The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) is a serine-threonine kinase and plays a critical role in promoting cell growth and survival, primarily through interactions with other proteins such as raptor (forming mTOR complex 1, mTORC1) and rictor (forming mTOR complex 2, mTORC2). This pathway is frequently activated in human cancers including lung cancer and thus represents an attractive cancer therapeutic target. The conventional mTOR inhibitors rapamycin and its analogues (rapalogs) are specific allosteric inhibitors of mTORC1. Although some of them are FDA-approved drugs for treatment of renal cancer, the single-agent activity of rapalogs in most other tumor types has been modest at best. Thus, great effort has been made to develop ATP-competitive inhibitors of mTOR (i.e., mTOR kinase inhibitors;TORKinibs), which inhibit function of both mTORC1 and mTORC2. The novel TORKinibs may provide additional clinical benefits since they inhibit mTORC2, which functions as an Akt S473 kinase. Indeed, TORKinibs possess promising preclinical anticancer activity. However, the activity of TORKinibs in lung cancer has not been reported or well studied. Moreover, the impact of genetic alterations on cell sensitivity to TORKinibs is unknown. In this proposal, we will test the hypothesis that TORKinibs alone or in combination with other cancer therapeutic agents will be effective in treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), particularly those with CDKN2A mutation or CDK4 amplification, by accomplishing three specific aims: 1) To evaluate the efficacy of TORKinibs against the growth of NSCLC cells in vitro and in vivo and their effects on repressing mTOR signaling;2) To demonstrate the impact of genetic alteration of CDKN2A gene and its pathway on cell responses to TORKinibs;and 3) To determine whether TORKinibs cooperates with TRAIL to augment apoptosis and to exert enhance anticancer activity in NSCLC and understand the underlying mechanisms. This proposal will allow us to evaluate the therapeutic potential of the novel TORKinibs alone or in combination with others against NSCLC, and to determine the impact of genetic alteration of CDKN2A or CDK4 on cell responses to this group of agents.

Public Health Relevance

This proposal will evaluate the therapeutic potential of novel mTOR kinase inhibitors either alone or in combination with other agents against lung cancer and determine the impact of genetic alterations on cell responses to these inhibitors. Our findings will guide clinically better application of this group of agents for treatment of lung cancer. Thus, the study is highly translational with potential clinical impact.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Cancer Institute (NCI)
Research Project (R01)
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Developmental Therapeutics Study Section (DT)
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Arya, Suresh
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Emory University
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Yao, Weilong; Oh, You-Take; Deng, Jiusheng et al. (2016) Expression of Death Receptor 4 Is Positively Regulated by MEK/ERK/AP-1 Signaling and Suppressed upon MEK Inhibition. J Biol Chem 291:21694-21702
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