Purpose: We tested the hypothesis that allosteric Akt inhibitor MK-2206 inhibits tumor growth, and that PTEN/PIK3CA mutations confer MK-2206 sensitivity.
Experimental design: MK-2206 effects on cell signaling were assessed in vitro and in vivo. Its antitumor efficacy was assessed in vitro in a panel of cancer cell lines with differing PIK3CA and PTEN status. Its in vivo efficacy was tested as a single agent and in combination with paclitaxel.
Results: MK-2206 inhibited Akt signaling and cell-cycle progression, and increased apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner in breast cancer cell lines. Cell lines with PTEN or PIK3CA mutations were significantly more sensitive to MK-2206; however, several lines with PTEN/PIK3CA mutations were MK-2206 resistant. siRNA knockdown of PTEN in breast cancer cells increased Akt phosphorylation concordant with increased MK-2206 sensitivity. Stable transfection of PIK3CA E545K or H1047R mutant plasmids into normal-like MCF10A breast cells enhanced MK-2206 sensitivity. Cell lines that were less sensitive to MK-2206 had lower ratios of Akt1/Akt2 and had less growth inhibition with Akt siRNA knockdown. In PTEN-mutant ZR75-1 breast cancer xenografts, MK-2206 treatment inhibited Akt signaling, cell proliferation, and tumor growth. In vitro, MK-2206 showed a synergistic interaction with paclitaxel in MK-2206-sensitive cell lines, and this combination had significantly greater antitumor efficacy than either agent alone in vivo.
Conclusions: MK-2206 has antitumor activity alone and in combination with chemotherapy. This activity may be greater in tumors with PTEN loss or PIK3CA mutation, providing a strategy for patient enrichment in clinical trials.