ABSTRACT: The ErbB receptor family member ErbB3 has been implicated in breast cancer growth, but it has yet to be determined whether its disruption is therapeutically valuable. In a mouse model of mammary carcinoma driven by the polyomavirus middle T (PyVmT) oncogene, the ErbB2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib reduced the activation of ErbB3 and Akt as well as tumor cell growth. In this phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase (PI3K)-dependent tumor model, ErbB2 is part of a complex containing PyVmT, p85 (PI3K), and ErbB3, that is disrupted by treatment with lapatinib. Thus, full engagement of PI3K/Akt by ErbB2 in this oncogene-induced mouse tumor model may involve its ability to dimerize with and phosphorylate ErbB3, which itself directly binds PI3K. In this article, we report that ErbB3 is critical for PI3K/Akt-driven tumor formation triggered by the PyVmT oncogene. Tissue-specific, Cre-mediated deletion of ErbB3 reduced Akt phosphorylation, primary tumor growth, and pulmonary metastasis. Furthermore, EZN-3920, a chemically stabilized antisense oligonucleotide that targets the ErbB3 mRNA in vivo, produced similar effects while causing no toxicity in the mouse model. Our findings offer further preclinical evidence that ErbB3 ablation may be therapeutically effective in tumors where ErbB3 engages PI3K/Akt signaling.
Project description:Both erbB3 and IGF-1 receptor (IGF-1R) have been shown to play an important role in trastuzumab resistance. However, it remains unclear whether erbB3- and IGF-1R-initiated signaling pathways possess distinct effects on the sensitivity of lapatinib, a dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor against both EGFR and erbB2, in trastuzumab-resistant breast cancer. Here, we show that the trastuzumab-resistant SKBR3-pool2 and BT474-HR20 breast cancer sublines, as compared the parental SKBR3 and BT474 cells, respectively, exhibit refractoriness to lapatinib. Knockdown of erbB3 inhibited Akt in SKBR3-pool2 and BT474-HR20 cells, significantly increased lapatinib efficacy, and dramatically re-sensitized the cells to lapatinib-induced apoptosis. In contrast, specific knockdown of IGF-1R did not alter the cells' responsiveness to lapatinib. While the levels of phosphorylated Src (P-Src) were reduced upon IGF-1R downregulation, the P-Akt levels remained unchanged. Furthermore, a specific inhibitor of Akt, but not Src, significantly enhanced lapatinib-mediated anti-proliferative/anti-survival effects on SKBR3-pool2 and BT474-HR20 cells. These data indicate that erbB3 signaling is critical for both trastuzumab and lapatinib resistances mainly through the PI-3K/Akt pathway, whereas IGF-1R-initiated Src activation results in trastuzumab resistance without affecting lapatinib sensitivity. Our findings may facilitate the development of precision therapeutic regimens for erbB2-positive breast cancer patients who become resistant to erbB2-targeted therapy.
Project description:Therapeutics that target ERBB2, such as lapatinib, often provide initial clinical benefit, but resistance frequently develops. Adaptive responses leading to lapatinib resistance involve reprogramming of the kinome through reactivation of ERBB2/ERBB3 signaling and transcriptional upregulation and activation of multiple tyrosine kinases. The heterogeneity of induced kinases prevents their targeting by a single kinase inhibitor, underscoring the challenge of predicting effective kinase inhibitor combination therapies. We hypothesized that, to make the tumor response to single kinase inhibitors durable, the adaptive kinome response itself must be inhibited. Genetic and chemical inhibition of BET bromodomain chromatin readers suppresses transcription of many lapatinib-induced kinases involved in resistance, including ERBB3, IGF1R, DDR1, MET, and FGFRs, preventing downstream SRC/FAK signaling and AKT reactivation. Combining inhibitors of kinases and chromatin readers prevents kinome adaptation by blocking transcription, generating a durable response to lapatinib, and overcoming the dilemma of heterogeneity in the adaptive response.
Project description:The phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase (PI3K)/Akt survival pathway is often dysregulated in cancer. Our previous studies have shown that coexpression of activated Akt1 with activated ErbB2 or polyoma virus middle T antigen uncoupled from the PI3K pathway (PyVmT Y315/322F) accelerates mammary tumor development but cannot rescue the metastatic phenotype associated with these models. Here, we report the generation of transgenic mice expressing activated Akt2 in the mammary epithelium. Like the mouse mammary tumor virus-Akt1 strain, mammary-specific expression of Akt2 delayed mammary gland involution. However, in contrast to Akt1, coexpression of Akt2 with activated ErbB2 or PyVmT Y315/322F in the mammary glands of transgenic mice did not affect the latency of tumor development. Strikingly, Akt2 coexpresssion markedly increased the incidence of pulmonary metastases in both tumor models, demonstrating a unique role in tumor progression. Together, these observations argue that these highly conserved kinases have distinct biological and biochemical outputs that play opposing roles in mammary tumor induction and metastasis.
