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Clin Cancer Res. 2012 Dec 15;18(24):6771-83. doi: 10.1158/1078-0432.CCR-12-2347. Epub 2012 Nov 7.

Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway alterations are associated with histologic subtypes and are predictive of sensitivity to PI3K inhibitors in lung cancer preclinical models.

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  • 1Departments of Oncology Biomarker Development, Genentech Inc., South San Francisco, California 94080, USA.



Class 1 phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) plays a major role in cell proliferation and survival in a wide variety of human cancers. Here, we investigated biomarker strategies for PI3K pathway inhibitors in non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC).


Molecular profiling for candidate PI3K predictive biomarkers was conducted on a collection of NSCLC tumor samples. Assays included comparative genomic hybridization, reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction gene expression, mutation detection for PIK3CA and other oncogenes, PTEN immunohistochemistry, and FISH for PIK3CA copy number. In addition, a panel of NSCLC cell lines characterized for alterations in the PI3K pathway was screened with PI3K and dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitors to assess the preclinical predictive value of candidate biomarkers.


PIK3CA amplification was detected in 37% of squamous tumors and 5% of adenocarcinomas, whereas PIK3CA mutations were found in 9% of squamous and 0% of adenocarcinomas. Total loss of PTEN immunostaining was found in 21% of squamous tumors and 4% of adenocarcinomas. Cell lines harboring pathway alterations (receptor tyrosine kinase activation, PI3K mutation or amplification, and PTEN loss) were exquisitely sensitive to the PI3K inhibitor GDC-0941. A dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor had broader activity across the cell line panel and in tumor xenografts. The combination of GDC-0941 with paclitaxel, erlotinib, or a mitogen-activated protein-extracellular signal-regulated kinase inhibitor had greater effects on cell viability than PI3K inhibition alone.


Candidate biomarkers for PI3K inhibitors have predictive value in preclinical models and show histology-specific alterations in primary tumors, suggesting that distinct biomarker strategies may be required in squamous compared with nonsquamous NSCLC patient populations.

©2012 AACR.

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