Epidermal growth factor receptor activation and inhibition in 3D in vitro models of normal skin and human cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma.
ABSTRACT: The transmembrane tyrosine kinase epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is considered a key player in the development of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (SCC), which is the second most common malignancy in white populations. Inhibition of EGFR with the small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor erlotinib is currently under clinical investigation in cutaneous SCC patients. In this study, we investigated the effects of EGFR activation and inhibition on normal and malignant in vitro human skin equivalents (HSEs). In healthy HSEs, increasing EGF concentrations ranging from 5 to 50 ng/mL resulted in a dramatic decrease in epidermal proliferation as immunohistochemically assessed by Ki67 and increased epidermal stress as assessed by K17 after 2 weeks of air-exposed culture. Also, higher concentrations of EGF induced remarkable epidermal disorganization with loss of proper stratification. Similar effects were observed in HSEs generated with cutaneous SCC cell lines SCC-12B2 and SCC-13. Treatment of both healthy and SCC-HSEs with 10 ?M erlotinib resulted in efficient reduction of epidermal thickness from 10 to 3 viable cell layers and counteracted EGF-induced epidermal stress. Remarkably, erlotinib treatment caused severe desquamation in healthy HSEs, reminiscent of xerosis as a known side-effect in patients treated with erlotinib. The presented three-dimensional organotypic SCC models appear suitable for further investigations on the morphological and functional impacts of modifying EGFR signaling in cutaneous SCC, without burdening patients or mice. The effective inhibition of epidermal growth by erlotinib in our HSEs confirms the therapeutic potential of this tyrosine kinase inhibitor for cutaneous SCC patients.
Project description:Malignant peripheral nerve sheath tumors (MPNSTs) are sarcomas with poor prognosis and limited treatment options. Evidence for a role of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and receptor tyrosine kinase erbB2 in MPNSTs led us to systematically study these potential therapeutic targets in a larger tumor panel (n = 37). Multiplex ligation-dependent probe amplification and fluorescence in situ hybridization analysis revealed increased EGFR dosage in 28% of MPNSTs. ERBB2 and three tumor suppressor genes (PTEN [phosphatase and tensin homolog deleted on chromosome 10], CDKN2A [cyclin-dependent kinase inhibitor 2A], and TP53 [tumor protein p53]) were frequently lost or reduced. Reduction of CDKN2A was linked to appearance of metastasis. Comparison of corresponding neurofibromas and MPNSTs revealed an increase in genetic lesions in MPNSTs. No somatic mutations were found within tyrosine-kinase-encoding exons of EGFR and ERBB2. However, at the protein level, expression of EGFR and erbB2 was frequently detected in MPNSTs. EGFR expression was significantly associated with increased EGFR gene dosage. The EGFR ligands transforming growth factor alpha and EGF were more strongly expressed in MPNSTs than in neurofibromas. The effects of the drugs erlotinib and trastuzumab, which target EGFR and erbB2, were determined on MPNST cell lines. In contrast to trastuzumab, erlotinib mediated dose-dependent inhibition of cell proliferation. EGF-induced EGFR phosphorylation was attenuated by erlotinib. Summarized, our data indicate that EGFR and erbB2 are potential targets in treatment of MPNST patients.
Project description:Background:Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has emerged as an important therapeutic target. Overexpression of EGFR is frequently observed in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and EGFR activation has been proven to be a potential determinant of primary resistance of HCC cells to sorafenib. In our previous study, we found 13 missense mutations in EGFR exon 19-23 from hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissues, but the functions of these mutations have not been determined. This study aims to determine the kinase activity and sensitivity to erlotinib, a 1st-generation EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI), of seven HCC-derived mutants (K757E, N808S, R831C, V897A, P937L, T940A, and M947T). Results:Using transduction of pBabe-puro retroviral vector with or without EGFR, we constructed and determined the function of EGFRs in NIH-3T3 cells stably harboring each of the seven mutants, as well as the erlotinib-sensitive L858R-mutant, the erlotinib-resistant T790M-mutant, and EGFR wild type (WT). Our results indicate that the seven mutants are functioning, EGF-dependent, EGFRs. Cells harboring six of the seven mutants could generate some level of EGFR phosphorylation in the absence of EGF, indicating some constitutive kinase activity, but all of the seven mutants remain primarily EGF-dependent. Our results demonstrate that erlotinib induces differential degree of apoptosis and autophagy among cells harboring different EGFRs: complete apoptosis and autophagy (cleavage of both caspase-3 and PARP, and marked LC3-II increment) in L858R-mutant; partial apoptosis and autophagy (only cleavage of caspase-3, and moderate LC3-II increment) in WT and HCC-derived mutants; and no apoptosis and minimal autophagy (no cleavage of caspase-3 and PARP, and minimal LC3-II increment) in T790M-mutant. The seven HCC-derived mutants are erlotinib-resistant, as treatment with erlotinib up to high concentration could only induce partial inhibition of EGFR phosphorylation, partial or no inhibition of AKT and ERK phosphorylation, and partial apoptosis and autophagy. Conclusion:The seven HCC-derived EGFR mutants in this study are functioning, EGF-dependent, and erlotinib-resistant. Erlotinib induces differential degree of apoptosis and autophagy among cells harboring different EGFRs. The degree of inhibition of EGFR phosphorylation by erlotinib is the determining factor for the degree of apoptosis and autophagy amongst cells harboring EGFR mutants. This study paves the way for further investigation into the sensitivity of these HCC-derived mutants to the 3rd-generation irreversible EGFR-TKI, osimertinib.
