ERBB3-independent activation of the PI3K pathway in EGFR-mutant lung adenocarcinomas.
ABSTRACT: ERBB3, a member of the EGFR family of receptor tyrosine kinases, has been implicated in activation of the PI3K pathway in human lung adenocarcinomas driven by EGFR mutations. We investigated the contribution of ERBB3 to the initiation, progression, and therapeutic response of EGFR-induced lung adenocarcinomas using tetracycline- and tamoxifen-inducible transgenic mouse models. Deletion of Erbb3 at the time of induction of mutant EGFR had no effect on tumorigenesis, demonstrating that ERBB3 is not required to initiate tumorigenesis. Tumors that developed in the absence of ERBB3 remained sensitive to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors and retained activation of the PI3K-AKT pathway. Interestingly, acute loss of Erbb3 suppressed further growth of established EGFR(L858R)-mediated lung tumors. Four weeks after deletion of Erbb3, the tumors exhibited phosphorylation of EGFR, of the adaptor proteins GAB1 and GAB2, and of the downstream signaling molecules AKT and ERK, suggesting that alternative signaling pathways could compensate for loss of Erbb3. Similar to our observations with mouse tumors, we found that GAB adaptor proteins play a role in ERBB3-independent activation of the PI3K pathway by mutant EGFR in EGFR-mutant human cell lines. Finally, in such cell lines, increased levels of phosphorylation of ERBB2 or MET were associated with reduced sensitivity to acute loss of ERBB3, suggesting remarkable plasticity in the signaling pathways regulated by mutant EGFR with important therapeutic implications.
Project description:Pharmacologic blockade of EGFR or the closely related receptor ERBB2 has modest efficacy against colorectal cancers in the clinic. Although the upregulation of ERBB3, a pseudo-kinase member of the EGFR/ERBB family, is known to contribute to EGFR inhibitor resistance in other cancers, its functions in normal and malignant intestinal epithelium have not been defined. We have shown here that the intestinal epithelium of mice with intestine-specific genetic ablation of Erbb3 exhibits no cytological abnormalities but does exhibit loss of expression of ERBB4 and sensitivity to intestinal damage. By contrast, intestine-specific Erbb3 ablation resulted in almost complete absence of intestinal tumors in the ApcMin mouse model of colon cancer. Unlike nontransformed epithelium lacking ERBB3, intestinal tumors lacking ERBB3 had reduced PI3K/AKT signaling, which led to attenuation of tumorigenesis via a tumor-specific increase in caspase-3-mediated apoptosis. Consistent with the mouse data, which suggest that ERBB3-ERBB4 heterodimers contribute to colon cancer survival, experimentally induced loss of ERBB3 in a KRAS mutant human colon cancer cell line was associated with loss of ERBB4 expression, and siRNA knockdown of either ERBB3 or ERBB4 resulted in elevated levels of apoptosis. These results indicate that the ERBB3 pseudo-kinase has essential roles in supporting intestinal tumorigenesis and suggest that ERBB3 may be a promising target for the treatment of colorectal cancers.
Project description:The EGFR T790M mutation confers acquired resistance to kinase inhibitors in human EGFR mutant lung adenocarcinoma, is occasionally detected before treatment, and may confer genetic susceptibility to lung cancer.To study further its role in lung tumorigenesis, we developed mice with inducible expression in type II pneumocytes of EGFR(T790M) alone or together with a drug-sensitive L858R mutation. Both transgenic lines develop lung adenocarcinomas that require mutant EGFR for tumor maintenance but are resistant to an EGFR kinase inhibitor. EGFR(L858R+T790M)-driven tumors are transiently targeted by hsp90 inhibition. Notably, EGFR(T790M)-expressing animals develop tumors with longer latency than EGFR(L858R+T790M)-bearing mice and in the absence of additional kinase domain mutations.These new mouse models of mutant EGFR-dependent lung adenocarcinomas provide insight into clinical observations. The models should also be useful for developing improved therapies for patients with lung cancers harboring EGFR(T790M) alone or in conjunction with drug-sensitive EGFR kinase domain mutations.
Project description:Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is often characterized by mutually exclusive mutations in the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) or the guanosine triphosphatase KRAS. We hypothesized that blocking EGFR palmitoylation, previously shown to inhibit EGFR activity, might alter downstream signaling in the KRAS-mutant setting. Here, we found that blocking EGFR palmitoylation, by either knocking down the palmitoyltransferase DHHC20 or expressing a palmitoylation-resistant EGFR mutant, reduced activation of the kinase PI3K, the abundance of the transcription factor MYC, and the proliferation of cells in culture, as well as reduced tumor growth in a mouse model of KRAS-mutant lung adenocarcinoma. Knocking down DHHC20 reduced the growth of existing tumors derived from human KRAS-mutant lung cancer cells and increased the sensitivity of these cells to a PI3K inhibitor. Palmitoylated EGFR interacted with the PI3K regulatory subunit PIK3R1 (p85) and increased the recruitment of the PI3K heterodimer to the plasma membrane. Alternatively, blocking palmitoylation increased the association of EGFR with the MAPK adaptor Grb2 and decreased that with p85. This binary switching between MAPK and PI3K signaling, modulated by EGFR palmitoylation, was only observed in the presence of oncogenic KRAS. These findings suggest a mechanism whereby oncogenic KRAS saturates signaling through unpalmitoylated EGFR, reducing formation of the PI3K signaling complex. Future development of DHHC20 inhibitors to reduce EGFR-PI3K signaling could be beneficial to patients with KRAS-mutant tumors.
