Imatinib revives the therapeutic potential of metformin on ewing sarcoma by attenuating tumor hypoxic response and inhibiting convergent signaling pathways

Xiang Nan, Jiang Wang, Hao Cheng, Zheng Yin, Jianting Sheng, Bensheng Qiu, Ching C Lau, Jason T Yustein, Hong Zhao, Stephen T C Wong

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Ewing sarcoma (EwS) is an aggressive pediatric tumor treated with intensive cytotoxic chemotherapies. Overall survival for metastatic or relapsed disease is only 20-30%. Metformin has long been an attractive therapeutic option for EwS, but hypoxia limits its efficacy. Through a systematic integration of drug combination screening, bioinformatics analyses, functional and in vivo studies, and correlation with clinical outcome, we identified another known drug, imatinib that could augment the in vivo anti-tumor capacity of metformin by attenuating tumor hypoxic response. This drug combination regimen widely suppressed multiple dominant mechanisms in EwS genesis, growth, and metastasis, including key EWS-FLI1 downstream targets that converge into the PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway. In addition, the combination significantly enhanced inhibition on tumor cell proliferation by standard EwS chemotherapy drugs, including cyclophosphamide and ifosfamide. This suggests a potential clinical benefit of the metformin/imatinib combination by allowing the reduction in dose intensity of standard chemotherapy without compromising survival outcome and represents a potential faster track application for EwS patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalCancer Letters
Early online dateOct 28 2019
DOIs
StatePublished - 2019

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