Combination of an allosteric Akt inhibitor MK-2206 with etoposide or rapamycin enhances the antitumor growth effect in neuroblastoma

Zhijie Li*, Shuang Yan, Navid Attayan, Sridevi Ramalingam, Carol J. Thiele

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

60 Scopus citations


Purpose: Activation of Akt is a marker of decreased event-free or overall survival in neuroblastoma patients. MK-2206, a novel allosteric Akt inhibitor, is now tested in clinical trials in adult cancers. In this study, effect of MK-2206 on tumor growth and murine survival, alone or in combination, with etoposide or rapamycin was evaluated. Experimental Design: The anticell proliferation effect of MK-2206 was tested in eight neuroblastoma cell lines by MTS assay. Caspase-3/7 activity, cell-cycle analysis, and reactive oxygen species (ROS) production were determined. Effect of MK-2206 combined with etoposide or rapamycin was evaluated in vitro and in vivo. Akt phosphorylation was measured by Western blotting in neuroblastoma cells and tumors. Results: In vitro, MK-2206 treatment inhibited neuroblastoma cell proliferation, which was accompanied by a cell line selective G1 arrest of cell cycle or production of ROS. A synergistic effect between MK-2206 and etoposide was detected in four tested neuroblastoma cell lines via caspase-dependent apoptosis, whereas increased inhibition of cell growth induced by combination of MK-2206 and rapamycin was mediated by ROS production. In vivo, MK-2206 alone decreased tumor growth and increased murine survival at dose that inhibited Akt phosphorylation in tumors. MK-2206, in combination with etoposide or rapamycin, caused a significant decrease in tumor growth and increase of murine survival compared with MK-2206 alone. Conclusion: Akt inhibition by MK-2206 increased the efficacy of etoposide or rapamycin. Our study supports future clinical evaluation of MK-2206 in combination with conventional cytotoxic therapy or with rapamycin in high-risk neuroblastoma patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3603-3615
Number of pages13
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number13
StatePublished - Jul 1 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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