Project description:Somatic mutations in the EGFR proto-oncogene occur in ~15% of human lung adenocarcinomas and the importance of EGFR mutations for the initiation and maintenance of lung cancer is well established from mouse models and cancer therapy trials in human lung cancer patients. Recently, we identified DOK2 as a lung adenocarcinoma tumor suppressor gene. Here we show that genomic loss of DOK2 is associated with EGFR mutations in human lung adenocarcinoma, and we hypothesized that loss of DOK2 might therefore cooperate with EGFR mutations to promote lung tumorigenesis. We tested this hypothesis using genetically engineered mouse models and find that loss of Dok2 in the mouse accelerates lung tumorigenesis initiated by oncogenic EGFR, but not that initiated by mutated Kras. Moreover, we find that DOK2 participates in a negative feedback loop that opposes mutated EGFR; EGFR mutation leads to recruitment of DOK2 to EGFR and DOK2-mediated inhibition of downstream activation of RAS. These data identify DOK2 as a tumor suppressor in EGFR-mutant lung adenocarcinoma.
Project description:RAS family GTPases contribute directly to the regulation of type I phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) via RAS-binding domains in the PI3K catalytic p110 subunits. Disruption of this domain of p110? impairs RAS-mutant-oncogene-driven tumor formation and maintenance. Here, we test the effect of blocking the interaction of RAS with p110? on epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-mutant-driven lung tumorigenesis. Disrupting the RAS-PI3K interaction inhibits activation of both AKT and RAC1 in EGFR-mutant lung cancer cells, leading to reduced growth and survival, and inhibits EGFR-mutant-induced tumor onset and promotes major regression of established tumors in an autochthonous mouse model of EGFR-mutant-induced lung adenocarcinoma. The RAS-PI3K interaction is thus an important signaling node and potential therapeutic target in EGFR-mutant lung cancer, even though RAS oncogenes are not themselves mutated in this setting, suggesting different strategies for tackling tyrosine kinase inhibitor resistance in lung cancer.
Project description:Genetically engineered mouse models (GEMMs) of cancer are increasingly being used to assess putative driver mutations identified by large-scale sequencing of human cancer genomes. To accurately interpret experiments that introduce additional mutations, an understanding of the somatic genetic profile and evolution of GEMM tumors is necessary. Here, we performed whole-exome sequencing of tumors from three GEMMs of lung adenocarcinoma driven by mutant epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), mutant Kirsten rat sarcoma viral oncogene homolog (Kras), or overexpression of MYC proto-oncogene. Tumors from EGFR- and Kras-driven models exhibited, respectively, 0.02 and 0.07 nonsynonymous mutations per megabase, a dramatically lower average mutational frequency than observed in human lung adenocarcinomas. Tumors from models driven by strong cancer drivers (mutant EGFR and Kras) harbored few mutations in known cancer genes, whereas tumors driven by MYC, a weaker initiating oncogene in the murine lung, acquired recurrent clonal oncogenic Kras mutations. In addition, although EGFR- and Kras-driven models both exhibited recurrent whole-chromosome DNA copy number alterations, the specific chromosomes altered by gain or loss were different in each model. These data demonstrate that GEMM tumors exhibit relatively simple somatic genotypes compared with human cancers of a similar type, making these autochthonous model systems useful for additive engineering approaches to assess the potential of novel mutations on tumorigenesis, cancer progression, and drug sensitivity.
Project description:Somatic LKB1 mutations are found in lung adenocarcinomas at different frequencies in Caucasian and East Asian (Japanese and Korean) populations. This study was designed to characterize the frequency of LKB1 mutations, their relationship to EGFR and KRAS mutations, and their associated clinicopathologic characteristics in Chinese patients.Two hundred thirty-nine lung adenocarcinomas consecutively collected from October 2007 to July 2009 were dissected into 3 to 4 small (3 mm) pieces for histopathological analyses of tumor content. Genomic DNA and/or cDNA from 86 samples with more than 70% tumor content were used for sequencing of LKB1 (exons 1-9), EGFR (exons 18-21), and KRAS (exon 2). LKB1 germline mutation status was determined by sequencing of genomic DNA from matched histologically distant lung tissues that are histologically normal.6.9% of lung adenocarcinomas harbored LKB1 somatic mutations. A total of 10.5% of patients had an LKB1 germline polymorphism, F354L. Interestingly, in two of these patients, tumors displayed loss of heterozygosity at this allele. EGFR kinase domain and KRAS mutations were found in 66.3% and 2.3% of Chinese lung adenocarcinomas, respectively. Concurrent LKB1 and EGFR somatic mutations were observed in one patient. Both KRAS-mutant tumors harbored LKB1 mutations.These data provide important clinical and molecular characteristics of lung adenocarcinomas from Chinese patients.
