Circumventing AKT-Associated Radioresistance in Oral Cancer by Novel Nanoparticle-Encapsulated Capivasertib

Liwei Lang, Tiffany Lam, Alex Chen, Caleb Jensen, Leslie Duncan, Feng Chong Kong, Zoya B. Kurago, Chloe Shay, Yong Teng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Development of radioresistance in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) remains a significant problem in cancer treatment, contributing to the lack of improvement in survival trends in recent decades. Effective strategies to overcome radioresistance are necessary to improve the therapeutic outcomes of radiotherapy in OSCC patients. METHODS: Cells and xenograft tumors were irradiated using the Small Animal Radiation Research Platform. AKT inhibitor capivasertib (AZD5363) was encapsulated into cathepsin B-responsible nanoparticles (NPs) for tumor-specific delivery. Cell viability was measured by alamarBlue, cell growth was determined by colony formation and 3D culture, and apoptosis was assessed by flow cytometry with the staining of Fluorescein isothiocyanate (FITC) Annexin V and PI. An orthotopic tongue tumor model was used to evaluate the in vivo therapeutic effects. The molecular changes induced by the treatments were assessed by Western blotting and immunohistochemistry. RESULTS: We show that upregulation of AKT signaling is the critical mechanism for radioresistance in OSCC cells, and AKT inactivation by a selective and potent AKT inhibitor capivasertib results in radiosensitivity. Moreover, relative to irradiation (IR) alone, IR combined with the delivery of capivasertib in association with tumor-seeking NPs greatly enhanced tumor cell repression in 3D cell cultures and OSCC tumor shrinkage in an orthotopic mouse model. CONCLUSIONS: These data indicate that capivasertib is a potent agent that sensitizes radioresistant OSCC cells to IR and is a promising strategy to overcome failure of radiotherapy in OSCC patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 25 2020


  • AKT/S6
  • OSCC
  • anticancer
  • capivasertib
  • nanoparticles
  • radioresistance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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