Research Papers:

Combination treatment of RAD001 and BEZ235 exhibits synergistic antitumor activity via down-regulation of p-4E-BP1/Mcl-1 in small cell lung cancer

Bo Hong, Huogang Wang, Ke Deng, Wei Wang, Haiming Dai, Vivian Wai Yan Lui and Wenchu Lin _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:106486-106498. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.18984

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Bo Hong1, Huogang Wang1, Ke Deng1, Wei Wang1, Haiming Dai3, Vivian Wai Yan Lui2 and Wenchu Lin1

1High Magnetic Field Laboratory, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, Anhui, P. R. China

2School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Sha Tin, Hong Kong

3Anhui Province Key Laboratory of Medical Physics and Technology, Center of Medical Physics and Technology, Hefei Institutes of Physical Science, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Hefei, Anhui, P. R. China

Correspondence to:

Wenchu Lin, email: [email protected]

Keywords: small cell lung cancer, PI3K/AKT/mTOR, BEZ235, RAD001, p-4E-BP1/Mcl-1

Received: November 30, 2016     Accepted: June 18, 2017     Published: July 04, 2017


Small cell lung cancer (SCLC) is a highly malignant cancer with few targeted therapies. In the study, by mining the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia (CCLE) database, we found that PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway was aberrant in 92% of SCLC cell lines. Moreover, we found that the phosphorylation level of 4E-BP1 was significantly correlated with SCLC sensitivity to RAD001 (mTOR inhibitor) and BEZ235 (PI3K/mTOR dual inhibitor). Combination of RAD001 and BEZ235 synergistically inhibited the growth of SCLC cells, which was accompanied by enhanced induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. Such a combination dramatically inhibited the activation of AKT, and strongly reduced the phosphorylation of 4E-BP1 and its downstream target Mcl-1. Knock-down of Mcl-1 enhanced the growth inhibition of SCLC cells induced by RAD001 and BEZ235 co-treatment, whereas over-expression of Mcl-1 reduced the growth inhibitory effect. Furthermore, in vivo study demonstrated that the combination treatment suppressed tumor growth more effectively than RAD001 or BEZ235 treatment alone. In summary, our study suggests that combination of BEZ235 and RAD001 may be an effective regimen for SCLC treatment, and p-4E-BP1 may serve as a predictive biomarker for SCLC response to mTOR inhibitor.

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