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Tumour biology : the journal of the International Society for Oncodevelopmental Biology and Medicine

Blocking the PI3K pathway enhances the efficacy of ALK-targeted therapy in EML4-ALK-positive nonsmall-cell lung cancer.


PMID 24972969

Abstract

Targeted therapy based on ALK tyrosine kinase inhibitors (ALK-TKIs) has made significant achievements in individuals with EML4-ALK (echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 gene and the anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene) fusion positive nonsmall-cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, a high fraction of patients receive inferior clinical response to such treatment in the initial therapy, and the exact mechanisms underlying this process need to be further investigated. In this study, we revealed a persistently activated PI3K/AKT signaling that mediates the drug ineffectiveness. We found that genetic or pharmacological inhibition of ALK markedly abrogated phosphorylated STAT3 and ERK, but it failed to suppress AKT activity or induce apoptosis, in EML4-ALK-positive H2228 cells. Furthermore, targeted RNA interference of PI3K pathway components restored sensitivity to TAE684 treatment at least partially due to increased apoptosis. Combined TAE684 with PI3K inhibitor synergistically inhibited the proliferation of EML4-ALK-positive cells in vitro and significantly suppressed the growth of H2228 xenografts in vivo, suggesting the potential clinical application of such combinatorial therapy regimens in patients with EML4-ALK positive lung cancer.