BRAF(V600E) mutation is associated with preferential sensitivity to mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase inhibition in thyroid cancer cell lines

Department of Medicine and Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021, USA.
Journal of Clinical Endocrinology &amp Metabolism (Impact Factor: 6.31). 07/2008; 93(6):2194-201. DOI: 10.1210/jc.2007-2825
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mutually exclusive mutations of RET, RAS, or BRAF are present in about 70% of papillary thyroid carcinomas, whereas only the latter two are seen in poorly differentiated and anaplastic cancers. Although the signal output common to these oncoproteins is ERK, a recent report showed that only BRAF mutations consistently predicted responsiveness to MAPK kinase (MEK) inhibitors.
Here we investigated whether sensitivity to MEK inhibition was determined by oncogene status in 13 human thyroid cancer cell lines: four with BRAF mutations, four RAS, one RET/PTC1, and four wild type.
Growth of BRAF (+) cells was inhibited by the MEK antagonist PD0325901 with an IC(50) of less than 5 nm. By contrast, RAS, RET/PTC1, or wild-type cells had IC(50) of 4 nm to greater than 1000 nm. Sensitivity was not predicted by coexisting mutations in PIK3CA or by PTEN status. Similar effects were obtained with the MEK inhibitor AZD6244. PD0325901 induced a sustained G1/S arrest in BRAF (+) but not BRAF (-) lines. PD0325901 was equipotent at inhibiting pERK1/2 after 2 h, regardless of genetic background, but pERK rebounded at 24 h in most lines. MEK inhibitor resistance was associated with partial refractoriness of pERK to further inhibition by the compounds. AZD6244 was more potent at inhibiting growth of NPA (BRAF +) than Cal62 (KRAS +) xenografts.
Thyroid cancers with BRAF mutation are preferentially sensitive to MEK inhibitors, whereas tumors with other MEK-ERK effector pathway gene mutations have variable responses, either because they are only partially dependent on ERK and/or because feedback responses elicit partial refractoriness to MEK inhibition.

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