Mammalian Target of Rapamycin (mTOR) regulates cellular proliferation and tumor growth in urothelial carcinoma

Donna E. Hansel, Eric Platt, Mohammed Orloff, Jyoti Harwalker, Swathi Sethu, Jessica L. Hicks, Angelo De Marzo, Roxanne E. Steinle, Eric D. Hsi, Dan Theodorescu, Christina B. Ching, Charis Eng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) signaling has been associated with aggressive tumor growth in many cancer models, although its role in urothelial carcinoma (UCC) has not been extensively explored. Expression of phosphorylated mTOR (P-mTOR) and a downstream target, ribosomal S6 protein (P-S6), was identified in 74% (90/121) and 55% (66/121) of muscle-invasive UCCs, respectively. P-mTOR intensity and %positive cells were associated with reduced disease-specific survival (P = 0.04, P = 0.08, respectively). Moreover, P-mTOR intensity corresponded to increased pathological stage (P < 0.01), and mTOR activity was associated with cell migration in vitro. In addition, mTOR inhibition via rapamycin administration reduced cell proliferation in UCC cell lines RT4, T24, J82, and UMUC3 in a dose-dependent manner to 6% of control levels and was significant at 1 nmol/L in J82, T24, and RT4 cells (P < 0.01, P < 0.01, P = 0.03, respectively) and at 10 nmol/L in UMUC3 cells (P = 0.03). Reduced proliferation corresponded with reduced P-S6 levels by Western blot, and effects were ablated by pretreatment of cells with mTOR-specific siRNA. No effects of rapamycin on apoptosis were identified by TUNEL labeling or PARP cleavage. Administration of rapamycin to T24-xenografted mice resulted in a 55% reduction in tumor volume (P = 0.03) and a 40% reduction in proliferation (P < 0.01) compared with vehicle-injected mice. These findings indicate that mTOR pathway activation frequently occurs in UCC and that mTOR inhibition may be a potential means to reduce UCC growth.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3062-3072
Number of pages11
JournalAmerican Journal of Pathology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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