The influence of PI3K inhibition on the radiotherapy response of head and neck cancer cells

Head and Neck Cancer

Sci Rep. 2020 Oct 1;10(1):16208. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-73249-z.


Radiotherapy has a central role in the treatment of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Activation of the PI3K/AKT/mTOR pathway can decrease the efficiency of radiotherapy via the promotion of cell survival and DNA repair. Here, the influence of PI3K pathway inhibition on radiotherapy response was investigated. Two PI3K inhibitors were investigated and both BKM120 and GDC0980 effectively inhibited cellular and clonogenic growth in 6 HNSCC cells, both HPV-positive as well as

HPV-negative. Despite targeted inhibition of the pathway and slight increase in DNA damage, PI3K inhibition did not show significant radiosensitization. Currently only one clinical trial is assessing the effectiveness of combining BKM120 with RT in HNSCC (NCT02113878) of which the results are eagerly awaited.