Combined MEK and PI3K/p110b inhibition as a novel targeted therapy for malignant mesothelioma displaying sarcomatoid features.

Cancer Research 2020 January 7 [Link]

Marqués M, Tranchant R, Risa-Ebrí B, Suárez-Solís ML, Fernández LC, Carrillo-de-Santa-Pau E, Del Pozo N, Martínez de Villarreal J, Meiller C, Allory Y, Blum Y, Pirker C, Hegedus B, Barry ST, Carnero A, Berger W, Jean D, Real FX


Among malignant mesotheliomas (MM) the sarcomatoid subtype is associated with higher chemoresistance and worst survival. Due to its low incidence, there has been little progress in the knowledge of the molecular mechanisms associated with sarcomatoid MM, which might help to define novel therapeutic targets. In this work, we show that loss of PTEN expression is frequent in human sarcomatoid MM and PTEN expression levels are lower in sarcomatoid MM than in the biphasic and epithelioid subtypes. Combined Pten and Trp53 deletion in mouse mesothelium led to non-epithelioid MM development. In Pten;Trp53-null mice developing MM, the Gαi2 coupled receptor subunit activated MEK/ERK and PI3K resulting in aggressive, immune-suppressed tumors. Combined inhibition of MEK and p110β/PI3K reduced mouse tumor cell growth in vitro. Therapeutic inhibition of MEK and p110β/PI3K using Selumetinib (AZD6244, ARRY-142886) and AZD8186, two drugs that are currently in clinical trials, increased the survival of Pten;Trp53-null mice without major toxicity. This drug combination effectively reduced the proliferation of primary cultures of human pleural (Pl) MM, implicating non-epithelioid histology and high vimentin, AKT1/2, and Gαi2 expression levels as predictive markers of response to combined MEK and p110β/PI3K inhibition. Our findings provide a rationale for the use of Selumetinib and AZD8186 in MM patients with sarcomatoid features. This constitutes a novel targeted therapy for a poor prognosis and frequently chemoresistant group of MM patients, for whom therapeutic options are currently lacking.