Molecular characterization of EGFR and EGFRvIII signaling networks in human glioblastoma tumor xenografts.
ABSTRACT: Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is a malignant primary brain tumor with a mean survival of 15 months with the current standard of care. Genetic profiling efforts have identified the amplification, overexpression, and mutation of the wild-type (wt) epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase (EGFR) in ? 50% of GBM patients. The genetic aberration of wtEGFR is frequently accompanied by the overexpression of a mutant EGFR known as EGFR variant III (EGFRvIII, de2-7EGFR, ?EGFR), which is expressed in 30% of GBM tumors. The molecular mechanisms of tumorigenesis driven by EGFRvIII overexpression in human tumors have not been fully elucidated. To identify specific therapeutic targets for EGFRvIII driven tumors, it is important to gather a broad understanding of EGFRvIII specific signaling. Here, we have characterized signaling through the quantitative analysis of protein expression and tyrosine phosphorylation across a panel of glioblastoma tumor xenografts established from patient surgical specimens expressing wtEGFR or overexpressing wtEGFR (wtEGFR+) or EGFRvIII (EGFRvIII+). S100A10 (p11), major vault protein, guanylate-binding protein 1(GBP1), and carbonic anhydrase III (CAIII) were identified to have significantly increased expression in EGFRvIII expressing xenograft tumors relative to wtEGFR xenograft tumors. Increased expression of these four individual proteins was found to be correlated with poor survival in patients with GBM; the combination of these four proteins represents a prognostic signature for poor survival in gliomas. Integration of protein expression and phosphorylation data has uncovered significant heterogeneity among the various tumors and has highlighted several novel pathways, related to EGFR trafficking, activated in glioblastoma. The pathways and proteins identified in these tumor xenografts represent potential therapeutic targets for this disease.
Project description:Monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and tyrosine kinase inhibitors targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), which is often pathogenetically overexpressed or mutated in epithelial malignancies and glioma, have been modestly successful, with some approved for human use. MAb 806 was raised against de2-7EGFR (or EGFRvIII), a constitutively active mutation expressed in gliomas, but also recognizes a subset (<10%) of wild-type (wt) EGFR when it is activated by autocrine loop, overexpression or mutation. It does not bind inactive EGFR in normal tissues like liver. Glioma xenografts expressing the de2-7EGFR treated with mAb 806 show reduced receptor autophosphorylation, increased p27(KIP1) and reduced cell proliferation. Xenografts expressing the wtEGFR activated by overexpression or autocrine ligand are also inhibited by mAb 806, but the mechanism of inhibition has been difficult to elucidate, especially because mAb 806 does not prevent wtEGFR phosphorylation or downstream signalling in vitro. Thus, we examined the effects of mAb 806 on A431 xenograft angiogenesis. MAb 806 increases vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) and interleukin-8 production by activating NF-kappaB and normalizes tumour vasculature. Pharmacological inhibition of NF-kappaB completely abrogated mAb 806 activity, demonstrating that NF-kappaB activation is necessary for its anti-tumour function in xenografts. Given the increase in VEGF, we combined mAb 806 with bevacizumab in vivo, resulting in additive activity.
Project description:A mutant form of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), EGFRvIII, is common in glioblastoma (GBM) and confers enhanced tumorigenic activity and drug resistance. Nimotuzumab, an anti-EGFR antibody, has shown preclinical and clinical activity to GBM, but its specific activity against EGFRvIII has not been fully investigated. Human glioma U87MG or LNZ308 cells overexpressing either wild-type (wt) EGFR or EGFRvIII were treated with nimotuzumab, temozolomide, or both. Expression and phosphorylation status of molecules were determined by Western blot analysis. Methylation status of promoter region of O(6) -methylguanine-DNA methyltransferase (MGMT) was detected by methylation-specific PCR. Antitumor activity was tested using nude mice bearing either subcutaneous or intracerebral xenografts along with analyses of EGFR phosphorylation status, proliferation, apoptosis, and vessel density. Nimotuzumab treatment resulted in reduction of EGFRvIII tyrosine phosphorylation with a decrease in Akt phosphorylation that was greater than that of wtEGFR. Correspondingly, antitumor effects, growth suppression and survival elongation, were more significant in mice bearing either subcutaneous or intracerebral tumor expressing EGFRvIII than in those expressing wtEGFR. These effects were markedly increased when temozolomide was combined with nimotuzumab. The post-treatment recurrent brain tumors exhibited a decrease in expression of the mismatch repair (MMR) proteins, MSH6 and MLH1, but their methylated MGMT status did not changed. Nimotuzumab has in vivo antitumor activity against GBM, especially those expressing EGFRvIII, when combined with temozolomide. This could provide a basis for preselection of patients with GBM by EGFR status who might benefit from the nimotuzumab and temozolomide combination therapy.
