Protein kinases play a central role in the oncogenesis of colorectal tumors and are attractive druggable targets. Detection of activated kinases within a tumor could open avenues for drug selection and optimization of new kinase inhibitors. By using a phosphokinase arrays with human colorectal tumors we identified activated kinases, including the Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR), components of the PI3K/mTOR pathway (AKT and S6), and STAT, among others. A pharmacological screening with kinase inhibitors against these proteins helped us to identify a new kinase inhibitor, termed EC-70124 that showed the highest anti-proliferative activity in cell lines. EC-70124 also inhibited cell migration and biochemical experiments demonstrated its effect targeting the PI3K/mTOR pathway. This drug also arrested cells at G2/M and induced apoptosis. Experiments in combination with standard chemotherapy used in the clinical setting indicated a synergistic effect. EC-70124 also reduced tumor growth in vivo and inhibited pS6 in the implanted tumors. In conclusion, by studying the kinase profile of colorectal tumors, we identified relevant activated pathways, and a new multi-kinase compound with significant antitumor properties.
Keywords: EC-70124; colon cancer; kinase inhibitors.