PI3K-mTOR Pathway Inhibition Exhibits Efficacy Against High-Grade Glioma in Clinically Relevant Mouse Models

Fan Lin, Mark C de Gooijer, Diana Hanekamp, G. Chandrasekaran, Levi C M Buil, Nishita Thota, R.W. Sparidans, J.H. Beijnen, T. Würdinger, O. van Tellingen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


PURPOSE: The PI3K-AKT-mTOR signaling pathway is frequently activated in glioblastoma and offers several druggable targets. However, clinical efficacy of PI3K/mTOR inhibitors in glioblastoma has not yet been demonstrated. Insufficient drug delivery may limit the efficacy of PI3K/mTOR inhibitors against glioblastoma. The presence of the efflux transporters ABCB1/Abcb1 (P-glycoprotein, MDR1) and ABCG2/Abcg2 (BCRP) at the blood-brain barrier (BBB) restricts the brain penetration of many drugs.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We used in vitro drug transport assays and performed pharmacokinetic/pharmacodynamic studies in wild-type and ABC-transporter knockout mice. The efficacy of PI3K-mTOR inhibition was established using orthotopic allograft and genetically engineered spontaneous glioblastoma mouse models.
RESULTS: The mTOR inhibitors rapamycin and AZD8055 are substrates of ABCB1, whereas the dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235 and the PI3K inhibitor ZSTK474 are not. Moreover, ABCG2 transports NVP-BEZ235 and AZD8055, but not ZSTK474 or rapamycin. Concordantly, Abcb1a/b -/-;Abcg2 -/- mice revealed increased brain penetration of rapamycin (13-fold), AZD8055 (7.7-fold), and NVP-BEZ235 (4.5-fold), but not ZSTK474 relative to WT mice. Importantly, ABC transporters limited rapamycin brain penetration to subtherapeutic levels, while the reduction in NVP-BEZ235 brain penetration did not prevent target inhibition. NVP-BEZ235 and ZSTK474 demonstrated antitumor efficacy with improved survival against U87 orthotopic gliomas, although the effect of ZSTK474 was more pronounced. Finally, ZSTK474 prolonged overall survival in Cre-LoxP conditional transgenic Pten;p16 Ink4a/p19 Arf;K-Ras v12;LucR mice, mainly by delaying tumor onset.
CONCLUSIONS: PI3K/mTOR inhibitors with weak affinities for ABC transporters can achieve target inhibition in brain (tumors), but have modest single-agent efficacy and combinations with (BBB penetrable) inhibitors of other activated pathways may be required.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1286-1298
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2017


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