Project description:Glioblastoma, the most common primary malignant cancer of the brain, is characterized by rapid tumor growth and infiltration of tumor cells throughout the brain. These traits cause glioblastomas to be highly resistant to current therapies with a resultant poor prognosis. Although aberrant oncogenic signaling driven by signature genetic alterations, such as EGF receptor (EGFR) gene amplification and mutation, plays a major role in glioblastoma pathogenesis, the responsible downstream mechanisms remain less clear. Here, we report that EGFRvIII (also known as ?EGFR and de2-7EGFR), a constitutively active EGFR mutant that is frequently co-overexpressed with EGFR in human glioblastoma, promotes tumorigenesis through Src family kinase (SFK)-dependent phosphorylation of Dock180, a guanine nucleotide exchange factor for Rac1. EGFRvIII induces phosphorylation of Dock180 at tyrosine residue 722 (Dock180(Y722)) and stimulates Rac1-signaling, glioblastoma cell survival and migration. Consistent with this being causal, siRNA knockdown of Dock180 or expression of a Dock180(Y722F) mutant inhibits each of these EGFRvIII-stimulated activities. The SFKs, Src, Fyn, and Lyn, induce phosphorylation of Dock180(Y722) and inhibition of these SFKs by pharmacological inhibitors or shRNA depletion markedly attenuates EGFRvIII-induced phosphorylation of Dock180(Y722), Rac1 activity, and glioblastoma cell migration. Finally, phosphorylated Dock180(Y722) is coexpressed with EGFRvIII and phosphorylated Src(Y418) in clinical specimens, and such coexpression correlates with an extremely poor survival in glioblastoma patients. These results suggest that targeting the SFK-p-Dock180(Y722)-Rac1 signaling pathway may offer a novel therapeutic strategy for glioblastomas with EGFRvIII overexpression.
Project description:A common mutation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an extracellular truncation known as the de2-7 EGFR (or EGFRvIII). Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is the ligand for the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) c-Met, and this signaling axis is often active in GBM. The expression of the HGF/c-Met axis or de2-7 EGFR independently enhances GBM growth and invasiveness, particularly through the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase/pAkt pathway. Using RTK arrays, we show that expression of de2-7 EGFR in U87MG GBM cells leads to the coactivation of several RTKs, including platelet-derived growth factor receptor beta and c-Met. A neutralizing antibody to HGF (AMG102) did not inhibit de2-7 EGFR-mediated activation of c-Met, demonstrating that it is ligand-independent. Therapy for parental U87MG xenografts with AMG 102 resulted in significant inhibition of tumor growth, whereas U87MG.Delta 2-7 xenografts were profoundly resistant. Treatment of U87MG.Delta 2-7 xenografts with panitumumab, an anti-EGFR antibody, only partially inhibited tumor growth as xenografts rapidly reverted to the HGF/c-Met signaling pathway. Cotreatment with panitumumab and AMG 102 prevented this escape leading to significant tumor inhibition through an apoptotic mechanism, consistent with the induction of oncogenic shock. This observation provides a rationale for using panitumumab and AMG 102 in combination for the treatment of GBM patients. These results illustrate that GBM cells can rapidly change the RTK driving their oncogene addiction if the alternate RTK signals through the same downstream pathway. Consequently, inhibition of a dominant oncogene by targeted therapy can alter the hierarchy of RTKs resulting in rapid therapeutic resistance.