Project description:Melanoma remains one of the most aggressive and therapy-resistant cancers. Finding new treatments to improve patient outcomes is an ongoing effort. We previously demonstrated that melanoma relies on the activation of ERBB signaling, specifically of the ERBB3/ERBB2 cascade. Here we show that melanoma tumor growth is inhibited by 60% over controls when treated with lapatinib, a clinically approved inhibitor of ERBB2/EGFR. Importantly, tumor growth is further inhibited to 85% when the natural compound fucoidan from New Zealand U. pinnatifida is integrated into the treatment regimen. Fucoidan not only enhances tumor growth inhibition, it counteracts the morbidity associated with prolonged lapatinib treatment. Fucoidan doubles the cell killing capacity of lapatinib. These effects are associated with a further decrease in AKT and NF?B signaling, two key pathways involved in melanoma cell survival. Importantly, the enhancing cell killing effects of fucoidan can be recapitulated by inhibiting ERBB3 by either a specific shRNA or a novel, selective ERBB3 neutralizing antibody, reiterating the key roles played by this receptor in melanoma. We therefore propose the use of lapatinib or specific ERBB inhibitors, in combination with fucoidan as a new treatment of melanoma that potentiates the effects of the inhibitors while protecting from their potential side effects.
Project description:Compensatory mechanisms, such as relief of AKT-ErbB3-negative feedback, are known to desensitize ErbB2-dependent tumours to targeted therapy. Here we describe an adaptation mechanism leading to reactivation of the PI3K/AKT pathway during trastuzumab treatment, which occurs independently of ErbB3 re-phosphorylation. This signalling bypass of phospho-ErbB3 operates in ErbB2-overexpressing cells via RAS-PI3K crosstalk and is attributable to active ErbB2 homodimers. As demonstrated by dual blockade of ErbB2/RAS and ErbB3 by means of pharmacological inhibition, RNA interference or by specific protein binders obstructing the RAS-p110? interaction, both routes must be blocked to prevent reactivation of the PI3K/AKT pathway. Applying these general principles, we developed biparatopic designed ankyrin repeat proteins (DARPins) trapping ErbB2 in a dimerization-incompetent state, which entail pan-ErbB inhibition and a permanent OFF state in the oncogenic signalling, thereby triggering extensive apoptosis in ErbB2-addicted tumours. Thus, these novel insights into mechanisms underlying network robustness provide a guide for overcoming adaptation response to ErbB2/ErbB3-targeted therapy.
Project description:Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling is strongly implicated in glioblastoma (GBM) tumorigenesis. However, molecular agents targeting EGFR have demonstrated minimal efficacy in clinical trials, suggesting the existence of GBM resistance mechanisms. GBM cells with stem-like properties (CSCs) are highly efficient at tumor initiation and exhibit therapeutic resistance. In this study, GBMCSC lines showed sphere-forming and tumor initiation capacity after EGF withdrawal from cell culture media, compared with normal neural stem cells that rapidly perished after EGF withdrawal. Compensatory activation of related ERBB family receptors (ERBB2 and ERBB3) was observed in GBM CSCs deprived of EGFR signal (EGF deprivation or cetuximab inhibition), suggesting an intrinsic GBM resistance mechanism for EGFR-targeted therapy. Dual inhibition of EGFR and ERBB2 with lapatinib significantly reduced GBM proliferation in colony formation assays compared to cetuximab-mediated EGFR-specific inhibition. Phosphorylation of downstream ERBB signaling components (AKT, ERK1/2) and GBM CSC proliferation were inhibited by lapatinib. Collectively, these findings show that GBM therapeutic resistance to EGFR inhibitors may be explained by compensatory activation of EGFR-related family members (ERBB2, ERBB3) enabling GBM CSC proliferation, and therefore simultaneous blockade of multiple ERBB family members may be required for more efficacious GBM therapy.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The oncogenic receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) ERBB2 is known to dimerize with other EGFR family members, particularly ERBB3, through which it potently activates PI3K signalling. Antibody-mediated inhibition of this ERBB2/ERBB3/PI3K axis has been a cornerstone of treatment for ERBB2-amplified breast cancer patients for two decades. However, the lack of response and the rapid onset of relapse in many patients now question the assumption that the ERBB2/ERBB3 heterodimer is the sole relevant effector target of these therapies. METHODS:Through a systematic protein-protein interaction screen, we have identified and validated alternative RTKs that interact with ERBB2. Using quantitative readouts of signalling pathway activation and cell proliferation, we have examined their influence upon the mechanism of trastuzumab- and pertuzumab-mediated inhibition of cell growth in ERBB2-amplified breast cancer cell lines and a patient-derived xenograft model. RESULTS:We now demonstrate that inactivation of ERBB3/PI3K by these therapeutic antibodies is insufficient to inhibit the growth of ERBB2-amplified breast cancer cells. Instead, we show extensive promiscuity between ERBB2 and an array of RTKs from outside of the EGFR family. Paradoxically, pertuzumab also acts as an artificial ligand to promote ERBB2 activation and ERK signalling, through allosteric activation by a subset of these non-canonical RTKs. However, this unexpected activation mechanism also increases the sensitivity of the receptor network to the ERBB2 kinase inhibitor lapatinib, which in combination with pertuzumab, displays a synergistic effect in single-agent resistant cell lines and PDX models. CONCLUSIONS:The interaction of ERBB2 with a number of non-canonical RTKs activates a compensatory signalling response following treatment with pertuzumab, although a counter-intuitive combination of ERBB2 antibody therapy and a kinase inhibitor can overcome this innate therapeutic resistance.
