Author(s): Erlich RB, Kherrouche Z, Rickwood D, EndoMunoz L, Cameron S
BACKGROUND: We examine the potential value of a series of clinically relevant PI3K-mTOR inhibitors alone, or in combination with histone deacetylase inhibitors, in a model of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). METHODS: Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell lines, human keratinocyte and HNSCC xenograft models were treated with histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) and new generation PI3K and dual PI3K-mTOR inhibitors either alone or in combination. Cell and tumour tissue viability and proliferation were then determined in vitro and in vivo. RESULTS: Phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate kinase, AKT and dual PI3K-mTOR inhibitors caused marked in vitro enhancement of cytotoxicity induced by HDACIs in HNSCC cancer cells. This effect correlates with AKT inhibition and is attenuated by expression of constitutively active AKT. Histone deacetylase inhibitor and phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate kinase inhibitors (PI3KIs) inhibited tumour growth in xenograft models of HNSCC. Importantly, we observed intratumoural HDAC inhibition and PI3K inhibition as assessed by histone H3 acetylation status and phospho-AKT staining, respectively. However, we saw no evidence of improved efficacy with an HDACI/PI3KI combination. INTERPRETATION: That PI3K and dual PI3K-mTOR inhibitors possess antitumour effect against HNSCC in vivo.