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Acta pharmacologica Sinica

Amiloride sensitizes human pancreatic cancer cells to erlotinib in vitro through inhibition of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway.


PMID 25864651

Abstract

Blockade of EGFR by EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as erlotinib is insufficient for effective treatment of human pancreatic cancer due to independent activation of the Akt pathway, while amiloride, a potassium-sparing diuretic, has been found as a potential Akt inhibitor. The aim of this study was to investigate the anticancer effects of combined amiloride with erlotinib against human pancreatic cancer cells in vitro. Cell proliferation, colony formation, cell cycle and apoptosis were analyzed in 4 human pancreatic cancer cell lines Bxpc-3, PANC-1, Aspc-1 and CFPAC-1 treated with erlotinib or amiloride alone, or in their combination. The synergistic analysis for the effects of combinations of amiloride and erlotinib was performed using Chou-Talalay's combination index isobolographic method. Amiloride (10, 30, and 100 μmol/L) concentration-dependently potentiated erlotinib-induced inhibition of cell proliferation and colony formation in the 4 pancreatic cancer cell lines. Isobolographic analysis confirmed that combinations of amiloride and erlotinib produced synergistic cytotoxic effects. Amiloride significantly potentiated erlotinib-induced G0/G1 cell-cycle arrest and apoptosis in Bxpc-3 and PANC-1 cells. Amiloride inhibited EGF-stimulated phorsphorylation of AKT, and significantly enhanced erlotinib-induced downregulation of phorsphorylation of EGFR, AKT, PI3K P85 and GSK 3β in Bxpc-3 and PANC-1 cells. Amiloride sensitizes human pancreatic cancer cells to erlotinib in vitro through inhibition of the PI3K/AKT signaling pathway. Treatment of pancreatic cancer patients with combination of erlotinib and amiloride merits further investigation.