Project description:Although ErbB receptors have been implicated in prostate cancer progression, ErbB-directed drugs have not proven effective for prostate cancer treatment. The ErbB3-binding protein EBP1 affects both ErbB2 and androgen receptor signaling, two components of the response to ErbB-targeted therapies. We therefore examined the effects of EBP1 expression on the response to the ErbB1/2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib. We found a negative correlation between endogenous EBP1 levels and lapatinib sensitivity in prostate cancer cell lines. We then overexpressed or inhibited expression of EBP1. Silencing EBP1 expression increased lapatinib sensitivity and overexpression of EBP1 increased resistance in androgen-containing media. Androgen depletion resulted in an increased sensitivity of androgen-dependent EBP1 expressing cells to lapatinib, but did not affect the lapatinib sensitivity of hormone resistant cells. However, EBP1 silenced cells were still more sensitive to lapatinib than EBP1-expressing cells in the absence of androgens. The increase in sensitivity to lapatinib following EBP1 silencing was associated with increased ErbB2 levels. In addition, lapatinib treatment increased ErbB2 levels in sensitive cells that express low levels of EBP1, but decreased ErbB2 levels in resistant EBP1-expressing cells. In contrast, ErbB3 and phospho ErbB3 levels were not affected by either changes in EBP1 levels or lapatinib treatment. The production of the ErbB3/4 ligand heregulin was increased in EBP1-silenced cells. EBP1-induced changes in AR levels were not associated with changes in lapatinib sensitivity. These studies suggest that the ability of EBP1 to activate ErbB2 signaling pathways results in increased lapatinib sensitivity.
Project description:Personalized medicine for cancer patients requires a deep understanding of the underlying genetics that drive cancer and the subsequent identification of predictive biomarkers. To discover new genes and pathways contributing to oncogenesis and therapy resistance in HER2+ breast cancer, we performed Mouse Mammary Tumor Virus (MMTV)-induced insertional mutagenesis screens in ErbB2/cNeu-transgenic mouse models. The screens revealed 34 common integration sites (CIS) in mammary tumors of MMTV-infected mice, highlighting loci with multiple independent MMTV integrations in which potential oncogenes are activated, most of which had never been reported as MMTV CIS. The CIS most strongly associated with the ErbB2-transgenic genotype was the locus containing Eras (ES cell-expressed Ras), a constitutively active RAS-family GTPase. We show that upon expression, Eras acts as a potent oncogenic driver through hyperactivation of the PI3K/AKT pathway, in contrast to other RAS proteins that signal primarily via the MAPK/ERK pathway and require upstream activation or activating mutations to induce signaling. We additionally show that ERAS synergistically enhances HER2-induced tumorigenesis and, in this role, can functionally replace ERBB3/HER3 by acting as a more powerful activator of PI3K/AKT signaling. Although previously reported as pseudogene in humans, we observed ERAS RNA and protein expression in a substantial subset of human primary breast carcinomas. Importantly, we show that ERAS induces primary resistance to the widely used HER2-targeting drugs Trastuzumab (Herceptin) and Lapatinib (Tykerb/Tyverb) in vivo, and is involved in acquired resistance via selective upregulation during treatment in vitro, indicating that ERAS may serve as a novel clinical biomarker for PI3K/AKT pathway hyperactivation and HER2-targeted therapy resistance.