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Oncotarget. 2014 May 15;5(9):2372-89.

Antitumor activity of the combination of an HSP90 inhibitor and a PI3K/mTOR dual inhibitor against cholangiocarcinoma.

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Faculty of Medicine, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan.


The PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway is overactivated and heat shock protein (HSP) 90 is overexpressed in common cancers. We hypothesized that targeting both pathways can kill intrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma (CCA) cells. HSP90 and PTEN protein expression was evaluated by immunohistochemical staining of samples from 78 patients with intrahepatic CCA. CCA cell lines and a thioacetamide (TAA)-induced CCA animal model were treated with NVP-AUY922 (an HSP90 inhibitor) and NVP-BEZ235 (a PI3K/mTOR inhibitor) alone or in combination. Both HSP90 overexpression and loss of PTEN were poor prognostic factors in patients with intrahepatic CCA. The combination of the HSP90 inhibitor NVP-AUY922 and the PI3K/mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235 was synergistic in inducing cell death in CCA cells. A combination of NVP-AUY922 and NVP-BEZ235 caused tumor regression in CCA rat animal model. This combination not only inhibited the PI3K/Akt/mTOR pathway but also induced ROS, which may exacerbate the vicious cycle of ER stress. Our data suggest simultaneous targeting of the PI3K/mTOR and HSP pathways for CCA treatment.

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