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      Attenuation of everolimus-induced cytotoxicity by a protective autophagic pathway involving ERK activation in renal cell carcinoma cells

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          Abstract

          Aim

          The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway is a critical target for cancer treatment and the mTOR inhibitor everolimus (RAD001) has been approved for treatment of renal cell carcinoma (RCC). However, the limited efficacy of RAD001 has led to the development of drug resistance. Autophagy is closely related to cell survival and death, which may be activated under RAD001 stimulation. The aim of the present study was to identify the underlying mechanisms of RAD001 resistance in RCC cells through cytoprotective autophagy involving activation of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) pathway.

          Methods and results:

          RAD001 strongly induced autophagy of RCC cells in a dose- and time-dependent manner, as confirmed by Western blot analysis. Importantly, suppression of autophagy by the pharmacological inhibitor chloroquine effectively enhanced RAD001-induced apoptotic cytotoxicity, as demonstrated by the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide (MTT) assay and Western blot analysis, indicating a cytoprotective role for RAD001-induced autophagy. In addition, as was shown by the MTT assay, flow cytometry, and Western blot analysis, RAD001 robustly activated ERK, but not c-Jun N-terminal kinase and p38. Activation of ERK was inhibited by the pharmacological inhibitor selumetinib (AZD6244), which effectively promoted RAD001-induced cell death. Moreover, employing AZD6244 markedly attenuated RAD001-induced autophagy and enhanced RAD001-induced apoptosis, which play a central role in RAD001-induced cell death. Furthermore, RAD001-induced autophagy is regulated by ERK-mediated phosphorylation of Beclin-1 and B-cell lymphoma 2, as confirmed by Western blot analysis.

          Conclusion

          These results suggest that RAD001-induced autophagy involves activation of the ERK, which may impair cytotoxicity of RAD001 in RCC cells. Thus, inhibition of the activation of ERK pathway-mediated autophagy may be useful to overcome chemoresistance to RAD001.

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          Most cited references 28

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          A phase I/II trial of hydroxychloroquine in conjunction with radiation therapy and concurrent and adjuvant temozolomide in patients with newly diagnosed glioblastoma multiforme

          Preclinical studies indicate autophagy inhibition with hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) can augment the efficacy of DNA-damaging therapy. The primary objective of this trial was to determine the maximum tolerated dose (MTD) and efficacy of HCQ in combination with radiation therapy (RT) and temozolomide (TMZ) for newly diagnosed glioblastoma (GB). A 3 + 3 phase I trial design followed by a noncomparative phase II study was conducted in GB patients after initial resection. Patients received HCQ (200 to 800 mg oral daily) with RT and concurrent and adjuvant TMZ. Quantitative electron microscopy and immunoblotting were used to assess changes in autophagic vacuoles (AVs) in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC). Population pharmacokinetic (PK) modeling enabled PK-pharmacodynamic correlations. Sixteen phase I subjects were evaluable for dose-limiting toxicities. At 800 mg HCQ/d, 3/3 subjects experienced Grade 3 and 4 neutropenia and thrombocytopenia, 1 with sepsis. HCQ 600 mg/d was found to be the MTD in this combination. The phase II cohort (n = 76) had a median survival of 15.6 mos with survival rates at 12, 18, and 24 mo of 70%, 36%, and 25%. PK analysis indicated dose-proportional exposure for HCQ. Significant therapy-associated increases in AV and LC3-II were observed in PBMC and correlated with higher HCQ exposure. These data establish that autophagy inhibition is achievable with HCQ, but dose-limiting toxicity prevented escalation to higher doses of HCQ. At HCQ 600 mg/d, autophagy inhibition was not consistently achieved in patients treated with this regimen, and no significant improvement in overall survival was observed. Therefore, a definitive test of the role of autophagy inhibition in the adjuvant setting for glioma patients awaits the development of lower-toxicity compounds that can achieve more consistent inhibition of autophagy than HCQ.
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            Application and interpretation of current autophagy inhibitors and activators

            Autophagy is the major intracellular degradation system, by which cytoplasmic materials are delivered to and degraded in the lysosome. As a quality control mechanism for cytoplasmic proteins and organelles, autophagy plays important roles in a variety of human diseases, including neurodegenerative diseases, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and infectious and inflammatory diseases. The discovery of ATG genes and the dissection of the signaling pathways involved in regulating autophagy have greatly enriched our knowledge on the occurrence and development of this lysosomal degradation pathway. In addition to its role in degradation, autophagy may also promote a type of programmed cell death that is different from apoptosis, termed type II programmed cell death. Owing to the dual roles of autophagy in cell death and the specificity of diseases, the exact mechanisms of autophagy in various diseases require more investigation. The application of autophagy inhibitors and activators will help us understand the regulation of autophagy in human diseases, and provide insight into the use of autophagy-targeted drugs. In this review, we summarize the latest research on autophagy inhibitors and activators and discuss the possibility of their application in human disease therapy.
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              Combined PI3K/mTOR and MEK inhibition provides broad antitumor activity in faithful murine cancer models.

              Anticancer drug development is inefficient, but genetically engineered murine models (GEMM) and orthotopic, syngeneic transplants (OST) of cancer may offer advantages to in vitro and xenograft systems. We assessed the activity of 16 treatment regimens in a RAS-driven, Ink4a/Arf-deficient melanoma GEMM. In addition, we tested a subset of treatment regimens in three breast cancer models representing distinct breast cancer subtypes: claudin-low (T11 OST), basal-like (C3-TAg GEMM), and luminal B (MMTV-Neu GEMM). Like human RAS-mutant melanoma, the melanoma GEMM was refractory to chemotherapy and single-agent small molecule therapies. Combined treatment with AZD6244 [mitogen-activated protein-extracellular signal-regulated kinase kinase (MEK) inhibitor] and BEZ235 [dual phosphoinositide-3 kinase (PI3K)/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor] was the only treatment regimen to exhibit significant antitumor activity, showed by marked tumor regression and improved survival. Given the surprising activity of the "AZD/BEZ" combination in the melanoma GEMM, we next tested this regimen in the "claudin-low" breast cancer model that shares gene expression features with melanoma. The AZD/BEZ regimen also exhibited significant activity in this model, leading us to testing in even more diverse GEMMs of basal-like and luminal breast cancer. The AZD/BEZ combination was highly active in these distinct breast cancer models, showing equal or greater efficacy compared with any other regimen tested in studies of over 700 tumor-bearing mice. This regimen even exhibited activity in lapatinib-resistant HER2(+) tumors. These results show the use of credentialed murine models for large-scale efficacy testing of diverse anticancer regimens and predict that combinations of PI3K/mTOR and MEK inhibitors will show antitumor activity in a wide range of human malignancies.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1177-8881
                2018
                19 April 2018
                : 12
                : 911-920
                Affiliations
                Department of Urinary Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, Yuzhong District, Chongqing, China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Jing Fan; Xin Gou, Department of Urinary Surgery, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, No 1 Youyi Road, Yuzhong District, Chongqing 400016, China. Email fjfj8003@ 123456163.com ; omegamanman@ 123456163.com
                Article
                dddt-12-911
                10.2147/DDDT.S160557
                5914548
                © 2018 Zeng et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

                Categories
                Original Research

                Pharmacology & Pharmaceutical medicine

                selumetinib, apoptosis, renal cancer, erk, everolimus, autophagy

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