Research Papers:

Phosphatidyl inositol-3 kinase (PIK3CA) E545K mutation confers cisplatin resistance and a migratory phenotype in cervical cancer cells

Wani Arjumand, Cole D. Merry, Chen Wang, Elias Saba, John B. McIntyre, Shujuan Fang, Elizabeth Kornaga, Prafull Ghatage, Corinne M. Doll and Susan P. Lees-Miller _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:82424-82439. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.10955

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Wani Arjumand1,2,4, Cole D. Merry1,2, Chen Wang1,2, Elias Saba1,2, John B. McIntyre3, Shujuan Fang1,2, Elizabeth Kornaga3, Prafull Ghatage4, Corinne M. Doll2,4, Susan P. Lees-Miller1,2,4

1Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

2Robson DNA Science Centre, Arnie Charbonneau Cancer Institute, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

3Translational Laboratory, Tom Baker Cancer Centre, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

4Department of Oncology, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta, Canada

Correspondence to:

Susan P. Lees-Miller, email: [email protected]

Corinne Doll, email: [email protected]

Keywords: PI3K pathway, PIK3CA-E545K, Akt, GDC-0941, cisplatin

Received: February 11, 2016    Accepted: July 18, 2016    Published: July 30, 2016


The phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mTOR signaling pathway is activated in many human cancers. Previously, we reported that patients with early stage cervical cancer whose tumours harbour PIK3CA exon 9 or 20 mutations have worse overall survival in response to treatment with radiation and cisplatin than patients with wild-type PIK3CA. The purpose of this study was to determine whether PIK3CA-E545K mutation renders cervical cancer cells more resistant to cisplatin and/or radiation, and whether PI3K inhibition reverses the phenotype. We found that CaSki cells that are heterozygous for the PIK3CA-E545K mutation are more resistant to cisplatin or cisplatin plus radiation than either HeLa or SiHa cells that express only wild-type PIK3CA. Similarly, HeLa cells engineered to stably express PIK3CA-E545K were more resistant to cisplatin or cisplatin plus radiation than cells expressing only wild-type PIK3CA or with PIK3CA depleted. Cells expressing the PIK3CA-E545K mutation also had constitutive PI3K pathway activation and increased cellular migration and each of these phenotypes was reversed by treatment with the PI3K inhibitor GDC-0941/Pictilisib. Our results suggests that cervical cancer patients whose tumours are positive for the PIK3CA-E545K mutation may benefit from PI3K inhibitor therapy in concert with standard cisplatin and radiation therapy.

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