in the synergistic drug interaction. By identifying a novel synergistic interaction of AZD8055 and ABT-737, our findings have important implications for the development of molecular targeted therapies for RMS.

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Author:Ellen PreußGND, Manuela Sarah HugleGND, Romy Reimann, Marcel Schlecht, Simone FuldaORCiDGND
Pubmed Id:
Parent Title (English):Journal of biological chemistry
Publisher:American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Publications
Place of publication:Bethesda, Md
Document Type:Article
Date of Publication (online):2021/01/04
Year of first Publication:2013
Publishing Institution:Universitätsbibliothek Johann Christian Senckenberg
Release Date:2023/11/17
Tag:Apoptosis; Cancer; Cell Death; Rhabdomyosarcoma; mTOR
Page Number:10
First Page:35287
Last Page:35296
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 57 Biowissenschaften; Biologie / 570 Biowissenschaften; Biologie
6 Technik, Medizin, angewandte Wissenschaften / 61 Medizin und Gesundheit / 610 Medizin und Gesundheit
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - CC BY - Namensnennung 4.0 International