Scientific reports

Nanosecond Pulsed Electric Fields Enhance the Anti-tumour Effects of the mTOR Inhibitor Everolimus against Melanoma.

PMID 28054548


The PI3K/mTOR/AKT pathway is activated in most melanomas, but mTOR inhibitors used singly have limited activity against advanced melanomas. The application of nanosecond pulsed electric fields (nsPEFs) is a promising cancer therapy approach. In this study, we evaluated the synergistic anti-tumour efficacy of the mTOR inhibitor everolimus in conjunction with nsPEFs against melanoma. The combined treatment of nsPEFs and everolimus gradually decreased cell growth concurrent with nsPEF intensity. nsPEFs alone or combined with everolimus could promote melanoma cell apoptosis, accompanied with a loss in cellular mitochondrial membrane potential and an increase in Ca(2+) levels. In vivo experiments showed that a combination of the mTOR inhibitor everolimus and nsPEFs improved the inhibitory effect, and all skin lesions caused by nsPEFs healed in 1 week without any observed adverse effect. Combination treatment induced caspase-dependent apoptosis through the upregulation of the pro-apoptotic factor Bax and downregulation of the anti-apoptotic factor Bcl-2. Everolimus and nsPEFs synergistically inhibited angiogenesis by decreasing the expression of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF), VEGF receptor (VEGFR), and CD34. Our findings indicate that nsPEFs in combination with an mTOR inhibitor can be used as a potential treatment approach for advanced melanoma.