Differential mTOR pathway profiles in bladder cancer cell line subtypes to predict sensitivity to mTOR inhibition

Andrew M. Hau, Manando Nakasaki, Kazufumi Nakashima, Goutam Krish, Donna E. Hansel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Background Molecular classification of bladder cancer has been increasingly proposed as a potential tool to predict clinical outcomes and responses to chemotherapy. Here we focused on mechanistic target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibition as a chemotherapeutic strategy and characterized the expression profile of mTOR signaling targets in representative bladder cancer cell lines from basal, luminal, and either basal/luminal (“non-type”) molecular subtypes. Materials and methods Protein and mRNA expression of mTOR signaling components from representative luminal (RT4 and RT112), basal (SCaBER and 5637), and nontype (T24 and J82) bladder cancer cell line subtypes were determined by Western blot and database mining analysis of the Cancer Cell Line Encyclopedia. Cell viability following treatment with either, Torin-2 or KU-0063794, 2 dual mTOR complex 1/2 inhibitors, was determined by MTT assay. Immunoblot analysis of cells treated with Torin-2 or KU-0063794 was performed to determine the effects of mTOR inhibition on expression and phosphorylation status of mTOR signaling components, Akt, 4E-BP1, and ribosomal protein S6. Results Molecular subtypes of bladder cancer cell lines each exhibited a distinct pattern of expression of mTOR-associated genes and baseline phosphorylation level of Akt and 4E-BP1. Cells with low levels of Akt Ser-473 phosphorylation were more resistant to the cytotoxic effects of mTOR inhibition with Torin-2, but not KU-0063794. Exposure to Torin-2 and KU-0063794 both potently and rapidly inhibited phosphorylation of Akt Ser-473 and Thr-308, and 4E-BP1 T37/46 in cell lines that included basal and nontype subtypes. Conclusions Differential gene expression and protein activity associated with mTOR signaling is observed among bladder cancer cell lines stratified into basal, luminal, and nontype subtypes. Urothelial carcinomas characterized by high baseline Akt Ser-473 phosphorylation may be best suited for targeted mTOR therapies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)593-599
Number of pages7
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Basal
  • Bladder cancer
  • Cell lines
  • Luminal
  • mTOR
  • mTOR inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Urology


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