Aberrant RON and MET Co-overexpression as Novel Prognostic Biomarkers of Shortened Patient Survival and Therapeutic Targets of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in Pancreatic Cancer.
ABSTRACT: RON (recepteur d'origine nantais) and MET (hepatocyte growth factor receptor) are tyrosine kinase receptors. Various cancers have aberrant RON and MET expression and activation, which contribute to cancer cell proliferation, invasiveness, and metastasis. Here, we explored RON and MET expression in pancreatic cancer and their relationship with overall survival (OS) time, and evaluated their significance as therapeutic targets of tyrosine kinase inhibitors in pancreatic cancer. We enrolled 227 patients with pancreatic cancer in the study. RON and MET expression was analyzed by immunohistochemical staining. Four human pancreatic cancer cell lines expressing variable levels of RON or MET and four MET superfamily inhibitors (BMS777607, PHA665752, INCB28060, Tivantinib) were used. The effect of the four tyrosine kinase inhibitors on cell viability, migration, and apoptosis were determined using cell viability, scratch wound healing, and Caspase-Glo 3/7 assays. Cellular signaling was analyzed by immunoprecipitation and western blotting. The therapeutic efficacy of the tyrosine kinase inhibitors was determined with mouse xenograft pancreatic cancer models in vivo. There was wide aberrant RON and MET expression in the cancer tissues. In 227 pancreatic cancer samples, 33% had RON overexpression, 41% had MET overexpression, and 15.4% had RON and MET co-overexpression. RON and MET expression were highly correlated. RON and MET expression levels were significantly related to OS. Patients with RON and MET co-overexpression had poorer OS. BMS777607 and PHA665752 inhibited pancreatic cancer cell viability and migration, and promoted apoptosis by inhibiting RON and MET phosphorylation and further inhibiting the downstream signaling pathways in vitro. They also inhibited tumor growth and further inhibited phosphorylated (phosphor)-RON and phospho-MET expression in the mouse xenograft models in vivo effectively. INCB28060, which inhibits the MET signaling pathway alone, was not effective. RON and MET can be important indicators of prognosis in pancreatic cancer. Tyrosine kinase inhibitors targeting RON and MET in pancreatic cancer are a novel and potential approach for pancreatic cancer therapy.
Project description:While recent studies implicate that signaling through the receptor tyrosine kinase MET protects cancer cells from DNA damage, molecular events linking MET to the DNA damage response machinery are largely unknown. Here, we studied the impact of MET inhibition by the small molecule PHA665752 on cytotoxicity induced by DNA-damaging agents. We demonstrate that PHA665752 reduces clonogenic survival of tumor cells with MET overexpression when combined with ionizing radiation and synergistically cooperates with ionizing radiation or adriamycin to induce apoptosis. In search of mechanisms underlying the observed synergism, we show that PHA665752 alone considerably increases ?H2AX levels, indicating the accumulation of double-strand DNA breaks. In addition, PHA665752 treatment results in sustained high levels of ?H2AX and phosphorylated ATM postirradiation, strengthening the assumption that MET inhibition attenuates postdamage DNA repair. PHA665752, alone or in combination with irradiation, leads also to a massive increase of ?H2AX tyrosine phosphorylation and its subsequent interaction with the proapoptotic kinase JNK1. Finally, MET inhibition reduces activation of ATR, CHK1, and CDC25B and abrogates an associated DNA damage-induced S phase arrest. This indicates that MET inhibition compromises a critical damage-dependent checkpoint that may enable DNA-damaged cells to exit cell cycle arrest before repair is completed.
