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MET activation mediates resistance to lapatinib inhibition of HER2-amplified gastric cancer cells.

Authors
  • Chen, Chin-Tung
  • Kim, Hyaehwan
  • Liska, David
  • Gao, Sizhi
  • Christensen, James G
  • Weiser, Martin R
Type
Published Article
Journal
Molecular Cancer Therapeutics
Publisher
American Association for Cancer Research
Publication Date
Mar 01, 2012
Volume
11
Issue
3
Pages
660–669
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-11-0754
PMID: 22238368
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

HER2 amplification is found in more than 15% of gastric cancers and is associated with poor clinical outcome. Lapatinib, a dual HER2 and epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor, has shown promising in vitro results in treating HER2(+) cancer cells. However, several studies have shown that activation of alternative receptor tyrosine kinases can mediate resistance to HER-targeted therapy. Here, we investigated whether activated MET can confer resistance to lapatinib inhibition of gastric cancer cells. A panel of gastric cancer cell lines was treated with lapatinib, and we observed that cell proliferation was reduced by 70% and that the degree of HER2 amplification corresponds to sensitivity to lapatinib. Immunoblotting analysis indicated that phosphorylation of HER2, EGFR, MET, AKT, and extracellular signal-regulated kinase was inhibited by lapatinib and presumably led to cell-cycle arrest as observed with flow cytometry. Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) activation of MET receptors rescued cells from lapatinib-induced growth inhibition by restimulating the downstream pathways and restoring normal cell-cycle progression. This rescue effect could be abrogated by inhibiting MET with PHA-665752 (a highly specific MET inhibitor) or downregulating MET expression with short interfering RNA. No synergy in growth inhibition was observed when cells were treated with a combination of lapatinib and PHA-665752. Repeat studies using insulin-like growth factor 1 and fibroblast growth factor 3 could not uniformly rescue the lapatinib-treated gastric cancer cells. In conclusion, HGF/MET-mediated resistance to lapatinib is a novel mechanism of resistance to HER2-targeted agents in gastric cancer cells. Development of inhibitors targeting multiple receptors or common downstream signaling proteins merits further investigation.

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