Purpose: This study was designed to determine how aspirin influences the growth kinetics and characteristics of cultured colorectal cancer (CRC) cells that harbor a variety of different mutational backgrounds, including PIK3CA and KRAS activating mutations and the presence or absence of microsatellite instability. Experimental Design: CRC cell lines (HCT116, HCT116+Chr3/5, RKO, SW480, HCT15, CACO2, HT29, and SW48) were treated with pharmacologically relevant doses of aspirin (0.5-10 mM) and evaluated for proliferation and cell cycle distribution. These parameters were fitted to a mathematical model to quantify the effects and understand the mechanism(s) by which aspirin modifies growth in CRC cells. We also evaluated the effects of aspirin on key G0/G1 cell cycle genes that are regulated by PI3K-Akt pathway. Results: Aspirin decelerated growth rates and disrupted cell cycle dynamics more profoundly in faster growing CRC cell lines, which tended to be PIK3CA-mutants. Additionally, microarray analysis of 151 CRC cell lines identified important cell cycle regulatory genes downstream targets of PIK3, which were dysregulated by aspirin treatment cycle genes (PCNA and RB1, p<0.01). Conclusions: Our study demonstrated what clinical trials have only speculated, that PIK3CA-mutant CRCs are more sensitive to aspirin. Aspirin inhibited cell growth in all CRC cell lines regardless of mutational background, but the effects were exacerbated in cells with PIK3CA mutations. Mathematical modeling combined with bench science revealed that cells with PIK3CA mutations experience significant G0/G1 arrest and explains why patients with PIK3CA-mutant CRCs may benefit from aspirin use after diagnosis.
- Received June 29, 2016.
- Revision received January 19, 2017.
- Accepted January 23, 2017.
- Copyright ©2017, American Association for Cancer Research.