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Thyroid. 2008 Aug;18(8):853-64. doi: 10.1089/thy.2007.0357.

Potent inhibition of thyroid cancer cells by the MEK inhibitor PD0325901 and its potentiation by suppression of the PI3K and NF-kappaB pathways.

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Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Department of Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, 1830 E. Monument Street, Baltimore, MD 21287, USA.



We recently demonstrated inhibition of thyroid cancer cells by the MEK inhibitor CI-1040. The objective of this study was to use a potent new-generation MEK inhibitor PD0325901 to further investigate the therapeutic potential of specifically targeting MEK in the MAP kinase pathway for thyroid cancer.


We examined the effects of PD0325901 on a variety of cellular and molecular activities of thyroid cancer cell lines with distinct genotypes.


PD0325901 remarkably inhibited MAP kinase pathway signaling in the thyroid cancer cells tested. It potently inhibited cell proliferation (IC(50) = 0.059-0.783 microM) and arrested cell cycle at the G0/G1 phase of cells harboring BRAF or RAS mutations but not cells harboring wild-type alleles or the RET/PTC1 rearrangement. Synergistic inhibitory effects were observed when PD0325901 was combined with phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) or NF-kappaB pathway inhibitors in most cells, including the RET/PTC1-harboring cells. PD0325901 could inhibit invasion and anchorage-independent growth of thyroid cancer cells independently of the type of genetic alterations. This compound did not seem to have significant proapoptotic effects, however.


The MEK inhibitor PD0325901 has a wide range of potent inhibitory effects on thyroid cancer cells, some of which seemed to be genotype-selective, consistent with the results previously observed with an early-generation MEK inhibitor, CI-1040. The data provide further evidence that targeted inhibition of MEK may be therapeutically effective for thyroid cancer, particularly if the PI3K and NF-kappaB pathways are concurrently inhibited.

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