Inhibiting PI3K reduces mammary tumor growth and induces hyperglycemia in a mouse model of insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia

E. J. Gallagher, Y. Fierz, A. Vijayakumar, N. Haddad, S. Yakar, D. Leroith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Women with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) are at a greater risk of developing and dying from breast cancer than women without T2DM. Insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia underlie the pathogenesis of T2DM. In the MKR mouse model of insulin resistance, we have previously shown increased activation of the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt/mTOR pathway in association with accelerated mammary tumor growth. In this study, we demonstrate that inhibiting PI3K with the oral pan-class I PI3K inhibitor, NVP-BKM120 reduced the growth of Met-1 and MCNeuA mammary tumor orthografts in the MKR mouse. NVP-BKM120 treatment decreased phosphorylation of Akt and S6 ribosomal protein (S6rp); no change in Erk1/2 phosphorylation was seen. Hyperglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia and greater hyperinsulinemia developed in the MKR mice treated with NVP-BKM120. We previously reported reduced tumor growth using intraperitoneal rapamycin in the MKR mouse, with the development of hyperglycemia and hypertriglyceridemia. Therefore, we examined whether the oral PI3K/mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235 augmented the tumor suppressing effects of PI3K inhibition. We also investigated the effect of targeted PI3K/mTOR inhibition on PI3K/Akt/mTOR and Erk1/2 signaling, and the potential effects on glycemia. NVP-BEZ235 suppressed the growth of Met-1 and MCNeuA tumor orthografts, and decreased Akt and S6rp phosphorylation, despite increased Erk1/2 phosphorylation in Met-1 orthografts of MKR mice. Less marked hyperglycemia and hyperinsulinemia developed with NVP-BEZ235 than NVP-BKM120. Overall, the results of this study demonstrated that inhibiting PI3K/Akt/mTOR signaling with the oral agents NVP-BKM120 and NVP-BEZ235 decreased mammary tumor growth in the hyperinsulinemic MKR mouse. Inhibiting PI3K alone led to more severe metabolic derangement than inhibiting both PI3K and mTOR. Therefore, PI3K may be an important target for the treatment of breast cancer in women with insulin resistance. Monitoring for hyperglycemia and dyslipidemia should be considered when using these agents in humans, given the metabolic changes detected in this study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3213-3222
Number of pages10
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 5 2012


  • PI3K inhibitor
  • breast cancer
  • diabetes
  • insulin resistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Inhibiting PI3K reduces mammary tumor growth and induces hyperglycemia in a mouse model of insulin resistance and hyperinsulinemia'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this