Project description:BRG1 and BRM, two core catalytic subunits in SWI/SNF chromatin remodeling complexes, have been suggested as tumor suppressors, yet their roles in carcinogenesis are unclear. Here, we present evidence that loss of BRG1 and BRM is involved in the progression of lung adenocarcinomas. Analysis of 15 lung cancer cell lines indicated that BRG1 mutations correlated with loss of BRG1 expression and that loss of BRG1 and BRM expression was frequent in E-cadherin-low and vimentin-high cell lines. Immunohistochemical analysis of 93 primary lung adenocarcinomas showed loss of BRG1 and BRM in 11 (12%) and 16 (17%) cases, respectively. Loss of expression of BRG1 and BRM was frequent in solid predominant adenocarcinomas and tumors with low thyroid transcription factor-1 (TTF-1, master regulator of lung) and low cytokeratin7 and E-cadherin (two markers for bronchial epithelial differentiation). Loss of BRG1 was correlated with the absence of lepidic growth patterns and was mutually exclusive of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) mutations. In contrast, loss of BRM was found concomitant with lepidic growth patterns and EGFR mutations. Finally, we analyzed the publicly available dataset of 442 cases and found that loss of BRG1 and BRM was frequent in E-cadherin-low, TTF-1-low, and vimentin-high cases and correlated with poor prognosis. We conclude that loss of either or both BRG1 and BRM is involved in the progression of lung adenocarcinoma into solid predominant tumors with features of epithelial mesenchymal transition and loss of the bronchial epithelial phenotype. BRG1 loss was specifically involved in the progression of EGFR wild-type, but not EGFR-mutant tumors.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Lung adenocarcinoma is a highly heterogeneous disease with various etiologies, prognoses, and responses to therapy. Although genome-scale characterization of lung adenocarcinoma has been performed, a comprehensive somatic mutation analysis of EGFR/KRAS/ALK-negative lung adenocarcinoma in never-smokers has not been conducted. METHODS:We analyzed whole exome sequencing data from 16 EGFR/KRAS/ALK-negative lung adenocarcinomas and additional 54 tumors in two expansion cohort sets. Candidate loci were validated by target capture and Sanger sequencing. Gene set analysis was performed using Ingenuity Pathway Analysis. RESULTS:We identified 27 genes potentially implicated in the pathogenesis of lung adenocarcinoma. These included targetable genes involved in PI3K/mTOR signaling (TSC1, PIK3CA, AKT2) and receptor tyrosine kinase signaling (ERBB4) and genes not previously highlighted in lung adenocarcinomas, such as SETD2 and PBRM1 (chromatin remodeling), CHEK2 and CDC27 (cell cycle), CUL3 and SOD2 (oxidative stress), and CSMD3 and TFG (immune response). In the expansion cohort (N = 70), TP53 was the most frequently altered gene (11%), followed by SETD2 (6%), CSMD3 (6%), ERBB2 (6%), and CDH10 (4%). In pathway analysis, the majority of altered genes were involved in cell cycle/DNA repair (P <0.001) and cAMP-dependent protein kinase signaling (P <0.001). CONCLUSIONS:The genomic makeup of EGFR/KRAS/ALK-negative lung adenocarcinomas in never-smokers is remarkably diverse. Genes involved in cell cycle regulation/DNA repair are implicated in tumorigenesis and represent potential therapeutic targets.
Project description:The model is based on publication:
Mathematical analysis of gefitinib resistance of lung adenocarcinoma caused by MET amplification
Gefitinib, one of the tyrosine kinase inhibitors of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), is effective for treating lung adenocarcinoma harboring EGFR mutation; but later, most cases acquire a resistance to gefitinib. One of the mechanisms conferring gefitinib resistance to lung adenocarcinoma is the amplification of the MET gene, which is observed in 5–22% of gefitinib-resistant tumors. A previous study suggested that MET amplification could cause gefitinib resistance by driving ErbB3-dependent activation of the PI3K pathway. In this study, we built a mathematical model of gefitinib resistance caused by MET amplification using lung adenocarcinoma HCC827-GR (gefitinib resistant) cells. The molecular reactions involved in gefitinib resistance consisted of dimerization and phosphorylation of three molecules, EGFR, ErbB3, and MET were described by a series of ordinary differential equations. To perform a computer simulation, we quantified each molecule on the cell surface using flow cytometry and estimated unknown parameters by dimensional analysis. Our simulation showed that the number of active ErbB3 molecules is around a hundred-fold smaller than that of active MET molecules. Limited contribution of ErbB3 in gefitinib resistance by MET amplification is also demonstrated using HCC827-GR cells in culture experiments. Our mathematical model provides a quantitative understanding of the molecular reactions underlying drug resistance.