Phosphoprotein pathway mapping: Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin activation is negatively associated with childhood rhabdomyosarcoma survival

Emanuel F. Petricoin, Virginia Espina, Robyn P. Araujo, Brieanne Midura, Choh Yeung, Xiaolin Wan, Gabriel S. Eichler, Donald J. Johann, Stephen Qualman, Maria Tsokos, Kartik Krishnan, Lee J. Helman, Lance A. Liotta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Mapping of protein signaling networks within tumors can identify new targets for therapy and provide a means to stratify patients for individualized therapy. Despite advances in combination chemotherapy, the overall survival for childhood rhabdomyosarcoma remains ∼60%. A critical goal is to identify functionally important protein signaling defects associated with treatment failure for the 40% nonresponder cohort. Here, we show, by phosphoproteomic network analysis of microdissected tumor cells, that interlinked components of the Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway exhibited increased levels of phosphorylation for tumors of patients with short-term survival. Specimens (n = 59) were obtained from the Children's Oncology Group Intergroup Rhabdomyosarcoma Study (IRS) IV, D9502 and D9803, with 12-year follow-up. High phosphorylation levels were associated with poor overall and poor disease-free survival: Akt Ser473 (overall survival P < 0.001, recurrence-free survival P < 0.0009), 4EBP1 Thr37/46 (overall survival P < 0.0110, recurrence-free survival P < 0.0106), eIF4G Ser1108 (overall survival P < 0.0017, recurrence-free survival P < 0.0072), and p70S6 Thr389 (overall survival P < 0.0085, recurrence-free survival P < 0.0296). Moreover, the findings support an altered interrelationship between the insulin receptor substrate (IRS-1) and Akt/mTOR pathway proteins (P < 0.0027) for tumors from patients with poor survival. The functional significance of this pathway was tested using CCI-779 in a mouse xenograft model. CCI-779 suppressed phosphorylation of mTOR downstream proteins and greatly reduced the growth of two different rhabdomyosarcoma (RD embryonal P = 0.00008; Rh30 alveolar P = 0.0002) cell lines compared with controls. These results suggest that phosphoprotein mapping of the Akt/mTOR pathway should be studied further as a means to select patients to receive mTOR/IRS pathway inhibitors before administration of chemotherapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3431-3440
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Apr 1 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Phosphoprotein pathway mapping: Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin activation is negatively associated with childhood rhabdomyosarcoma survival'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this