The Phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase Pathway as a Potential Therapeutic Target in Bladder Cancer.

Shuxiong Zeng
Yanjun Zhu
Ai-Hong Ma
Weimin Yu
Hongyong Zhang
Tzu-Yin Lin
Wei Shi
Clifford G Tepper
Paul T Henderson
Susan Airhart, The Jackson Laboratory
Jianming Guo
Chuanliang Xu
Ralph de Vere White
Chong-Xian Pan


PURPOSE: Activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway occurs in over 40% of bladder urothelial cancers. The aim of this study is to determine the therapeutic potential, the underlying action and resistant mechanisms of drugs targeting the PI3K pathway.

EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: Urothelial cancer cell lines and patient-derived xenografts (PDXs) were analyzed for alterations of the PI3K pathway and for their sensitivity to the small molecule inhibitor pictilisib alone and in combination with cisplatin and/or gemcitabine. Potential predictive biomarkers for pictilisib were evaluated and RNA-sequencing was performed to explore drug resistance mechanisms.

RESULTS: The bladder cancer cell line TCCSUP, which harbors a PIK3CA E545K mutation, was sensitive to pictilisib compared to cell lines with wild type PIK3CA. Pictilisib exhibited stronger anti-tumor activity in bladder cancer PDX models with PI3KCA H1047R mutation or amplification than control PDX model. Pictilisib synergized with cisplatin and/or gemcitabine in vitro, significantly delayed tumor growth and prolonged survival compared with single drug treatment in the PDX models. The phosphorylation of ribosomal protein S6 correlated with response to pictilisib both in vitro and in vivo, and could potentially serve as biomarker to predict response to pictilisib. Pictilisib activated the compensatory MEK/ERK pathways that likely contributed to pictilisib resistance, which was reversed by co-treatment with the RAF inhibitor sorafenib. RNA-sequencing of tumors resistant to treatment suggested that LSP1 down-regulation correlated with drug resistance.

CONCLUSION: These preclinical results provide new insights into the therapeutic potential of targeting the PI3K pathway for the treatment of bladder cancer.

Clin Cancer Res 2017 Aug 14 [Epub ahead of print]