Enhanced antitumor activity of 3-bromopyruvate in combination with rapamycin in vivo and in vitro

Qi Zhang, Jing Pan, Ronald A. Lubet, Steven M. Komas, Balaraman Kalyanaraman, Yian Wang, Ming You

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


3-Bromopyruvate (3-BrPA) is an alkylating agent and a well-known inhibitor of energy metabolism. Rapamycin is an inhibitor of the serine/threonine protein kinase mTOR. Both 3-BrPA and rapamycin show chemopreventive efficacy in mouse models of lung cancer. Aerosol delivery of therapeutic drugs for lung cancer has been reported to be an effective route of delivery with little systemic distribution in humans. In this study, 3-BrPA and rapamycin were evaluated in combination for their preventive effects against lung cancer in mice by aerosol treatment, revealing a synergistic ability as measured by tumor multiplicity and tumor load compared treatment with either single-agent alone. No evidence of liver toxicity was detected by monitoring serum levels of alanine aminotransferase (ALT) and aspartate aminotransferase (AST) enzymes. To understand the mechanism in vitro experiments were performed using human non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) cell lines. 3-BrPA and rapamycin also synergistically inhibited cell proliferation. Rapamycin alone blocked the mTOR signaling pathway, whereas 3-BrPA did not potentiate this effect. Given the known role of 3-BrPA as an inhibitor of glycolysis, we investigated mitochondrial bioenergetics changes in vitro in 3-BrPA-treated NSCLC cells. 3-BrPA significantly decreased glycolytic activity, which may be due to adenosine triphosphate (ATP) depletion and decreased expression of GAPDH. Our results demonstrate that rapamycin enhanced the antitumor efficacy of 3-BrPA, and that dual inhibition of mTOR signaling and glycolysis may be an effective therapeutic strategy for lung cancer chemoprevention.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)318-326
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Prevention Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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