PURPOSEInhibitors of TORC1 have been shown to be active in patients with metastatic renal cell carcinoma (RCC). As the phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K) pathway activates numerous other kinases, transcription factors, and proteins associated with cell growth and survival besides mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR), disruption of this pathway upstream of mTOR may be more effective than inhibition of TORC1 alone.EXPERIMENTAL DESIGNTo investigate this possibility, the dual PI3K/mTOR inhibitor NVP-BEZ235 was compared with rapamycin in RCC cell lines and xenografts generated from 786-O and A498 cells.RESULTSTreatment of RCC cell lines with NVP-BEZ235 in vitro resulted in the nuclear translocation of p27, greater reduction in tumor cell proliferation, and more complete suppression of Akt, Mnk-1, eIF4E, and 4EBP-1 phosphorylation and cyclin D1 and hypoxia-inducible factor 2alpha (HIF2alpha) expression than that achieved with rapamycin. The reduction of HIF2alpha levels correlated with reduced HIF activity as determined by luciferase assay. NVP-BEZ235 induced growth arrest in both the 786-O and A498 xenografts that was associated with inhibition of Akt and S6 phosphorylation as well as the induction of apoptosis and reduction in markers of tumor cell proliferation. In contrast, rapamycin induced only minimal growth retardation.CONCLUSIONDual inhibition of PI3K/mTOR with NVP-BEZ235 induced growth arrest in RCC cell lines both in vitro and in vivo more effectively than inhibition of TORC1 alone. These results provide the rationale for the clinical assessment of agents such as NVP-BEZ235 in patients with advanced RCC.