Combined inhibition of BET bromodomain and mTORC1/2 provides therapeutic advantage for rhabdomyosarcoma by switching cell death mechanism

Academic Article


  • Aberrant activation of multiple complex signaling pathways underlies the pathogenesis of rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS), which remains a cause of mortality in approximately 30% of children with RMS. Bromodomain and extraterminal (BET) domain chromatin remodeling regulates several of these pathways. Here, we targeted bromodomain 4 (BRD4) in combination with another molecular metabolic tumor driver, the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway, to provide a highly effective treatment for this neoplasm. We demonstrated that a nexus of these two molecular pathways underlies RMS pathogenesis. Our data show that the combined inhibition of the BET bromodomain and mTORC1/2 signaling abrogates aggressive RMS growth. Thus, the bromodomain inhibitor RVX-208 significantly augmented the therapeutic effects of the dual mTORC1/2 inhibitors, OSI-027 and PP242, both in vitro and in a human xenograft murine model. Drug-treated residual tumors showed a decrease in the activation of underlying signaling mechanisms characterized by a reduction in the expression of p-AKT, p-mTOR, p-p70S6K, cyclin D1, and proliferation. Our ChIP-seq data demonstrated that RVX-208 effectively blocked BRD4 occupancy on its target promoters. ChIP-qPCR assays further confirmed that RVX-208 treatment resulted in a significant decrease in H3K27ac and H4K8ac signals at their target loci. While single RVX-208 treatment induces apoptosis and a single mTORC1/2 inhibitor induces macropinocytosis, their combined treatment led to necroptosis-mediated cell death. These data suggest that combined treatment with drugs targeting BRD4 and mTORC1/2 may be an effective therapeutic intervention for drug-resistant RMS.
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    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Srivastava RK; Guroji P; Jin L; Mukhtar MS; Athar M
  • Start Page

  • 737
  • End Page

  • 751
  • Volume

  • 61
  • Issue

  • 8