Purpose: Great advances have recently been made in treating patients with metastatic melanoma. However, existing therapies are less effective on cerebral than extracerebral metastases. This highlights the potential role of the brain environment on tumor progression and drug resistance and underlines the need for "brain-specific" therapies. We previously showed that the PI3K-AKT survival pathway is hyperactivated in brain but not extracerebral melanoma metastases and that astrocyte-conditioned medium activates AKT in melanoma cells in vitro We therefore tested the PI3K inhibitor buparlisib as an antitumor agent for melanoma brain metastases.
Experimental design and results: Buparlisib inhibited AKT activity, decreased proliferation, and induced apoptosis in metastatic melanoma cell lines and short-term brain melanoma cells, irrespective of their BRAF and NRAS mutation status. In addition, buparlisib inhibited hyperactivated AKT and induced apoptosis in melanoma cells that were stimulated with astrocyte-conditioned medium. The growth of tumors induced by injecting human BRAF- and NRAS-mutant metastatic melanoma cells into the brain of mice was significantly inhibited by buparlisib.
Conclusions: These results emphasize the value of targeting the PI3K pathway as a strategy to develop drugs for melanoma brain metastases. Clin Cancer Res; 22(23); 5818-28. ©2016 AACR.
©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.