A new drug combination significantly reduces kidney tumor progression in kidney mouse model

Sitai Liang, Tiffanie Cuellar, Maciej Nowacki, Bijaya K. Nayak, Lily Dong, Boajie Li, Kumar Sharma, Samy L. Habib

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC) disease is associated with tumors in many organs, particularly angiomyolipoma (AML) in the kidneys. Loss or inactivation of TSC1/2 results in high levels of HIF-a activity and VEGF expression. mTOR inhibitor (rapamycin) and the AMPK activator 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide (AICA)-riboside (AICAR) are currently used separately to treat cancer patients. Here, we investigated the effect of a novel combination of rapamycin and AICAR on tumor progression. Our data show that treatment of AML human cells with drug combinations resulted in 5-7-fold increase in cell apoptosis compared to each drug alone. In addition, drug combinations resulted in 4-5-fold decrease in cell proliferation compared to each drug alone. We found that drug combinations abolished Akt and HIF activity in AML cells. The drug combinations resulted in decrease in cell invasion and cell immigration by 70% and 84%, respectively in AML cells. The combined drugs also significantly decreased the VEGF expression compare to each drug alone in AML cells. Drug combinations effectively abolished binding of HIF-2a to the putative Akt site in the nuclear extracts isolated from AML cells. Treatment TSC mice with drug combinations resulted in 75% decrease in tumor number and 88% decrease in tumor volume compared to control TSC mice. This is first evidence that drug combinations are effective in reducing size and number of kidney tumors without any toxic effect on kidney. These data will provide evidence for initiating a new clinical trial for treatment of TSC patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32900-32916
Number of pages17
Issue number68
StatePublished - Aug 31 2018


  • HIF2a
  • Kidney tumor
  • Rapamycin
  • TSC2

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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