BKM120, a pan class I PI3K inhibitor, was cytotoxic in the majority of primary B-chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) lymphocytes, including samples from patients who have a high-risk for poor response to treatment (patient with del11 and del17) at clinically obtainable concentrations. The PI3Kδ inhibitor Cal-101 is cytotoxic in B-CLL lymphocytes in vitro and is active in the treatment of CLL in vivo. Interestingly, we demonstrated that BKM120 is 3.6 fold more toxic than Cal-101 in malignant B-CLL lymphocytes in vitro. BKM120 cytotoxicity correlated with the basal expression of proteins involved in the PI3K/Akt pathway. A protein signature of PI3K pathway proteins predicts the response to BKM120 treatment. In the primary B-CLL lymphocytes tested in vitro, BKM120 decreased the phosphorylation status of molecular biomarkers used as indicators of PI3K pathway inhibition in vivo. Also, BKM120 induced apoptosis in primary B-CLL cells culture in the presence and absence of stromal cell support. Our findings suggest that BKM120 should be tested clinically in CLL.
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