Phosphoinositide 3-kinase/AKT/mTORC1/2 Signaling Determines Sensitivity of Burkitt's Lymphoma Cells to BH3 mimetics

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    36 Citations (Scopus)


    Burkitt's lymphoma (BL), driven by translocation and overexpression of the c-MYC gene, is an aggressive, highly proliferative lymphoma, and novel therapeutic strategies are required to overcome drug resistance following conventional treatments. The importance of the prosurvival BCL-2 family member BCL-X-L in BL cell survival suggests that antagonistic BH3-mimetic compounds may have therapeutic potential. Here, we show that treatment of BL cell lines with ABT-737 induces caspase-3/7 activation and apoptosis with varying potency. Using selective inhibitors, we identify phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) as a proproliferative/survival pathway in BL cells and investigate the potential of combined pharmacologic inhibition of both the BCL-2 family and PI3K signaling pathway. PI3K/AKT inhibition and ABT-737 treatment induced synergistic caspase activation, augmented BL cell apoptosis, and rendered chemoresistant cells sensitive. Targeting mTORC1/2 with PP242 was also effective, either as a monotherapy or, more generally, in combination with ABT-737. The combined use of a dual specificity PI3K/mTOR inhibitor (PI 103) with ABT-737 proved highly efficacious. PI 103 treatment of BL cells was associated with an increase in BIM/MCL-1 expression ratios and loss of c-MYC expression. Furthermore, blocking c-MYC function using the inhibitor 10058-F4 also induced apoptosis synergistically with ABT-737, suggesting that maintenance of expression of BCL-2 family members and/or c-MYC by the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway could contribute to BL cell survival and resistance to ABT-737. The combined use of BH3 mimetics and selective mTORC1/2 inhibitors may therefore be a useful novel therapeutic approach for the treatment of B-cell malignancy, including chemoresistant lymphomas. Mol Cancer Res; 10(3); 347-59. (C)2012 AACR.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)347-359
    Number of pages13
    JournalMolecular Cancer Research
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2012


    Dive into the research topics of 'Phosphoinositide 3-kinase/AKT/mTORC1/2 Signaling Determines Sensitivity of Burkitt's Lymphoma Cells to BH3 mimetics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this