Research Papers:

Molecular regulation of apoptotic machinery and lipid metabolism by mTORC1/mTORC2 dual inhibitors in preclinical models of HER2+/PIK3CAmut breast cancer

Jianchang Qian, Yaqing Chen, Tao Meng, Lanping Ma, Lanfang Meng, Xin Wang, Ting Yu, Arie Zask, Jingkang Shen and Ker Yu _

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Oncotarget. 2016; 7:67071-67086. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.11490

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Jianchang Qian1, Yaqing Chen1, Tao Meng2, Lanping Ma2, Lanfang Meng1, Xin Wang2, Ting Yu2, Arie Zask3, Jingkang Shen2, Ker Yu1

1Department of Pharmacology, Fudan University School of Pharmacy, Shanghai, China

2Department of Medicinal Chemistry, State Key Laboratory of Drug Research, Shanghai Institute of Materia Medica, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai, China

3Department of Biological Sciences, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA

Correspondence to:

Ker Yu, email: [email protected]

Keywords: mTOR kinase inhibitor, mTORC2, apoptosis, lipid metabolism

Received: March 23, 2016    Accepted: August 09, 2016    Published: August 22, 2016


The mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a rational target for cancer treatment. While the mTORC1-selective rapalogs have shown significant benefits in the clinic, antitumor response may be further improved by inhibiting both mTORC1 and mTORC2. Herein, we established target profile of a novel mTOR kinase inhibitor (mTOR-KI) MTI-31 and employed it to study new therapeutic mechanism in breast cancer. MTI-31 demonstrated a potent mTOR binding affinity with >5000 fold selectivity over the related PI3K family isoforms. MTI-31 inhibited mTORC1- and mTORC2 function at ≤120 nM in cellular assays or 5 mg/kg orally in tumor-bearing mice. In a panel of breast cancer lines, the antitumor efficacy of MTI-31 was dependent on HER2+ and/or PIK3CAmut (HER2+/PIK3CAmut) status of the tumors and required mTORC2-specific modulation of Bim, MCL-1 and GSK3. Inactivation of Bim or GSK3 each attenuated apoptotic death resulting in mTOR-KI resistance. The antitumor response also required a suppression of lipid metabolism in therapy-sensitive tumors. Treatment with MTI-31 or AZD8055 substantially reduced lipogenesis and acetyl-CoA homeostasis, which was mechanistically linked to a blockade of mTORC2-dependent glucose-to-lipid conversion rate. We also found that the basal levels of carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A and lipid catabolism were elevated in HER2+/PIK3CAmut breast cells and were inhibited upon mTOR-KI treatment. A CPT1A inhibitor etomoxir mimicked MTI-31 action in selective downregulation of cellular lipid catabolism. Co-treatments with MTI-31 and etomoxir enhanced the suppression of cyclin D1, c-Myc and cell growth in HER2+/PIK3CAmut tumors. These new mechanistic findings provide a rationale for targeting mTORC1 and mTORC2 in HER2+/PIK3CAmut breast cancer.

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