Research Papers:

Targeting Phosphatidylinositide3-Kinase/Akt pathway by BKM120 for radiosensitization in hepatocellular carcinoma

Wei-Lin Liu, Ming Gao, Kai-Yuan Tzen, Chiao-Ling Tsai, Feng-Ming Hsu, Ann-Lii Cheng and Jason Chia-Hsien Cheng _

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Oncotarget. 2014; 5:3662-3672. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.1978

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Wei-Lin Liu1, Ming Gao3,4, Kai-Yuan Tzen5,7, Chiao-Ling Tsai4, Feng-Ming Hsu4, Ann-Lii Cheng1,3,4,6, Jason Chia-Hsien Cheng1,2,3,4

1 Graduate Institute of Oncology, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

2  Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

3 Cancer Research Center, National Taiwan University College of Medicine, Taipei, Taiwan

4 Department of Oncology, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

5 Department of Nuclear Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

6 Department of Internal Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan

7 Molecular Imaging Center, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Taiwan


Jason Chia-Hsien Cheng, email:

Keywords: Hepatocellular carcinoma, irradiation, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase, radiation sensitivity, synergism.

Received: February 5, 2014 Accepted: May 16, 2014 Published: May 16, 2014


Tumor control of hepatocellular carcinoma by radiotherapy remains unsatisfactory. The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt pathway plays a critical role in inhibiting cancer cell death. Elevated PI3K/Akt activity is associated with increased cellular resistance to irradiation. Our aim was to determine whether the inhibition of PI3K/Akt activity by a PI3K inhibitor, BKM120, contributes to the increased sensitivity of liver cancer cells to irradiation. The hepatocellular carcinoma cell lines (Huh7 and BNL) were used to evaluate the in vitro synergism between BKM120 and irradiation. Balb/c mice bearing ectopic BNL xenografts were treated with BKM120 and/or radiotherapy to assess the in vivo response. BKM120 increased cell killing by radiation, increased the expression of apoptotic markers, and suppressed the repair of radiation-induced DNA double-strand breaks. BKM120 pretreatment inhibited radiation-induced Akt phosphorylation and enhanced the tumor-suppressive effect and radiation-induced tumor cell apoptosis in ectopic xenografts. Inhibition of mTOR phosphorylation by rapamycin enhanced the radiosensitivity of BKM120-treated hepatocellular carcinoma cells. The synergism between BKM120 and irradiation likely inhibits the activation of Akt by radiation, leading to increased cell apoptosis and suppression of DNA-double-strand breaks repair in hepatocellular carcinoma cells. These data suggest that the BKM120/radiation combination may be a strategy worthy of clinical trials.

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