Author(s): Shao H, Gao C, Tang H, Zhang H, Roberts LR,
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Abstract BACKGROUND & AIMS: The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) plays a pivotal role in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Previous studies indicated that inhibition of mTORC1 enhanced histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACis)-mediated anti-tumor activity, accompanied with feedback activation of AKT. Therefore, dual targeting of mTORC1/C2 should be more efficient in suppressing AKT activity and in enhancing the anti-tumor activity of HDACi in HCC. METHODS: The interactions between mTOR kinase inhibitors (mTORKis) (i.e., Pp242, AZD8055, OSI027) and HDACis (i.e., SAHA, LBH589) were examined in vitro using HCC cell lines and in vivo using patient-derived primary HCC xenografts on SCID mice. RESULTS: mTORKis significantly enhanced HDACi-induced apoptosis in HCC cells. The inhibition of both mTORC1/2 not only efficiently blocked mTORC1 signaling, but also abrogated AKT-feedback activation caused by selective mTORC1 inhibition. The co-treatment of mTORKi and HDACi further inhibited AKT signaling and upregulated Bim. Dysfunction of mTORC2 by shRNA significantly lowered the threshold of HDACi-induced cytotoxicity by abrogating AKT activation. Knockdown of AKT1 sensitized Pp242/HDACi-induced apoptosis and ectopic expression of constitutively active AKT1 abrogated the combination-induced cytotoxicity, indicating AKT plays a vital role in the combination-induced effects. Knockdown of Bim prevented Pp242/HDACis-induced cytotoxicity in HCC. Lastly, in vivo studies indicated that the combination of AZD8055 and SAHA almost completely inhibited tumor-growth, without obvious adverse effects, by abrogating AKT and upregulating Bim; while either agent alone shows only 30\% inhibition in primary HCC xenografts. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings suggest that a combining-regimen of mTORKi and HDACi may be an effective therapeutic strategy for HCC. Copyright © 2011 European Association for the Study of the Liver. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
This article was published in J Hepatol
and referenced in Enzyme Engineering