Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (PI3K/Akt/mTOR) pathway is a therapy target of cancer. We aimed to confirm the effect of dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235 on proliferation, apoptosis, and autophagy of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) cells and sensitivity of tyrosine kinase inhibitor in vitro.
Two human CML cell lines, K562 and KBM7R (T315I mutant strain), were used. The proliferation of CML cells was detected by MTS (Owen’s reagent) assay. Cell cycle and apoptosis assay were examined by flow cytometric analysis. The phosphorylation levels and the expression levels were both evaluated by Western blot analysis. NVP-BEZ235 in combination with imatinib was also used to reveal the effect on proliferation and apoptosis.
NVP-BEZ235 significantly inhibited the proliferation in a time- and dose-dependent manner, and the half-maximal inhibitory concentration values of NVP-BEZ235 inhibiting the proliferation of K562 and KBM7R were 0.37±0.21 and 0.43±0.27 μmol/L, respectively, after 48 h. Cell apoptosis assay showed that NVP-BEZ235 significantly increased the late apoptotic cells. Cell cycle analysis indicated that the cells were mostly arrested in G1/G0 phase after treatment by NVP-BEZ235. In addition, results also found that, after treatment by NVP-BEZ235, phosphorylation levels of Akt kinase and S6K kinase significantly reduced, and the expression levels of cleaved caspase-3 significantly increased; meanwhile, the expression levels of caspase-3, B-cell lymphoma-2, cyclin D1, and cyclin D2 significantly decreased, and the ratio of LC3II/LC3I was significantly increased with increased LC3II expression level. Moreover, imatinib in combination with NVP-BEZ235 induced a more pronounced colony growth inhibition than imatinib alone.
NVP-BEZ235 effectively inhibited cell proliferation by G0/G1 cell cycle arrest and induced apoptosis through deregulating PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway in CML cells; in addition, NVP-BEZ235 can enhance cell autophagy, and is conducive to raising CML cell sensitivity to imatinib to inhibit the growth of imatinib-resistant cells.