Project description:Lung cancer is a heterogeneous disease encompassing a wide array of genetic abnormalities. The MET receptor tyrosine kinase is altered in many lung cancers, especially non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), and clinical trials of MET inhibitors that are under way are documenting cases of acquired resistance. On the basis of the evidence that the RON tyrosine kinase receptor can also be overexpressed in NSCLC, we evaluated the potent MET/RON dual kinase inhibitor LY2801653 in this setting. LY2801653 was more efficacious than the MET/ALK/RON/ROS inhibitor crizotinib with a distinct pattern of downstream signaling effects. Using the PamGene platform, we found that inhibition of MET and RON was associated with decreased phosphorylation of CBL, PI3K, and STAT3. In classic and orthotopic mouse xenograft models of lung cancer, LY2801653 decreased tumor growth, dramatically inhibiting mitotic events and angiogenesis. Taken together, our results argued that specific targeting of the MET/RON kinases could provide robust inhibition of cell proliferation and tumor outgrowth in multiple in vitro and in vivo models of NSCLC. These findings offer a robust preclinical proof of concept for MET/RON targeting by LY2801653 as a promising small-molecule modality to treat NSCLC.
Project description:The receptor protein tyrosine kinase RON belongs to the c-MET proto-oncogene family. Research has shown that RON has a role in cancer pathogenesis, which places RON on the frontline of the development of novel cancer therapeutic strategies. Hepatobiliary and pancreatic (HBP) cancers have a poor prognosis, being reported as having higher rates of cancer-related death. Therefore, to combat these malignant diseases, the mechanism underlying the aberrant expression and signaling of RON in HBP cancer pathogenesis, and the development of RON as a drug target for therapeutic intervention should be investigated. Abnormal RON expression and signaling have been identified in HBP cancers, and also act as tumorigenic determinants for HBP cancer malignant behaviors. In addition, RON is emerging as an important mediator of the clinical prognosis of HBP cancers. Thus, not only is RON significant in HBP cancers, but also RON-targeted therapeutics could be developed to treat these cancers, for example, therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and small-molecule inhibitors. Among them, antibody-drug conjugates have become increasingly popular in current research and their potential as novel anti-cancer biotherapeutics will be determined in future clinical trials.
Project description:RON (MST1R) is one of two members of the MET receptor tyrosine kinase family, along with parent receptor MET. RON has a putative role in several cancers, but its expression and function is poorly characterized in gastroesophageal adenocarcinoma. A recognized functional role of MET tyrosine kinase in gastroesophageal cancer has led to early phase clinical trials using MET inhibitors, with unimpressive results. Therefore, the role of RON in gastroesophageal cancer, as well as its role in cooperative signaling with MET and as a mechanism of resistance to MET inhibition, was studied in gastroesophageal tissues and cell lines. By IHC, RON was highly over-expressed in 74% of gastroesophageal samples (n=94), and over-expression was prognostic of poor survival (p=0.008); RON and MET co-expression occurred in 43% of samples and was prognostic of worst survival (p=0.03). High MST1R gene copy number by quantitative polymerase chain reaction, and confirmed by fluorescence in situ hybridization and/or array comparative genomic hybridization, was seen in 35.5% (16/45) of cases. High MST1R gene copy number correlated with poor survival (p=0.01), and was associated with high MET and ERBB2 gene copy number. A novel somatic MST1R juxtamembrane mutation R1018G was found in 11% of samples. RON signaling was functional in cell lines, activating downstream effector STAT3, and resulted in increased viability over controls. RON and MET co-stimulation assays led to enhanced malignant phenotypes over stimulation of either receptor alone. Growth inhibition as evidenced by viability and apoptosis assays was optimal using novel blocking monoclonal antibodies to both RON and MET, versus either alone. SU11274, a classic MET small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor, blocked signaling of both receptors, and proved synergistic when combined with STAT3 inhibition (combination index < 1). These preclinical studies define RON as an important novel prognostic marker and therapeutic target for gastroesophageal cancer warranting further investigation.
Project description:Lung cancer cells harboring activating EGFR mutations acquire resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) by activating several bypass mechanisms, including MET amplification and overexpression. We show that a significant proportion of activated MET protein in EGFR TKI-resistant HCC827 lung cancer cells resides within the mitochondria. Targeting the total complement of MET in the plasma membrane and mitochondria should render these cells more susceptible to cell death and hence provide a means of circumventing drug resistance. Herein, the mitochondrial targeting triphenylphosphonium (TPP) moiety was introduced to the selective MET kinase inhibitor PHA665752. The resulting TPP analogue rapidly localized to the mitochondria of MET-overexpressing erlotinib-resistant HCC827 cells, partially suppressed the phosphorylation (Y1234/Y1235) of MET in the mitochondrial inner membrane and was as cytotoxic and apoptogenic as the parent compound. These findings provide support for the targeting of mitochondrial MET with a TPP-TKI conjugate as a means of restoring responsiveness to chemotherapy.
