mTOR activation has been observed in rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS); however, mTOR complex (mTORC) 1 inhibition has had limited success thus far. mTOR activation alters the metabolic pathways, which is linked to survival and metastasis. These pathways have not been thoroughly analyzed in RMSs. We performed immunohistochemistry on 65 samples to analyze the expression of mTOR complexes (pmTOR, pS6, Rictor), and several metabolic enzymes (phosphofructokinase, lactate dehydrogenase-A, β-F1-ATPase, glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase, glutaminase). RICTOR amplification, as a potential mechanism of Rictor overexpression, was analyzed by FISH and digital droplet PCR. In total, 64% of the studied primary samples showed mTOR activity with an mTORC2 dominance (82%). Chemotherapy did not cause any relevant change in mTOR activity. Elevated mTOR activity was associated with a worse prognosis in relapsed cases. RICTOR amplification was not confirmed in any of the cases. Our findings suggest the importance of the Warburg effect and the pentose-phosphate pathway beside a glutamine demand in RMS cells. The expression pattern of the studied mTOR markers can explain the inefficacy of mTORC1 inhibitor therapy. Therefore, we suggest performing a detailed investigation of the mTOR profile before administering mTORC1 inhibitor therapy. Furthermore, our findings highlight that targeting the metabolic plasticity could be an alternative therapeutic approach.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research