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Ann Oncol. 2010 Feb;21(2):255-62. doi: 10.1093/annonc/mdp304. Epub 2009 Jul 24.

Association between gain-of-function mutations in PIK3CA and resistance to HER2-targeted agents in HER2-amplified breast cancer cell lines.

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  • 1Hospital Pharmacy, National Cancer Hospital East, Kashiwa, Japan.



The mechanism of resistance to human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-targeted agents has not been fully understood. We investigated the influence of PIK3CA mutations on sensitivity to HER2-targeted agents in naturally derived breast cancer cells.


We examined the effects of Calbiochem (CL)-387,785, HER2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor, and trastuzumab on cell growth and HER2 signaling in eight breast cancer cell lines showing HER2 amplification and trastuzumab-conditioned BT474 (BT474-TR).


Four cell lines with PIK3CA mutations (E545K and H1047R) were more resistant to trastuzumab than the remaining four without mutations (mean percentage of control with 10 microg/ml trastuzumab: 58% versus 92%; P = 0.010). While PIK3CA-mutant cells were more resistant to CL-387,785 than PIK3CA-wild-type cells (mean percentage of control with 1 microM CL-387,785: 21% versus 77%; P = 0.001), CL-387,785 retained activity against BT474-TR. Growth inhibition by trastuzumab and CL-387,785 was more closely correlated with changes in phosphorylation of S6K (correlation coefficient, 0.811) than those of HER2, Akt, or ERK1/2. Growth of most HER2-amplified cells was inhibited by LY294002, regardless of PIK3CA genotype.


PIK3CA mutations are associated with resistance to HER2-targeted agents. PI3K inhibitors are potentially effective in overcoming trastuzumab resistance caused by PIK3CA mutations. S6K phosphorylation is a possibly useful pharmacodynamic marker in HER2-targeted therapy.

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