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Omipalisib Inhibits Esophageal Squamous Cell Carcinoma Growth Through Inactivation of Phosphoinositide 3-Kinase (PI3K)/AKT/Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) and ERK Signaling

BACKGROUND Esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC) is a life-threatening digestive tract malignancy with no known curative treatment. This study aimed to investigate the antineoplastic effects of omipalisib and its underlying molecular mechanisms in ESCC using a high throughput screen. MATERIAL AND METHODS MTT assay and clone formation were used to determine cell viability and proliferation. Flow cytometry was conducted to detect cell cycle distribution and apoptosis. Global gene expression and mRNA expression levels were determined by RNA sequencing and real-time PCR, respectively. Protein expression was evaluated in the 4 ESCC cell lines by Western blot analysis. Finally, a xenograft nude mouse model was used to evaluate the effect of omipalisib on tumor growth in vivo. RESULTS In the pilot screening of a 1404-compound library, we demonstrated that omipalisib markedly inhibited cell proliferation in a panel of ESCC cell lines. Mechanistically, omipalisib induced G₀/G₁ cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. RNA-seq, KEGG, and GSEA analyses revealed that the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway is the prominent target of omipalisib in ESCC cells. Treatment with omipalisib decreased expression of p-AKT, p-4EBP1, p-p70S6K, p-S6, and p-ERK, therefore disrupting the activation of PI3K/AKT/mTOR and ERK signaling. In the nude mouse xenograft model, omipalisib significantly suppressed the tumor growth in ESCC tumor-bearing mice without obvious adverse effects. CONCLUSIONS Omipalisib inhibited the proliferation and growth of ESCC by disrupting PI3K/AKT/mTOR and ERK signaling. The present study supports the rationale for using omipalisib as a therapeutic approach in ESCC patients. Further clinical studies are needed.

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