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Cancer Cell Int. 2009 Jan 8;9:3. doi: 10.1186/1475-2867-9-3.

Inhibition of PI3K increases oxaliplatin sensitivity in cholangiocarcinoma cells.

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Department of Surgery, Rajavithi Hospital, Bangkok, Thailand.



Resistance of cholangiocarcinoma to chemotherapy is a major problem in cancer treatment. The mechanism of resistance is believed to involve phosphoinositide-3- kinase (PI3K)/Akt activation. Although the platinum-containing compound oxaliplatin has been extensively used in the treatment of several solid tumors, recent data regarding its use to treat cholangiocarcinoma are ambiguous. Oxaliplatin resistance in this disease could potentially involve PI3K pathways. We, therefore, examined the effects of PI3K pathways in cholangiocarcinoma cells in modulating oxaliplatin resistance.


After exposing the cholangiocarcinoma cell lines RMCCA1 and KKU100 to oxaliplatin, the levels of Akt and mTOR phosphorylation increased, as shown by western blot analysis. The WST-1 cell proliferation assay showed increased inhibition of cell growth under high concentrations of oxaliplatin. The combination of oxaliplatin with LY294002, an inhibitor of PI3K, resulted in a remarkable arrest of cell proliferation. Deactivation of mTOR by RAD001 was also synergistic with oxaliplatin, although to a lesser extent. The combination of oxaliplatin and a PI3K inhibitor also resulted in a significant induction of apoptosis, as demonstrated by the TUNEL assay.


Activation of PI3K might protect cholangiocarcinoma cells from oxaliplatininduced cytotoxicity. Although the inhibition of PI3K and the inhibition of mTOR both enhance oxaliplatin-induced cytotoxicity, PI3K inhibition has a greater effect. Targeting the PI3K pathway may be a useful approach to improve the chemotherapeutic sensitivity of cholangiocarcinoma.

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