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.