Project description:The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is overexpressed or mutated in glioma. Recently, a series of missense mutations in the extracellular domain (ECD) of EGFR were reported in glioma patients. Some of these mutations clustered within a cysteine-rich region of the EGFR targeted by the therapeutic antibody mAb806. This region is only exposed when EGFR activates and appears to locally misfold during activation. We expressed two of these mutations (R324L and E330K) in NR6 mouse fibroblasts, as they do not express any EGFR-related receptors. Both mutants were autophosphorylated in the absence of ligand and enhanced cell survival and anchorage-independent and xenograft growth. The ECD truncation that produces the de2-7EGFR (or EGFRvIII), the most common EGFR mutation in glioma, generates a free cysteine in this same region. Using a technique optimized for detecting disulfide-bonded dimers, we definitively demonstrated that the de2-7EGFR is robustly dimerized and that ablation of the free cysteine prevents dimerization and activation. Modeling of the R324L mutation suggests it may cause transient breaking of disulfide bonds, leading to similar disulfide-bonded dimers as seen for the de2-7EGFR. These ECD mutations confirm that the cysteine-rich region of EGFR around the mAb806 epitope has a significant role in receptor activation.
Project description:Background:RNAs within extracellular vesicles (EVs) have potential as diagnostic biomarkers for patients with cancer and are identified in a variety of biofluids. Glioblastomas (GBMs) release EVs containing RNA into cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Here we describe a multi-institutional study of RNA extracted from CSF-derived EVs of GBM patients to detect the presence of tumor-associated amplifications and mutations in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Methods:CSF and matching tumor tissue were obtained from patients undergoing resection of GBMs. We determined wild-type (wt)EGFR DNA copy number amplification, as well as wtEGFR and EGFR variant (v)III RNA expression in tumor samples. We also characterized wtEGFR and EGFRvIII RNA expression in CSF-derived EVs. Results:EGFRvIII-positive tumors had significantly greater wtEGFR DNA amplification (P = 0.02) and RNA expression (P = 0.03), and EGFRvIII-positive CSF-derived EVs had significantly more wtEGFR RNA expression (P = 0.004). EGFRvIII was detected in CSF-derived EVs for 14 of the 23 EGFRvIII tissue-positive GBM patients. Conversely, only one of the 48 EGFRvIII tissue-negative patients had the EGFRvIII mutation detected in their CSF-derived EVs. These results yield a sensitivity of 61% and a specificity of 98% for the utility of CSF-derived EVs to detect an EGFRvIII-positive GBM. Conclusion:Our results demonstrate CSF-derived EVs contain RNA signatures reflective of the underlying molecular genetic status of GBMs in terms of wtEGFR expression and EGFRvIII status. The high specificity of the CSF-derived EV diagnostic test gives us an accurate determination of positive EGFRvIII tumor status and is essentially a less invasive "liquid biopsy" that might direct mutation-specific therapies for GBMs.
Project description:Sustaining a high growth rate requires tumors to exploit resources in their microenvironment. One example of this is the extensive angiogenesis that is a typical feature of high-grade gliomas. Here, we show that expression of the constitutively active mutant epidermal growth factor receptor, ?EGFR (EGFRvIII, EGFR*, de2-7EGFR) is associated with significantly higher expression levels of the pro-angiogenic factor interleukin (IL)-8 in human glioma specimens and glioma stem cells. Furthermore, the ectopic expression of ?EGFR in different glioma cell lines caused up to 60-fold increases in the secretion of IL-8. Xenografts of these cells exhibit increased neovascularization, which is not elicited by cells overexpressing wild-type (wt)EGFR or ?EGFR with an additional kinase domain mutation. Analysis of the regulation of IL-8 by site-directed mutagenesis of its promoter showed that ?EGFR regulates its expression through the transcription factors nuclear factor (NF)-?B, activator protein 1 (AP-1) and CCAAT/enhancer binding protein (C/EBP). Glioma cells overexpressing ?EGFR showed constitutive activation and DNA binding of NF-?B, overexpression of c-Jun and activation of its upstream kinase c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) and overexpression of C/EBP?. Selective pharmacological or genetic targeting of the NF-?B or AP-1 pathways efficiently blocked promoter activity and secretion of IL-8. Moreover, RNA interference-mediated knock-down of either IL-8 or the NF-?B subunit p65, in ?EGFR-expressing cells attenuated their ability to form tumors and to induce angiogenesis when injected subcutaneously into nude mice. On the contrary, the overexpression of IL-8 in glioma cells lacking ?EGFR potently enhanced their tumorigenicity and produced highly vascularized tumors, suggesting the importance of this cytokine and its transcription regulators in promoting glioma angiogenesis and tumor growth.
