Research Papers:

Anti-proliferative and anti-secretory effects of everolimus on human pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors primary cultures: is there any benefit from combination with somatostatin analogs?

Amira Mohamed, David Romano, Alexandru Saveanu, Catherine Roche, Manuela Albertelli, Federica Barbieri, Thierry Brue, Patricia Niccoli, Jean-Robert Delpero, Stephane Garcia, Diego Ferone, Tullio Florio, Vincent Moutardier, Flora Poizat, Anne Barlier and Corinne Gerard _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:41044-41063. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.17008

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Amira Mohamed1,2, David Romano1, Alexandru Saveanu1,2, Catherine Roche2, Manuela Albertelli3, Federica Barbieri3, Thierry Brue1,4, Patricia Niccoli5, Jean-Robert Delpero6, Stephane Garcia8, Diego Ferone3, Tullio Florio3, Vincent Moutardier9, Flora Poizat7,*, Anne Barlier1,2,* and Corinne Gerard1

1Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, CRN2M, Marseille, France

2APHM, Conception Hospital, Molecular Biology Laboratory, Marseille, France

3Department of Internal Medicine and Center of Excellence for Biomedical Research, University of Genova, Genova, Italy

4APHM, Conception Hospital, Endocrinology Department, Marseille, France

5Paoli Calmettes Cancer Institute, Oncology Department, IPC CoE-ENETS, Marseille, France

6Paoli Calmettes Cancer Institute, Surgery Department, IPC CoE-ENETS, Marseille, France

7Paoli Calmettes Cancer Institute, Biopathology Department, IPC CoE-ENETS, Marseille, France

8APHM, North Hospital, Pathology Laboratory, Marseille, France

9APHM, North Hospital, Surgery Department, Marseille, France

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Corinne Gerard, email: [email protected]

Keywords: everolimus, somatostatin analogs, human pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, primary culture, co-treatment

Received: July 26, 2016    Accepted: March 22, 2017    Published: April 10, 2017


Therapeutic management of gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (GEP-NETs) is challenging. The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor everolimus recently obtained approval from the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of patients with advanced pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pNETs). Despite its promising antitumor efficacy observed in cell lines, clinical benefit for patients is unsatisfactory. The limited therapeutic potential of everolimus in cancer cells has been attributed to Akt activation due to feedback loops relief following mTOR inhibition. Combined inhibition of Akt might then improve everolimus antitumoral effect. In this regard, the somatostatin analog (SSA) octreotide has been shown to repress the PI3K/Akt pathway in some tumor cell lines. Moreover, SSAs are well tolerated and routinely used to reduce symptoms caused by peptide release in patients carrying functional GEP-NETs. We have recently established and characterized primary cultures of human pNETs and demonstrated the anti-proliferative effects of both octreotide and pasireotide. In this study, we aim at determining the antitumor efficacy of everolimus alone or in combination with the SSAs octreotide and pasireotide in primary cultures of pNETs. Everolimus reduced both Chromogranin A secretion and cell viability and upregulated Akt activity in single treatment. Its anti-proliferative and anti-secretory efficacy was not improved combined with the SSAs. Both SSAs did not overcome everolimus-induced Akt upregulation. Furthermore, caspase-dependent apoptosis induced by SSAs was lost in combined treatments. These molecular events provide the first evidence supporting the lack of marked benefit in patients co-treated with everolimus and SSA.

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