Inhibition of Bcl-2 potentiates AZD-2014-induced anti-head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell activity

Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a therapeutic target for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Here, we evaluated the activity of AZD-2014, a potent mTOR complex 1/2 (mTORC1/2) dual inhibitor, against HNSCC cells. We showed that AZD-2014 blocked mTORC1/2 activation in established and primary human HNSCC cells, where it was anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic. Yet, AZD-2014 was non-cytotoxic to the human oral epithelial cells with low basal mTORC1/2 activation. In an effect to identify possible AZD-2014 resistance factors, we showed that the anti-apoptosis protein Bcl-2 was upregulated in AZD-2014-resistant SQ20B HNSCC cells. Inhibition of Bcl-2 by ABT-737 (a known Bcl-2 inhibitor) or Bcl-2 shRNA dramatically potentiated AZD-2014 lethality against HNSCC cells. On the other hand, exogenous overexpression of Bcl-2 largely attenuated AZD-2014's activity against HNSCC cells. For the in vivo studies, we showed that oral gavage of AZD-2014 suppressed SQ20B xenograft growth in severe combined immunodeficient (SCID) mice. It also significantly improved mice survival. Importantly, AZD-2014's anti-HNSCC activity in vivo was potentiated with co-administration of ABT-737. The preclinical results of this study suggest that AZD-2014 could be further tested as a valuable anti-HNSCC agent, either alone or in combination with Bcl-2 inhibitors.

Related Products

Cat.No. Product Name Information
S1002 ABT-737 ABT-737 is a BH3 mimetic inhibitor of Bcl-xL, Bcl-2 and Bcl-w with EC50 of 78.7 nM, 30.3 nM and 197.8 nM in cell-free assays, respectively; no inhibition observed against Mcl-1, Bcl-B or Bfl-1. ABT-737 induces mitochondrial pathway apoptosis and mitophagy. Phase 2.

Related Targets

Bcl-2 Autophagy