Antitumor Activity of Nanoparticles Loaded with PHT-427, a Novel AKT/PDK1 Inhibitor, for the Treatment of Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Currently, new treatments are required to supplement the current standard of care for head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). The phosphatidylinositol3-kinase (PI3K) signaling pathway is commonly altered and activated in HNSCC. PHT-427 is a dual PI3K-mammalian target of the AKT/PDK1 inhibitor; however, to the best of our knowledge, the effect of the PHT-427 inhibitor on HNSCC has not been investigated. This study aims to evaluate the antitumoral effect of PHT-427-loaded polymeric nanoparticles based on α-tocopheryl succinate (α-TOS). The in vitro activity of PHT-427 was tested in hypopharynx carcinoma squamous cells (FaDu) to measure the cell viability, PI3KCA/AKT/PDK1 gene expression, and PI3KCA/AKT/PDK1 levels. Apoptosis, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), and reactive oxygen species (ROS) were also measured. The presence of PHT-427 significantly enhances its antiproliferative and proapoptotic activity by inactivating the PI3K/AKT/PDK1 pathway. Nanoparticles (NPs) effectively suppress AKT/PDK1 expression. Additionally, NPs loaded with PHT-427 produce high oxidative stress levels that induce apoptosis. In conclusion, these results are promising in the use of this nanoformulation as a PHT-427 delivery system for effective HNSCC treatment.

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