Pan-class I  PI3-kinase inhibitor BKM120 induces MEK1/2-dependent mitotic catastrophe in non-Hodgkin lymphoma leading to apoptosis or polyploidy determined by Bax/Bak and p53


  • A. Müller
  • B. Gillissen
  • A. Richter
  • A. Richter
  • C. Chumduri
  • P.T. Daniel
  • C.W. Scholz


  • Cell Death & Disease


  • Cell Death Dis 9 (3): 384


  • Constitutive signaling of PI3K/Akt/mTOR plays a prominent role in malignant transformation and progression of B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphomas (B-NHL) underscoring the need for PI3K targeted therapies. The pan-class I PI3-kinase inhibitor BKM120 has shown preclinical activity in distinct malignancies and is currently tested in clinical trials. Intratumor heterogeneity is an intrinsic property of cancers that contributes to drug resistance and tumor recurrence. Here, we demonstrate that inhibition of PI3-kinases by BKM120 attenuates growth and survival of B-NHL cell lines by inducing mitotic arrest with subsequent induction of intrinsic apoptosis. BKM120-mediated downregulation of Cyclin A and activation of the CDK1/Cyclin B1 complex facilitates mitotic entry. In addition, concomitant BKM120-mediated upregulation of Cyclin B1 expression attenuates completion of mitosis, which results in mitotic catastrophe and apoptotic cell death. In Bax and Bak deficient B-NHL, which are resistant to BKM120-induced apoptosis, BKM120-induced mitotic catastrophe results in polyploidy. Upon re-expression of wt p53 in these p53 mutated cells, BKM120-induced polyploidy is strongly reduced demonstrating that the genetic status of the cells determines the outcome of a BKM120-mediated pathway inhibition. Mitotic catastrophe and unfavorable induction of polyploidy can be prevented in this setting by additional inhibition of MEK1/2 signaling. Combining MEK1/2 inhibitors with BKM120 enhances the anti-tumor effects of BKM120, prevents prognostic unfavorable polyploidy and might be a potential strategy for the treatment of B-NHL.