Novel ATP-competitive Akt inhibitor afuresertib suppresses the proliferation of malignant pleural mesothelioma cells

Cancer Medicine 2017 September [Epub ahead of print] [Link]

Yamaji M, Ota A, Wahiduzzaman M, Karnan S, Hyodo T, Konishi H, Tsuzuki S, Hosokawa Y, Haniuda M


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM), an asbestos-related occupational disease, is an aggressive and incurable tumor of the thoracic cavity. Despite recent advances in MPM treatment, overall survival of patients with MPM is very low. Recent studies have implicated that PI3K/Akt signaling is involved in MPM cell survival and development. To investigate the effects of Akt inhibitors on MPM cell survival, we examined the effects of nine selective Akt inhibitors, namely, afuresertib, Akti-1/2, AZD5363, GSK690693, ipatasertib, MK-2206, perifosine, PHT-427, and TIC10, on six MPM cell lines, namely, ACC-MESO-4, Y-MESO-8A, MSTO-211H, NCI-H28, NCI-H290, and NCI-H2052, and a normal mesothelial cell line MeT-5A. Comparison of IC50 values of the Akt inhibitors showed that afuresertib, an ATP-competitive specific Akt inhibitor, exerted tumor-specific effects on MPM cells. Afuresertib significantly increased caspase-3 and caspase-7 activities and apoptotic cell number among ACC-MESO-4 and MSTO-211H cells. Moreover, afuresertib strongly arrested the cell cycle in the G1 phase. Western blotting analysis showed that afuresertib increased the expression of p21WAF1/CIP1 and decreased the phosphorylation of Akt substrates, including GSK-3β and FOXO family proteins. These results suggest that afuresertib-induced p21 expression promotes G1 phase arrest by inducing FOXO activity. Furthermore, afuresertib significantly enhanced cisplatin-induced cytotoxicity. Interestingly, results of gene set enrichment analysis showed that afuresertib modulated the expression E2F1 and MYC, which are associated with fibroblast core serum response. Together, these results suggest that afuresertib is a useful anticancer drug for treating patients with MPM.