[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a central regulator of tumor progression in human cancers. Cetuximab is an anti-EGFR antibody that has been approved for use in oncology. Previously we investigated mechanisms of resistance to cetuximab using a model derived from the non-small cell lung cancer line NCI-H226. We demonstrated that cetuximab-resistant clones (Ctx(R)) had increased nuclear localization of the EGFR. This process was mediated by Src family kinases (SFKs), and nuclear EGFR had a role in resistance to cetuximab. To better understand SFK-mediated nuclear translocation of EGFR, we investigated which SFK member(s) controlled this process as well as the EGFR tyrosine residues that are involved. Analyses of mRNA and protein expression indicated upregulation of the SFK members Yes (v-Yes-1 yamaguchi sarcoma viral oncogene) and Lyn (v-yes-1 Yamaguchi sarcoma viral-related oncogene homolog) in all Ctx(R) clones. Further, immunoprecipitation analysis revealed that EGFR interacts with Yes and Lyn in Ctx(R) clones, but not in cetuximab-sensitive (Ctx(S)) parental cells. Using RNAi interference, we found that knockdown of either Yes or Lyn led to loss of EGFR translocation to the nucleus. Conversely, overexpression of Yes or Lyn in low nuclear EGFR-expressing Ctx(S) parental cells led to increased nuclear EGFR. Chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) assays confirmed nuclear EGFR complexes associated with the promoter of the known EGFR target genes B-Myb and iNOS. Further, all Ctx(R) clones exhibited upregulation of B-Myb and iNOS at the mRNA and protein levels. siRNAs directed at Yes or Lyn led to decreased binding of EGFR complexes to the B-Myb and iNOS promoters based on ChIP analyses. SFKs have been shown to phosphorylate EGFR on tyrosines 845 and 1101 (Y845 and Y1101), and mutation of Y1101, but not Y845, impaired nuclear entry of the EGFR. Taken together, our findings demonstrate that Yes and Lyn phosphorylate EGFR at Y1101, which influences EGFR nuclear translocation in this model of cetuximab resistance.Oncogene advance online publication, 19 March 2012; doi:10.1038/onc.2012.90.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: KRAS mutation is a predictive biomarker for resistance to cetuximab (Erbitux) in metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). This study sought to determine if KRAS mutant CRC lines could be sensitized to cetuximab using dasatinib (BMS-354825, Sprycel), a potent, orally bioavailable inhibitor of several tyrosine kinases, including the Src family kinases (SFKs). We analyzed 16 CRC lines for: (1) KRAS mutation status, (2) dependence on mutant KRAS signaling and (3) expression level of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and SFKs. From these analyses, we selected three KRAS mutant (LS180, LoVo and HCT116) cell lines and two KRAS wild-type cell lines (SW48 and CaCo2). In vitro, using poly-D-lysine/laminin plates, KRAS mutant cell lines were resistant to cetuximab, whereas KRAS wild-type lines showed sensitivity to cetuximab. Treatment with cetuximab and dasatinib showed a greater antiproliferative effect on KRAS mutant lines when compared with either agent alone in vitro and in vivo. To investigate potential mechanisms for this antiproliferative response in the combinatorial therapy, we performed Human Phospho-Kinase Antibody Array analysis, measuring the relative phosphorylation levels of 39 intracellular proteins in untreated, cetuximab, dasatinib or the combinatorial treatment in the KRAS mutant lines LS180, LoVo and HCT116 cells. The results of this experiment showed a decrease in a broad spectrum of kinases centered on the β-catenin pathway, the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathway, AKT/mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) pathway and the family of signal transducers and activators of transcription (STATs) when compared with the untreated control or monotherapy treatments. Next, we analyzed tumor growth with cetuximab, dasatinib or their combination in vivo. KRAS mutant xenografts showed resistance to cetuximab therapy, whereas KRAS wild type demonstrated an antitumor response when treated with cetuximab. KRAS mutant tumors exhibited minimal response to dasatinib monotherapy. However, as in vitro, KRAS mutant lines exhibited a response to the combination of cetuximab and dasatinib. Combinatorial treatment of KRAS mutant xenografts resulted in decreased cell proliferation, as measured by Ki67, and higher rates of apoptosis, as measured by TUNEL (terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated dUTP nick end labeling). The data presented in this study indicate that dasatinib can sensitize KRAS mutant CRC tumors to cetuximab and may do so by altering the activity of several key signaling pathways. Furthermore, these results suggest that signaling via EGFR and SFKs may be necessary for cell proliferation and survival of KRAS mutant CRC tumors. These data strengthen the rationale for clinical trials combining cetuximab and dasatinib in the KRAS mutant CRC genetic setting.