[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most aggressive of the astrocytic malignancies and the most common intracranial tumor in adults. Although the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed and/or mutated in at least 50% of GBM cases and is required for tumor maintenance in animal models, EGFR inhibitors have thus far failed to deliver significant responses in GBM patients. One inherent resistance mechanism in GBM is the coactivation of multiple receptor tyrosine kinases, which generates redundancy in activation of phosphoinositide-3'-kinase (PI3K) signaling. Here we demonstrate that the phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10 (PTEN) tumor suppressor is frequently phosphorylated at a conserved tyrosine residue, Y240, in GBM clinical samples. Phosphorylation of Y240 is associated with shortened overall survival and resistance to EGFR inhibitor therapy in GBM patients and plays an active role in mediating resistance to EGFR inhibition in vitro. Y240 phosphorylation can be mediated by both fibroblast growth factor receptors and SRC family kinases (SFKs) but does not affect the ability of PTEN to antagonize PI3K signaling. These findings show that, in addition to genetic loss and mutation of PTEN, its modulation by tyrosine phosphorylation has important implications for the development and treatment of GBM.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 08/2012; 109(35):14164-9. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in glioblastoma (GBM) occurs through mutations or deletions in the extracellular (EC) domain. Unlike lung cancers with EGFR kinase domain (KD) mutations, GBMs respond poorly to the EGFR inhibitor erlotinib. Using RNAi, we show that GBM cells carrying EGFR EC mutations display EGFR addiction. In contrast to KD mutants found in lung cancer, glioma-specific EGFR EC mutants are poorly inhibited by EGFR inhibitors that target the active kinase conformation (e.g., erlotinib). Inhibitors that bind to the inactive EGFR conformation, however, potently inhibit EGFR EC mutants and induce cell death in EGFR-mutant GBM cells. Our results provide first evidence for single kinase addiction in GBM and suggest that the disappointing clinical activity of first-generation EGFR inhibitors in GBM versus lung cancer may be attributed to the different conformational requirements of mutant EGFR in these 2 cancer types. SIGNIFICANCE: Approximately 40% of human glioblastomas harbor oncogenic EGFR alterations, but attempts to therapeutically target EGFR with first-generation EGFR kinase inhibitors have failed. Here, we demonstrate selective sensitivity of glioma-specific EGFR mutants to ATP-site competitive EGFR kinase inhibitors that target the inactive conformation of the catalytic domain.
Cancer Discovery 05/2012; 2(5):458-71. · 10.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma (GBM) is the most common malignant primary brain tumor of adults and one of the most lethal of all cancers. Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations (EGFRvIII) and phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) hyperactivation are common in GBM, promoting tumor growth and survival, including through sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP-1)-dependent lipogenesis. The role of cholesterol metabolism in GBM pathogenesis, its association with EGFR/PI3K signaling, and its potential therapeutic targetability are unknown. In our investigation, studies of GBM cell lines, xenograft models, and GBM clinical samples, including those from patients treated with the EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib, uncovered an EGFRvIII-activated, PI3K/SREBP-1-dependent tumor survival pathway through the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR). Targeting LDLR with the liver X receptor (LXR) agonist GW3965 caused inducible degrader of LDLR (IDOL)-mediated LDLR degradation and increased expression of the ABCA1 cholesterol efflux transporter, potently promoting tumor cell death in an in vivo GBM model. These results show that EGFRvIII can promote tumor survival through PI3K/SREBP-1-dependent upregulation of LDLR and suggest a role for LXR agonists in the treatment of GBM patients.
Cancer Discovery 09/2011; 1(5):442-56. · 10.14 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) is a tumor suppressor that is inactivated in many human cancers. PTEN loss has been associated with resistance to inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), but the molecular basis of this resistance is unclear. It is believed that unopposed phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) activation through multiple receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) can relieve PTEN-deficient cancers from their "dependence" on EGFR or any other single RTK for survival. Here we report a distinct resistance mechanism whereby PTEN inactivation specifically raises EGFR activity by impairing the ligand-induced ubiquitylation and degradation of the activated receptor through destabilization of newly formed ubiquitin ligase Cbl complexes. PTEN-associated resistance to EGFR kinase inhibitors is phenocopied by expression of dominant negative Cbl and can be overcome by more complete EGFR kinase inhibition. PTEN inactivation does not confer resistance to inhibitors of the MET or PDGFRA kinase. Our study identifies a critical role for PTEN in EGFR signal termination and suggests that more potent EGFR inhibition should overcome resistance caused by PI3K pathway activation.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 03/2010; 107(14):6459-64. · 9.74 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma, the most common malignant brain tumor, is among the most lethal and difficult cancers to treat. Although epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations are frequent in glioblastoma, their clinical relevance is poorly understood. Studies of tumors from patients treated with the EGFR inhibitor lapatinib revealed that EGFR induces the cleavage and nuclear translocation of the master transcriptional regulator of fatty acid synthesis, sterol regulatory element-binding protein 1 (SREBP-1). This response was mediated by Akt; however, clinical data from rapamycin-treated patients showed that SREBP-1 activation was independent of the mammalian target of rapamycin complex 1, possibly explaining rapamycin's poor efficacy in the treatment of such tumors. Glioblastomas without constitutively active EGFR signaling were resistant to inhibition of fatty acid synthesis, whereas introduction of a constitutively active mutant form of EGFR, EGFRvIII, sensitized tumor xenografts in mice to cell death, which was augmented by the hydroxymethylglutaryl coenzyme A reductase inhibitor atorvastatin. These results identify a previously undescribed EGFR-mediated prosurvival metabolic pathway and suggest new therapeutic approaches to treating EGFR-activated glioblastomas.