, Volume 9, Issue 6, pp 797-805

Bcl-2 and CCND1/CDK4 expression levels predict the cellular effects of mTOR inhibitors in human ovarian carcinoma

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Molecular markers enabling the prediction of sensitivity/resistance to rapamycin may facilitate further clinical development of rapamycin and its derivatives as anticancer agents. In this study, several human ovarian cancer cell lines (IGROV1, OVCAR-3, A2780, SK-OV-3) were evaluated for susceptibility to rapamycin-mediated growth inhibition. The differential expression profiles of genes coding for proteins known to be involved in the mTOR signaling pathway, cell cycle control and apoptosis were studied before and after drug exposure by RT-PCR. In cells exposed to rapamycin, we observed a dose-dependent downregulation of CCND1 (cyclin D1) and CDK4 gene expression and late G1 cell cycle arrest. Among these cell lines, SK-OV-3 cells resistant to both rapamycin and RAD001 were the sole to show the expression of the anti-apoptotic gene Bcl-2. Bcl-2/bclxL-specific antisense oligonucleotides restored the sensitivity of SK-OV-3 cells to apoptosis induction by rapamycin and RAD001. These results indicate that baseline Bcl-2 expression and therapy-induced downexpression of CCND1 and CDK4 may be regarded as molecular markers enabling the prediction and follow-up of the cellular effects on cell cycle and apoptosis induction of rapamycin in ovarian cancer. Furthermore, strategies to down regulate Bcl-2 in ovarian cancer may prove useful in combination with rapamycin or RAD001 for ovarian cancer.