• Open Access

Synergistic antiproliferative effect of mTOR inhibitors in combination with 5-fluorouracil in scirrhous gastric cancer


To whom all correspondence should be addressed.
E-mail: m9312510@med.osaka-cu.ac.jp


The aim of this study is to clarify the benefit of combination chemotherapy in gastric cancer based on a cell-signal inhibitor and an anticancer drug. Two scirrhous gastric cancer cell lines and two non-scirrhous gastric cancer cell lines were used. Five anticancer drugs (5-fluorouracil [5FU], paclitaxel, oxaliplatin, irinotecan, and gemcitabine) and four cell-signal inhibitors, mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) inhibitor, glycogen synthase kinase 3β, p38αβMAPK, and cyclin-dependent kinase, were used. The proliferation of cancer cells was examined by MTT assay and in vivo study. The apoptosis of cancer cells and the expression of apoptosis-related molecules were examined by flow cytometry, real-time PCR, and immunostaining. mTOR inhibitors with 5FU showed a synergistic antiproliferative effect in scirrhous gastric cancer, whereas the other signal inhibitors showed no synergistic effect with any anticancer drugs. mTOR inhibitor decreased the IC50 of 5FU and increased the apoptosis rate in scirrhous gastric cancer cells, but not in non-scirrhous gastric cancer cells. The pan-caspase inhibitor, zVAD-fmk, inhibits apoptosis induced in combination with 5FU and mTOR inhibitor. mTOR inhibitor decreased dihydropyrimidine dehydrogenase, thymidylatesynthase, and bcl-2expression, and increased caspase-3 and p21 expression of scirrhous gastric cancer cells, but did not affect those of non-scirrhous gastric cancer cells. In an in vivo study, mTOR inhibitor significantly enhanced the therapeutic efficacy of S1, an analog of 5FU. These findings suggest that mTOR inhibitor interacts with 5FU in a synergistic manner in scirrhous gastric cancer cells by the activation of the apoptosis signal. Therefore, mTOR inhibitor is a promising therapeutic agent in combination with 5FU in scirrhous gastric cancer. (Cancer Sci 2009; 100: 2402–2410)