Purpose: Combined targeting with a PI3-kinase inhibitor, BKM120, and an Hsp90 inhibitor, HSP990, was investigated as a multi-targeted approach to potentiate cell death in glioblastoma (GBM). Additionally, the effect of dual drug treatment combined with cytotoxic stress (radiation therapy) was examined.
Methods: Four human GBM cell lines containing wild-type or mutated PTEN and/or p53 were studied. The effects of drug treatments on cell viability, apoptosis induction, pAKt activity, cell cycle arrest, clonogenicity, and tumor growth delay were studied.
Results: Combined concurrent treatment with both drugs produced more cell killing in cell viability and apoptosis assays than either drug alone. BKM120 plus HSP990 induced suppression of baseline Akt signaling as well as radiation (RT)-induced pAkt signaling in all cell lines. Cell cycle analysis revealed that HSP990 and BKM120, singly or combined, induced G2/M arrest leading to apoptosis/necrosis and polyploidy. Additionally, the drugs radiosensitized GBM cells in clonogenic assays. In vivo tumor growth delay studies demonstrated the effectiveness of combined drug treatment with HSP990 and BKM120 over single drug treatment, as well as the effectiveness of combined drug treatment in enhancing the effectiveness of radiation therapy.
Conclusions: In conclusion, HSP990 and BKM120, with and without RT, are active agents against glioma tumors. The sensitivity to these agents does not appear to depend on PTEN/p53status in the cell lines tested. We suggest that the combined action of both drugs is a viable multi-targeted strategy with the potential to improve clinical outcome for patients with high-grade glioma.