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Irreversible EGFR Inhibitor EKB-569 Targets Low-LET γ-Radiation-Triggered Rel Orchestration and Potentiates Cell Death in Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Department of Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery, University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, San Antonio, Texas, United States of America.
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.53). 12/2011; 6(12):e29705. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0029705
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT EKB-569 (Pelitinib), an irreversible EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor has shown potential therapeutic efficiency in solid tumors. However, cell-killing potential in combination with radiotherapy and its underlying molecular orchestration remain to be explored. The objective of this study was to determine the effect of EKB-569 on ionizing radiation (IR)-associated NFκB-dependent cell death. SCC-4 and SCC-9 cells exposed to IR (2Gy) with and without EKB-569 treatment were analyzed for transactivation of 88 NFκB pathway molecules, NFκB DNA-binding activity, translation of the NFκB downstream mediators, Birc1, 2 and 5, cell viability, metabolic activity and apoptosis. Selective targeting of IR-induced NFκB by EKB-569 and its influence on cell-fate were assessed by overexpressing (p50/p65) and silencing (ΔIκBα) NFκB. QPCR profiling after IR exposure revealed a significant induction of 74 NFκB signal transduction molecules. Of those, 72 were suppressed with EKB-569. EMSA revealed a dose dependent inhibition of NFκB by EKB-569. More importantly, EKB-569 inhibited IR-induced NFκB in a dose-dependent manner, and this inhibition was sustained up to at least 72 h. Immunoblotting revealed a significant suppression of IR-induced Birc1, 2 and 5 by EKB-569. We observed a dose-dependent inhibition of cell viability, metabolic activity and apoptosis with EKB-569. EKB-569 significantly enhanced IR-induced cell death and apoptosis. Blocking NFκB improved IR-induced cell death. Conversely, NFκB overexpression negates EKB-569 -induced cell-killing. Together, these pre-clinical data suggest that EKB-569 is a radiosensitizer of squamous cell carcinoma and may mechanistically involve selective targeting of IR-induced NFκB-dependent survival signaling. Further pre-clinical in-vivo studies are warranted.

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