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Oncogene. 2006 Jan 26;25(4):525-35.

Enhancement of antitumor activity of the anti-EGF receptor monoclonal antibody cetuximab/C225 by perifosine in PTEN-deficient cancer cells.

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Department of Experimental Therapeutics, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, 77030, USA.


Mutational inactivation or deletion of the phosphatase and tensin homologue deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN)/MMAC1/TEP gene in human cancer cells leads to a constitutively active status of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt pathway in the cells and has been linked to the lack of responses of the cells to the epidermal growth factor (EGF) receptor-targeted therapeutics. Akt is strongly inhibited by perifosine, an orally active alkyl-lysophospholipid currently being evaluated as an anti-cancer agent in phase 1 and 2 clinical trials. To determine whether perifosine may enhance the antitumor activity of the anti-EGF receptor monoclonal antibody cetuximab/C225 in PTEN-deficient cancer cells, we exposed MDA468 breast cancer cells (which contain mutated PTEN gene) and PC3 prostate cancer cells (in which the PTEN gene is deleted) to perifosine and cetuximab, alone and in combination. Treatment of the cells with perifosine reduced baseline levels of phosphorylated Akt, phosphorylated p44/42 mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and p38MAPK, and increased baseline levels of phosphorylated stress-activated protein kinase (SAPK)/c-jun NH(2)-terminal kinase (JNK). A 72-h exposure of the MDA468 and PC3 cells to perifosine alone resulted in cell death in a dose-dependent manner, which was enhanced by cetuximab. Addition of subtoxic doses of perifosine to cetuximab treatment also enhanced the cetuximab-induced growth inhibition. The combination treatment enhanced the inhibition of phosphorylation of Akt, p44/42MAPK and p38MAPK, but offset the phosphorylation of SAPK/JNK that was activated by perifosine treatment alone. Taken together, the data showed that perifosine enhances the antitumor activity of cetuximab in PTEN-deficient cancer cells. Further evaluation of the combination treatment in preclinical and clinical studies is warranted.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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