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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2013 Nov 1;440(4):701-6. doi: 10.1016/j.bbrc.2013.09.130. Epub 2013 Oct 5.

The dual mTORC1 and mTORC2 inhibitor AZD8055 inhibits head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell growth in vivo and in vitro.

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ENT Department, Jinshan Hospital Affiliated to Fudan University, Shanghai 201508, China.


The serine/threonine kinase mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) promotes cell survival and proliferation, and is constitutively activated in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Thus mTOR is an important target for drug development in this disease. Here we tested the anti-tumor ability of AZD8055, the novel mTOR inhibitor, in HNSCC cells. AZD8055 induced dramatic cell death of HNSCC lines (Hep-2 and SCC-9) through autophagy. AZD8055 blocked both mTOR complex (mTORC) 1 and mTORC2 activation without affecting Erk in cultured HNSCC cells. Meanwhile, AZD8055 induced significant c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) activation, which was also required for cancer cell death. JNK inhibition by its inhibitors (SP 600125 and JNK-IN-8), or by RNA interference (RNAi) alleviated AZD8055-induced cell death. Finally, AZD8055 markedly increased the survival of Hep-2 transplanted mice through a significant reduction of tumor growth, without apparent toxicity, and its anti-tumor ability was more potent than rapamycin. Meanwhile, AZD8055 administration activated JNK while blocking mTORC1/2 in Hep-2 tumor engrafts. Our current results strongly suggest that AZD8055 may be further investigated for HNSCC treatment in clinical trials.


AZD8055; Cancer cell death; Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma; JNK; mTOR

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