Compensatory pathways induced by MEK inhibition are effective drug targets for combination therapy against castration-resistant prostate cancer

Daniel Gioeli*, Winfried Wunderlich, Judith Sebolt-Leopold, Stefan Bekiranov, Julia D. Wulfkuhle, Emanuel F. Petricoin, Mark Conaway, Michael J. Weber

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

Targeted therapies have often given disappointing results when used as single agents in solid tumors, suggesting the importance of devising rational combinations of targeted drugs. We hypothesized that construction of such combinations could be guided by identification of growth and survival pathways whose activity or expression become upregulated in response to single-agent drug treatment. We mapped alterations in signaling pathways assessed by gene array and protein phosphorylation to identify compensatory signal transduction pathways in prostate cancer xenografts treated with a MAP/ERK kinase (MEK) inhibitor PD325901. In addition to numerous components of the extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) signaling pathway, components of the IKK, hedgehog, and phosphoinositide 3-kinase/Akt/mTOR pathways were upregulated following treatment with PD325901. Combinations of PD325901 with inhibitors of any one of these upregulated pathways provided synergistically greater growth inhibition of in vitro cell growth and survival than the individual drugs alone. Thus, the identification of compensatory signal transduction pathways paves the way for rational combinatorial therapies for the effective treatment of prostate cancer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1581-1590
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Cancer Therapeutics
Volume10
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes

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