Combined inhibition of p38 and Akt signaling pathways abrogates cyclosporine A-mediated pathogenesis of aggressive skin SCCs

Academic Article


  • Non-melanoma skin cancers (NMSCs) are the most common neoplasm in organ transplant recipients (OTRs). These cancers are more invasive and metastatic as compared to those developed in normal cohorts. Previously, we have shown that immunosuppressive drug, cyclosporine A (CsA) directly alters tumor phenotype of cutaneous squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs) by activating TGF-β and TAK1/TAB1 signaling pathways. Here, we identified novel molecular targets for the therapeutic intervention of these SCCs. We observed that combined blockade of Akt and p38 kinases-dependent signaling pathways in CsA-promoted human epidermoid carcinoma A431 xenograft tumors abrogated their growth by more than 90%. This diminution in tumor growth was accompanied by a significant decrease in proliferation and an increase in apoptosis. The residual tumors following the combined treatment with Akt inhibitor triciribine and p38 inhibitors SB-203580 showed significantly diminished expression of phosphorylated Akt and p38 and these tumors were less invasive and highly differentiated. Diminished tumor invasiveness was associated with the reduced epithelial-mesenchymal transition as ascertained by the enhanced E-cadherin and reduced vimentin and N-cadherin expression. Consistently, these tumors also manifested reduced MMP-2/9. The decreased p-Akt expression was accompanied by a significant reduction in p-mTOR. These data provide first important combinatorial pharmacological approach to block the pathogenesis of CsA-induced highly aggressive cutaneous neoplasm in OTRs. © 2012 Elsevier Inc.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Arumugam A; Walsh SB; Xu J; Afaq F; Elmets CA; Athar M
  • Start Page

  • 177
  • End Page

  • 181
  • Volume

  • 425
  • Issue

  • 2