Triple-negative breast cancer [TNBC, lacks expression of estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) and amplification of HER2/Neu] remains one of the most aggressive subtypes, affects the youngest patients and still lacks an effective targeted therapy(1,2). Both phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K)-α and -β contribute to oncogenesis of solid tumors, including the development of breast cancer(3). Inositol polyphosphate-4-phosphatase type II (INPP4B) catalyzes the removal of the 4'-phosphate of phosphatidylinositol-(3,4-bisphosphate (PI-3,4-P2) creating phosphatidylinositol-3-phosphate(4). There is debate concerning whether PI-3,4-P2 contributes to Akt and downstream effector activation with the known canonical signaling second messenger, phosphatidylinositol-(3,4,5)-trisphosphate (PIP3) (5-7). If PI-3,4-P2 is a positive effector, INPP4B would be a negative regulator of PI3K signaling and there is some evidence to support this(4,8). Utilizing phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome ten (PTEN)-null triple-negative breast tumor cell lines, it was unexpectedly found that silencing INPP4B decreased basal phospho-Akt (pAkt) and cellular proliferation, and in most cases sensitized cells to PI3K-α and -β isoform-specific inhibitors. Conversely, overexpression of INPP4B desensitized cells to PI3K inhibitors in a phosphatase activity-dependent manner. In summary, the current investigation of INPP4B in PTEN-null TNBC suggests new mechanistic insight and the potential for targeted therapy for this aggressive subset of breast cancer. Implications: These data support a model where PI-3,4-P2 is inhibitory toward PI3K, revealing a novel feedback mechanism under conditions of excessive signaling, and potentially an indication for PI3K-β isoform-specific inhibitors in PTEN-null TNBC that have lost INPP4B expression.
- Received May 30, 2016.
- Revision received December 26, 2016.
- Accepted January 17, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.