Project description:A truncated and constitutively active form of the EGF receptor, variant III (EGFRvIII), is a major determinant of tumor growth and progression in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM). Extensive bidirectional crosstalk occurs in the cell-signaling pathways downstream of the EGFR and the urokinase-type plasminogen activator receptor (uPAR); however, crosstalk between EGFRvIII and uPAR has not been examined. Here, we show that uPAR does not regulate ERK activation in EGFRvIII-expressing GBM cells; however, in GBM cells isolated from four separate xenografts in which EGFRvIII expression was down-regulated in vivo, uPAR assumed a major role in sustaining ERK activation. Phosphorylation of Tyr-845 in the EGFR, which is mediated by Src family kinases, depended on uPAR in EGFRvIII-expressing GBM cells. Activation of the mitogenic and prosurvival transcription factor, STAT5b, downstream of EGFRvIII, also required uPAR. The EGFR-selective tyrosine kinase inhibitors, erlotinib and gefitinib, blocked not only EGFRvIII signaling to ERK but also uPAR-dependent STAT5b activation. uPAR gene silencing in EGFRvIII-expressing GBM cells and in cells from tumors that escaped dependency on EGFRvIII decreased cell survival and proliferation. Xenografts of EGFRvIII-expressing cancer cell lines and a human GBM, which was propagated as a xenograft, were robustly immunopositive for uPAR and phospho-Tyr-845 by immunohistochemistry. A human GBM in which the EGFR gene was amplified without truncation was immunonegative for both uPAR and phospho-Tyr-845. These studies identify distinct cell-signaling activities for uPAR in GBM cells that express EGFRvIII and in cells released from dormancy when EGFRvIII is neutralized. uPAR and its crosstalk pathways with EGFRvIII emerge as logical targets for therapeutics development in GBM.
Project description:Glioblastoma (GB) remains the most aggressive primary brain malignancy. Adoptive transfer of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-modified immune cells has emerged as a promising anti-cancer approach, yet the potential utility of CAR-engineered natural killer (NK) cells to treat GB has not been explored. Tumors from approximately 50% of GB patients express wild-type EGFR (wtEGFR) and in fewer cases express both wtEGFR and the mutant form EGFRvIII; however, previously reported CAR T cell studies only focus on targeting EGFRvIII. Here we explore whether both wtEGFR and EGFRvIII can be effectively targeted by CAR-redirected NK cells to treat GB. We transduced human NK cell lines NK-92 and NKL, and primary NK cells with a lentiviral construct harboring a second generation CAR targeting both wtEGFR and EGFRvIII and evaluated the anti-GB efficacy of EGFR-CAR-modified NK cells. EGFR-CAR-engineered NK cells displayed enhanced cytolytic capability and IFN-? production when co-cultured with GB cells or patient-derived GB stem cells in an EGFR-dependent manner. In two orthotopic GB xenograft mouse models, intracranial administration of NK-92-EGFR-CAR cells resulted in efficient suppression of tumor growth and significantly prolonged the tumor-bearing mice survival. These findings support intracranial administration of NK-92-EGFR-CAR cells represents a promising clinical strategy to treat GB.
Project description:The EGF-receptor (EGFR) is amplified and mutated in glioblastoma (GBM) where its common mutation, (∆EGFR, also called EGFRvIII) has a variety of activities that promote growth and inhibit death, thereby conferring a strong tumor-enhancing effect. This range of activities suggested to us that ∆EGFR might exert its influence through pleiotropic effectors and we hypothesized that microRNAs (miRs) might serve such a function. To test this, we determined the miR profiles of GBM cells with activated wild type EGFR (wtEGFR) and mutant EGFR (∆EGFR) to cells with non-activated EGFR or kinase dead ∆EGFR. To identify miRs regulated by EGFR, RNA from 2 different glioma cell lines (U87 and U373) were hybridized to miR expression arrays and analyzed. Each cell type was engineered to express wild type EGFR (wtEGFR), dead kinase ∆EGFR (DK) or ∆EGFR at elevated levels similar to those observed in primary glioblastomas displaying EGFR overexpression. Parental cells expressing endogenous EGFR and wtEGFR cells stimulated with EGF for 1hr were also included in the analyses.