Objective: The phosphoinositide-3 kinase signaling pathway is implicated in the development of malignancy and promotes cell-cycle progression and resistance to apoptosis. Malignant mesothelioma tumor specimens demonstrate high levels of the phosphoinositide-3 kinase downstream mediator phosphorylated Akt. Exposure of mesothelioma cell lines to LY294002, a phosphoinositide-3 kinase inhibitor, results in apoptotic cell death and decreased phosphorylated Akt in vitro and tumor burden reduction in vivo. Phosphoinositide-3 kinase is activated by cell-surface receptor tyrosine kinases. We sought to determine which receptors are present in mesothelioma and their role in cellular survival and phosphoinositide-3 kinase signaling.
Methods: Western blot analysis was performed to determine the relative expression of epidermal growth factor receptor, insulin-like growth factor receptor, and platelet-derived growth factor receptor in the mesothelioma cell lines I-45 and REN and the mesothelial line Met5a. After exposure of mesothelioma lines to kinase inhibitors, a cell viability assay was performed, cell-cycle analysis was performed to determine the percentage of apoptosis, and Western blot analysis was performed for phosphorylated Akt.
Results: Inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor resulted in apoptotic cell death and Akt hypophosphorylation in mesothelioma cell lines. Insulin-like growth factor receptor inhibition led to apoptotic cell death without affecting Akt phosphorylation. Platelet-derived growth factor receptor inhibition did not affect cellular survival or phosphoinositide-3 kinase signaling.
Conclusion: In malignant mesothelioma constitutive activation of phosphoinositide-3 kinase/Akt results in cellular survival and contributes to the malignant phenotype. We have demonstrated that epidermal growth factor receptor inhibition leads to apoptotic cell death through downregulation of phosphoinositide-3 kinase signaling in mesothelioma cell lines, whereas insulin-like growth factor receptor inhibition leads to apoptosis independent of phosphoinositide-3 kinase. Epidermal growth factor receptor, insulin-like growth factor receptor, and phosphoinositide-3 kinase inhibition might be clinically relevant in malignant mesothelioma.