Dual targeting of mTORC1 and mTORC2 by INK-128 potently inhibits human prostate cancer cell growth in vitro and in vivo

Both mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) complexes 1 and 2 (mTORC1/2) are often over-activated in prostate cancer cells and are associated with cancer progression. In the current study, we evaluated the potential anti-prostate cancer activity of INK-128, an ATP-competitive mTORC1/2 dual inhibitor, both in vitro and in vivo. Our results showed that INK-128 exerted potent anti-proliferative activity in established (PC-3 and LNCaP lines) and primary (patient-derived) human prostate cancer cells by inducing cell apoptosis. The latter was evidenced by increase of annexin V percentage, formation of cytoplasmic histone-associated DNA fragments, and cleavage of caspase-3. INK-128-induced prostate cancer cell apoptosis and cytotoxicity were alleviated upon pretreatment of cells with the pan-caspase inhibitor z-VAD-FMK or the specific caspase-3 inhibitor z-DVED-FMK. At the molecular level, INK-18 blocked mTORC1/2 activation in PC-3 cells and LNCaP cells and downregulated mTOR-regulated genes including cyclin D1, hypoxia-inducible factor 1α (HIF-1α), and HIF-2α. ERK-MAPK activation and androgen receptor expression were, however, not affected by INK-128 treatment. In vivo, oral administration of INK-128 significantly inhibited growth of PC-3 xenografts in nude mice. The preclinical results of this study suggest that INK-128 could be further investigated as a promising anti-prostate cancer agent.

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