Genome-wide identification of genetic determinants for the cytotoxicity of perifosine.

Wei Zhang*, Wanqing Liu, Enrique Poradosu, Mark J. Ratain

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Perifosine belongs to the class of alkylphospholipid analogues, which act primarily at the cell membrane, thereby targeting signal transduction pathways. In phase I/II clinical trials, perifosine has induced tumour regression and caused disease stabilisation in a variety of tumour types. The genetic determinants responsible for its cytotoxicity have not been comprehensively studied, however. We performed a genome-wide analysis to identify genes whose expression levels or genotypic variation were correlated with the cytotoxicity of perifosine, using public databases on the US National Cancer Institute (NCI)-60 human cancer cell lines. For demonstrating drug specificity, the NCI Standard Agent Database (including 171 drugs acting through a variety of mechanisms) was used as a control. We identified agents with similar cytotoxicity profiles to that of perifosine in compounds used in the NCI drug screen. Furthermore, Gene Ontology and pathway analyses were carried out on genes more likely to be perifosine specific. The results suggested that genes correlated with perifosine cytotoxicity are connected by certain known pathways that lead to the mitogen-activated protein kinase signalling pathway and apoptosis. Biological processes such as 'response to stress', 'inflammatory response' and 'ubiquitin cycle' were enriched among these genes. Three single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) located in CACNA2D1 and EXOC4 were found to be correlated with perifosine cytotoxicity. Our results provided a manageable list of genes whose expression levels or genotypic variation were strongly correlated with the cytotoxcity of perifosine. These genes could be targets for further studies using candidate-gene approaches. The results also provided insights into the pharmacodynamics of perifosine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-70
Number of pages18
JournalHuman genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Drug Discovery
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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