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Mol Cancer Ther. 2006 Jan;5(1):187-96.

Identification of magnetic resonance detectable metabolic changes associated with inhibition of phosphoinositide 3-kinase signaling in human breast cancer cells.

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  • 1Cancer Research UK Clinical Magnetic Resonance Research Group, Institute of Cancer Research and Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust, Downs Road, Sutton, Surrey SM2 5PT, United Kingdom.


Phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) is an attractive target for novel mechanism-based anticancer treatment. We used magnetic resonance (MR) spectroscopy (MRS) to detect biomarkers of PI3K signaling inhibition in human breast cancer cells. MDA-MB-231, MCF-7, and Hs578T cells were treated with the prototype PI3K inhibitor LY294002, and the (31)P MR spectra of cell extracts were monitored. In every case, LY294002 treatment was associated with a significant decrease in phosphocholine levels by up to 2-fold (P < 0.05). In addition, a significant increase in glycerophosphocholine levels by up to 5-fold was also observed (P <or= 0.05), whereas the content of glycerophosphoethanolamine, when detectable, did not change significantly. Nucleotide triphosphate levels did not change significantly in MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 cells but decreased by approximately 1.3-fold in Hs578T cells (P = 0.01). The changes in phosphocholine and glycerophosphocholine levels seen in cell extracts were also detectable in the (31)P MR spectra of intact MDA-MB-231 cells following exposure to LY294002. When treated with another PI3K inhibitor, wortmannin, MDA-MB-231 cells also showed a significant decrease in phosphocholine content by approximately 1.25-fold relative to the control (P < 0.05), whereas the levels of the remaining metabolites did not change significantly. Our results indicate that PI3K inhibition in human breast cancer cells by LY294002 and wortmannin is associated with a decrease in phosphocholine levels.

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