Project description:Medulloblastoma is the most common pediatric posterior fossa malignancy, with a 5-year overall survival of only 60% and many survivors experiencing treatment-related morbidity secondary to current therapeutic regimens. With an improved understanding of the molecular basis for this disease, the opportunity to develop novel treatments with more tolerable toxicity profiles that target key molecular pathways, now exists. Recently, the hepatocyte growth factor (HGF)/MET signaling pathway has been implicated in medulloblastoma pathogenesis. Several therapeutic strategies targeting this pathway exist, including small molecule inhibitor therapy against the MET receptor tyrosine kinase. We examined the in vitro efficacy of targeting the MET receptor using the highly specific small molecule inhibitor PHA665752 as a novel treatment strategy in medulloblastoma. MET inhibition using PHA665752 was effective at reducing the proliferative capacity of the D283, ONS76, and MED8A medulloblastoma cell lines as assessed by MTS assay. Furthermore, PHA665752 treatment reduced D283 and ONS76 cell motility and impaired the growth of D283 cells in soft agar. Pretreatment of D283, ONS76, and MED8A cells with PHA665752 blocked exogenous recombinant human HGF-induced up-regulation of the downstream RAS/mitogen-activated protein kinase signaling pathway in D283, ONS76 and MED8A cell lines. Similarly, PHA665752 prevented HGF-induced phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/AKT signaling in ONS76 and MED8A cells. These results highlight the efficacy of targeting the MET receptor tyrosine kinase therapeutically in medulloblastoma and provide support for further preclinical testing of small molecule inhibitors targeting the MET receptor in medulloblastoma.
Project description:Products of proto-oncogenes c-MET and RON belong to a subfamily of receptor tyrosine kinases that contribute significantly to tumorigenic progression. In primary tumors, altered c-MET/RON expression transduces signals regulating invasive growth that is characterized by cell migration and matrix invasion. These pathogenic features provide the basis for targeting c-MET/RON in cancer therapy. In the last decade, various approaches have been investigated to suppress c-MET/RON-transduced oncogenesis. Among the therapeutics developed, monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) and small-molecule inhibitors (SMIs) have emerged as promising candidates. The mechanism of these therapeutic candidates is the disruption of tumor dependency on c-MET/RON signals for survival. The mAbs specific to hepatocyte growth factor (AMG102) and c-MET (MetMAb) are both humanized and able to block c-MET signaling, leading to inhibition of tumor cell proliferation in vitro and inhibition of tumor growth in xenograft models. The mAb AMG102 neutralizes hepatocyte growth factor and enhances the cytotoxicity of various chemotherapeutics to tumors in vivo. AMG102 is currently in phase II clinical trials for patients with advanced solid tumors. IMC-41A40 and Zt/f2 are RON-specific mAbs that down-regulate RON expression and inhibit ligand-induced phosphorylation. Both mAbs inhibit tumor growth in mice mediated by colon and pancreatic cancer cells. SMIs specific to c-MET (ARQ107 and PF-02341066) are in various phases of clinical trials. Therapeutic efficacy has also been observed with dual inhibitors such as Compound I, which is specific to c-MET/RON. However, a potential issue is the emergence of acquired resistance to these inhibitors. Clearly, development of c-MET/RON therapeutics provides opportunities and challenges for combating cancer in the future.
