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Closing escape routes: inhibition of IL-8 signaling enhances the anti-tumor efficacy of PI3K inhibitors

Ashish Juvekar and Gerburg M Wulf*

Author Affiliations

Division of Hematology/Oncology, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, 330 Brookline Avenue, Boston, MA 02215, USA

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Breast Cancer Research 2013, 15:308  doi:10.1186/bcr3400

Published: 8 April 2013

Abstract

The phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway serves as a relay where signals that emanate from the cell membrane are received and converted into intracellular signals that promote proliferation and survival. Inhibitors of PI3K hold promise for the treatment of breast cancer because activation of this pathway is highly prevalent. However, as is increasingly observed with inhibitors of cell signaling, there appear to be mechanisms of primary and secondary resistance. Britschgi and colleagues report that compensatory activation of the IL-8 signaling axis is a mechanism of primary resistance to PI3K inhibitors in some triple-negative breast cancers. In a set of experiments that carefully emulate the clinical scenario in a mouse model, they show that simultaneous inhibition of Janus kinase 2 enhances the efficacy of PI3K/mammalian target of rapamycin inhibition. Their paper lends further support to the concept that successful design of treatments with signal transduction inhibitors must anticipate potential escape routes - and include agents to simultaneously block them.