Wortmannin inhibits the growth of mammary tumors despite the existence of a novel wortmannin-insensitive phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase

Cancer Chemother Pharmacol. 1999;44(6):491-7. doi: 10.1007/s002800051123.


Purpose: Phosphatidylinositol (PtdIns) 3-kinase is an important mediator of many cellular functions. The study of PtdIns 3-kinase has been facilitated by the existence of the potent irreversible inhibitor of p110 PtdIns 3-kinase, wortmannin. The purpose of the study was to investigate the relationship between the cell growth inhibitory activity and antitumor activity of wortmannin and inhibition of PtdIns 3-kinase.

Methods: PtdIns 3-kinase activity was measured in cells and tumors and the effects of wortmannin investigated.

Results: Wortmannin inhibited the growth of murine C3H and human MCF-7 mammary tumors in vivo. However, the ability of wortmannin to inhibit C3H tumor growth was not related to inhibition of tumor PtdIns 3-kinase activity. The existence of wortmannin-insensitive PtdIns 3-kinase activity was demonstrated in C3H and MCF-7 cell culture lysates and solid tumors, and normal mouse tissue homogenates. In addition to being resistant to inhibition by wortmannin, MCF-7 cell lysate total PtdIns 3-kinase activity was also resistant to five additional known inhibitors of p110 PtdIns 3-kinase. Partial purification of wortmannin-insensitive PtdIns 3-kinase from MCF-7 cell lysate showed the activity to be independent of the PtdIns 3-kinase p85 regulatory subunit.

Conclusion: The results of the current study demonstrate that wortmannin can inhibit the growth of murine and human mammary tumors despite the presence of novel wortmannin-insensitive PtdIns 3-kinases in these tissues suggesting that some other target is responsible for wortmannin's antitumor activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Androstadienes / toxicity*
  • Animals
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology
  • Cell Division / drug effects
  • Enzyme Inhibitors / toxicity*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / drug therapy*
  • Mammary Neoplasms, Experimental / pathology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C3H
  • Mice, SCID
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases / metabolism*
  • Transplantation, Heterologous
  • Tumor Cells, Cultured
  • Wortmannin


  • Androstadienes
  • Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Phosphatidylinositol 3-Kinases
  • Wortmannin