The phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) has been developed as a promising target for the treatment of many cancers, including hematological malignancies, such as lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma (MM). Recent clinical trials have demonstrated Idelalisib, a specific PI3Kdelta inhibitor, reached a total 57% of response rate in relapsed indolent lymphoma and 72% of overall complete rate in relapsed chronic lymphocytic leukemia. MM remains fatal as a cancer of plasma cells because of lack of efficient drugs. Therefore, we tried to find novel PI3K inhibitors for MM therapy. To this end, we performed a high throughput virtual screen against 800,000 small molecule compounds using PI3Kγ as the analytic model and identified C98, a function unknown compound, as a potent inhibitor of PI3Ks. The cell-free enzymatic studies showed that C98 inhibited all class I PI3Ks at nano- or low micromolar concentrations but had no effects on AKT or mTOR activity. Molecular docking analysis revealed that C98 interfered with the ATP-binding pockets of PI3Ks by forming H-bonds and arene-H interactions with specific amino residues through which C98 specifically inhibited PI3K/AKT/mTOR signaling pathway, but had no effects on other kinases and proteins including IGF-1R, ERK, p38, c-Src, and STAT3. PTEN is a key negative modulator of the PI3K signaling pathway, but KIF did not show any induction of PTEN, thus further demonstrating that KIF is a selective PI3K inhibitor. Inhibition of PI3K by C98 led to myeloma cell apoptosis as shown activated caspase cascade signaling. Furthermore, oral administration of C98 delayed tumor growth in two independent human myeloma xenograft models in nude mice but did not show overt toxicity. Pharmacokinetic analysis revealed that C98 can be found in MM tissues at an average concentration up to 622.6 ng/g, suggesting that C98 can penetrate into the tumor tissues where it exerts its anti-myeloma activity. It also suggests C98 has a reliable oral activity. Therefore, through a high throughput virtual screen we identified a novel PI3K inhibitor that is orally active against multiple myeloma with great potential for further development.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.

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