Coordinate activation of Shh and PI3K signaling in PTEN-deficient glioblastoma: new therapeutic opportunities
Abstract In glioblastoma, phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) signaling is frequently activated by loss of the tumor suppressor phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN)1. However, it is not known whether inhibiting PI3K represents a selective and effective approach for treatment. We interrogated large databases and found that sonic hedgehog (SHH) signaling is activated in PTEN-deficient glioblastoma. We demonstrate that the SHH and PI3K pathways synergize to promote tumor growth and viability in human PTEN-deficient glioblastomas. A combination of PI3K and SHH signaling inhibitors not only suppressed the activation of both pathways but also abrogated S6 kinase (S6K) signaling. Accordingly, targeting both pathways simultaneously resulted in mitotic catastrophe and tumor apoptosis and markedly reduced the growth of PTEN-deficient glioblastomas in vitro and in vivo. The drugs tested here appear to be safe in humans; therefore, this combination may provide a new targeted treatment for glioblastoma.