Project description:MET and its ligand hepatocyte growth factor/scatter factor (HGF) influence cell motility and lead to tumor growth, invasion, and angiogenesis. Alterations in MET have been observed in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) tumors, with increased expression associated with more aggressive cancer, as well as acquired resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI). MET inhibitors act via two basic mechanisms. Small molecule inhibitors antagonize ATP in the intracellular tyrosine kinase domain of MET, with studies on the following agents reviewed here: tivantinib (ARQ-197), cabozantinib (XL-184), crizotinib (PF-02341066), amuvatinib (MP470), MGCD265, foretinib (EXEL-2880), MK2461, SGX523, PHA665752, JNJ-38877605, SU11274, and K252A. The monoclonal monovalent antibody fragment onartuzumab (MetMAb) is also discussed here, which binds to and prevents the extracellular activation of the receptor by ligand. MET inhibition may both overcome the negative prognostic effect of MET tumor expression as well as antagonize MET-dependent acquired resistance to EGFR inhibitors. Here we discuss MET inhibitors in combination with other therapies in lung cancer.
Project description:Hypoxia-inducible factor-1alpha (HIF-1alpha) overexpression was shown to be associated with invasion and metastasis of tumors and tumor cell lines. The identification of molecular targets that contribute to HIF-1alpha-mediated invasion is under intensive investigation. We have analyzed the role of recepteur d'origine nantais (RON), a tyrosine kinase receptor for macrophage-stimulating protein (MSP) that plays a role in breast cancer cell invasion as one of the molecular targets of HIF-1alpha. Analysis of a panel of breast cancer cell lines indicated a correlation between HIF-1alpha and RON expression. Treatment of HIF-1alpha- and RON-positive breast cancer cells with HIF-1alpha inhibitor, echinomycin, led to the inhibition of HIF-1alpha activity and RON expression. We have identified HIF-1alpha binding site on the RON promoter. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis and site-directed mutagenesis of the RON promoter confirmed the binding of HIF-1alpha to RON promoter. HIF-1alpha inhibitor-, echinomycin-, or short hairpin RNA-mediated selective knockdown of HIF-1alpha or HIF-1alpha target RON tyrosine kinase abrogated RON gene expression, and the RON ligand macrophage-stimulating protein mediated invasion of breast cancer cells. Consequently, the data presented herein demonstrated RON as a novel molecular target of HIF-1alpha and suggest a potential therapeutic role for HIF-1alpha or RON tyrosine kinase inhibitors in the blockade of RON tyrosine kinase-mediated invasion of carcinoma cells.
Project description:Aberrant expression of the RON receptor tyrosine kinase, a member of the MET proto-oncogene family, contributes significantly to pancreatic cancer tumorigenesis and chemoresistance. Here we validate RON as a target for pancreatic cancer therapy using a novel anti-RON antibody Zt/g4-drug maytansinoid conjugates (Zt/g4-DM1) as a model for RON-targeted drug delivery to kill pancreatic cancer cells. In pancreatic cancer cell lines overexpressing RON, Zt/g4-DM1 rapidly induced receptor endocytosis, arrested cell cycle at G2/M phase, reduced cell viability, and subsequently caused massive cell death. These in vitro observations help to establish a correlation between the number of the cell surface RON receptors and the efficacy of Zt/g4-DM1 in reduction of cell viability. In mice, Zt/g4-DM1 pharmacokinetics in the linear dose range fitted into a two-compartment model with clearance in 0.21 ml/day/kg and terminal half-life at 6.05 days. These results helped to confirm a concentration-activity relationship for the BxPC-3 and other pancreatic cancer cell xenograft model with a tumoristatic dose at 3.02 mg/kg. Zt/g4-DM1 was effective in vivo against various xenograft PDAC growth but efficacy varied with individual cell lines. Combination of Zt/g4-DM1 with gemcitabine had a complete inhibition of xenograft pancreatic cancer growth. We conclude from these studies that increased RON expression in pancreatic cancer cells is a suitable targeting moiety for anti-RON ADC-directed drug delivery and anticancer therapy. Zt/g4-DM1 is highly effective alone or in combination with chemotherapeutics in inhibition of pancreatic cancer xenograft growth in preclinical models. These findings justify the use of humanized Zt/g4-DM1 for targeted pancreatic cancer therapy in the future.