Selective inhibition of Ras, phosphoinositide 3 kinase, and Akt isoforms increases the radiosensitivity of human carcinoma cell lines.
Kim I-A., Bae S-S., Fernandes A., Wu J., Muschel RJ., McKenna WG., Birnbaum MJ., Bernhard EJ.
Ras activation promotes the survival of tumor cells after DNA damage. To reverse this survival advantage, Ras signaling has been targeted for inhibition. Other contributors to Ras-mediated DNA damage survival have been identified using pharmacologic inhibition of signaling, but this approach is limited by the specificity of the inhibitors used and their toxicity. To better define components of Ras signaling that could be inhibited in a clinical setting, RNA interference was used to selectively block expression of specific isoforms of Ras, phosphoinositide 3 (PI3) kinase, and Akt. Inhibition of oncogenic Ras expression decreased both phospho-Akt and phospho-p42/44 mitogen-activated protein (MAP) kinase levels and reduced clonogenic survival. Because pharmacologic inhibition of PI3 kinases and Akt radiosensitized cell lines with active Ras signaling, whereas inhibition of the MAP/extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) kinase/ERK pathway did not, we examined the contribution of PI3 kinases and Akts to radiation survival. Selective inhibition the PI3 kinase P110alpha + p85beta isoforms reduced Akt phosphorylation and radiation survival. Similarly, inhibition of Akt-1 reduced tumor cell radiation survival. Inhibition of Akt-2 or Akt-3 had less effect. Retroviral transduction and overexpression of mouse Akt-1 was shown to rescue cells from inhibition of endogenous human Akt-1 expression. This study shows that Ras signaling to the PI3 kinase-Akt pathway is an important contributor to survival, whether Ras activation results from mutation of ras or overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor. This study further shows that selective inhibition of the PI3 kinase P110alpha + p85beta isoforms or Akt-1 could be a viable approach to sensitizing many tumor cells to cytotoxic therapies.