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Inhibiting eEF-2 kinase-mediated autophagy enhanced the cytocidal effect of AKT inhibitor on human nasopharyngeal carcinoma

Authors Zhao YY, Tian Y, Liu L, Zhan JH, Hou X, Chen X, Zhou T, Huang Y, Zhang L

Received 2 April 2018

Accepted for publication 21 June 2018

Published 29 August 2018 Volume 2018:12 Pages 2655—2663

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/DDDT.S169952

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Georgios D. Panos


Yuan-yuan Zhao,1,* Ying Tian,1,* Lin Liu,1,2,* Jian-hua Zhan,1 Xue Hou,1 Xi Chen,1 Ting Zhou,1 Yan Huang,1 Li Zhang1

1Department of Medical Oncology, Sun Yat-sen University Cancer Center; State Key Laboratory of Oncology in South China; Collaborative Innovation Center for Cancer Medicine; Guangdong Key Laboratory of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma Diagnosis and Therapy, Guangzhou, China; 2Zhaoqing Medical College, Zhaoqing, Guangdong Province, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Aim: Our previous research showed that AKT inactivation via small molecule inhibitors did not induce significant apoptosis, but rather markedly increased autophagy in nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). The purpose of the current study was to determine whether autophagy inhibition can enhance the anticancer efficacy of an AKT inhibitor (MK-2206).
Materials and methods: NPC cell lines CNE-2 (Epstein–Barr virus negative) and C666-1 (Epstein–Barr virus positive) were used to conduct the research. Autophagy induction effects were evaluated via Western blotting. Eukaryotic elongation factor-2 (eEF-2) kinase was specifically and stably knocked down using shRNA. The growth and proliferation of the cells were assessed by Cell Counting Kit-8. In CNE-2 xenograft tumors, the antitumor effects of an AKT inhibitor (MK-2206) combined with an eEF-2 kinase inhibitor (NH125) were tested.
Results: MK-2206 induced eEF-2 kinase-dependent autophagy in NPC cell lines. Knockdown of eEF-2 kinase using shRNA blunted the autophagy activated by MK-2206. Compared with treatment with MK-2206 alone, shRNA or NH125 suppressed eEF-2 kinase and increased the growth-inhibitory effect of MK-2206 on the human NPC cell lines. The synergistic effects of eEF-2 kinase inhibition and MK-2206 were similar to those of the combination of hydroxychloroquine and MK-2206. Moreover, NH125 showed good synergistic effects with MK-2206 in vivo.
Conclusion: eEF-2 kinase-mediated autophagy induced by AKT inhibition played a protective role in NPC cells. Inhibition of eEF-2 kinase may be an effective method for increasing the efficacy of an AKT inhibitor such as MK-2206 in NPC.

Keywords: nasopharyngeal carcinoma, NPC, AKT, eEF-2 kinase, autophagy

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