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Tarn C , Skorobogatko YV , Taguchi T , Eisenberg B , von Mehren M , Godwin AK
Therapeutic Effect of Imatinib in Gastrointestinal Stromal Tumors: AKT Signaling Dependent and Independent Mechanisms
Cancer Res. 2006 May 15;66(10) :5477-86
PMID: 16707477   
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Most gastrointestinal stromal tumors (GISTs) possess a gain-of-function mutation in c-KIT. Imatinib mesylate, a small-molecule inhibitor against several receptor tyrosine kinases, including KIT, platelet-derived growth factor receptor-alpha, and BCR-ABL, has therapeutic benefit for GISTs both via KIT and via unknown mechanisms. Clinical evidence suggests that a potential therapeutic benefit of imatinib might result from decreased glucose uptake as measured by positron emission tomography using 18-fluoro-2-deoxy-d-glucose. We sought to determine the mechanism of and correlation to altered metabolism and cell survival in response to imatinib. Glucose uptake, cell viability, and apoptosis in GIST cells were measured following imatinib treatment. Lentivirus constructs were used to stably express constitutively active AKT1 or AKT2 in GIST cells to study the role of AKT signaling in metabolism and cell survival. Immunoblots and immunofluorescent staining were used to determine the levels of plasma membrane-bound glucose transporter Glut4. We show that oncogenic activation of KIT maximizes glucose uptake in an AKT-dependent manner. Imatinib treatment markedly reduces glucose uptake via decreased levels of plasma membrane-bound Glut4 and induces apoptosis or growth arrest by inhibiting KIT activity. Importantly, expression of constitutively active AKT1 or AKT2 does not rescue cells from the imatinib-mediated apoptosis although glucose uptake was not blocked, suggesting that the potential therapeutic effect of imatinib is independent of AKT activity and glucose deprivation. Overall, these findings contribute to a clearer understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved in the therapeutic benefit of imatinib in GIST and suggest that a drug-mediated decrease in tumor metabolism observed clinically may not entirely reflect therapeutic efficacy of treatment. (Cancer Res 2006; 66(10): 5477-86).