Project description:Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), a receptor tyrosine kinase is overexpressed in 90% of Head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients. Clinical trials with EGFR-targeted tyrosine kinase inhibitors such as erlotinib have shown a modest activity in HNSCC alternate mechanisms of resistance are acquired. To investigate these acquired mechanisms of resistance and identify novel therapeutic targets we employed SILAC-based tyrosine phosphoteomic analysis of an isogenic pair of erlotinib sensitive (SCC-S) and resistant (SCC-R) HNSCC cell line. Quantitative phosphotyrosine profiling revealed 98 phosphopeptides belonging to 64 proteins and 66 phosphopeptides belonging to 52 proteins to be hyper and hypophosphorylated (≥2 fold) in SCC-R cells, respectively. Several proteins such MET proto-oncogene, receptor tyrosine kinase (MET) and CRK like proto-oncogene, adaptor protein (CRKL) known to mediate erlotinib resistance in HNSCC and lung cancer were found to be dysregulated. Bioinformatics analysis of differentially phosphorylated proteins showed enrichment of proteins involved in focal adhesion kinase (FAK) pathway downstream of EGFR. We identified and validated activation of several phosphorylation sites of protein tyrosine kinase 2 (PTK2) in SCC-R cells and its downstream targets. We further demonstrated that CUB-domain containing protein 1 (CDCP1), an upstream regulator of PTK2 activity and PTK2 can be targeted in combination as an alternative to erlotinib in HNSCC.
Project description:Despite the role of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) development and progression, clinical trials involving EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) have yielded poor results in HNSCC patients. Mechanisms of acquired resistance to the EGFR TKI erlotinib was investigated by developing erlotinib-resistant HNSCC cell lines (Cal-27, SCC-25, FaDu, and SQ20B) and comparing their gene expression profiles with their parental erlotinib-sensitive HNSCC cell lines using microarray analyses. Subsequent pathway and network analyses displayed a significant upregulation in immune response pathways. Role of immune/inflammatory signaling in acquired resistance to erlotinib in HNSCC was investigated.
Project description:Mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are multipotent progenitors, which give rise to several lineages, including bone, cartilage and fat. Epidermal growth factor (EGF) stimulates cell growth, proliferation and differentiation. EGF acts by binding with high affinity to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) on the cell surface and stimulating the intrinsic protein tyrosine kinase activity of its receptor, which initiates a signal transduction cascade causing a variety of biochemical changes within the cell and regulating cell proliferation and differentiation. We have identified BMP9 as one of the most osteogenic BMPs in MSCs. In this study, we investigate if EGF signalling cross-talks with BMP9 and regulates BMP9-induced osteogenic differentiation. We find that EGF potentiates BMP9-induced early and late osteogenic markers of MSCs in vitro, which can be effectively blunted by EGFR inhibitors Gefitinib and Erlotinib or receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitors AG-1478 and AG-494 in a dose- and time-dependent manner. Furthermore, EGF significantly augments BMP9-induced bone formation in the cultured mouse foetal limb explants. In vivo stem cell implantation experiment reveals that exogenous expression of EGF in MSCs can effectively potentiate BMP9-induced ectopic bone formation, yielding larger and more mature bone masses. Interestingly, we find that, while EGF can induce BMP9 expression in MSCs, EGFR expression is directly up-regulated by BMP9 through Smad1/5/8 signalling pathway. Thus, the cross-talk between EGF and BMP9 signalling pathways in MSCs may underline their important roles in regulating osteogenic differentiation. Harnessing the synergy between BMP9 and EGF should be beneficial for enhancing osteogenesis in regenerative medicine.
Project description:The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a single-pass transmembrane protein with an extracellular ligand-binding region and a cytoplasmic tyrosine kinase. Ligand binding activates the tyrosine kinase, which in turn initiates signaling cascades that influence cell proliferation and differentiation. EGFR activity is essential for normal development of many multicellular organisms, and inappropriate activation of EGFR is associated with multiple human cancers. Several drugs targeting EGFR activity are approved cancer therapies, and new EGFR-targeted therapies are being actively pursued. Much of what is known about EGFR structure and function is derived from studies of soluble receptor fragments. We report here an approach to producing an active, membrane-spanning form of EGFR of suitable purity, homogeneity, and quantity for structural and functional studies. We show that EGFR is capable of direct autophosphorylation of tyrosine 845, which is located on its kinase activation loop, and that the kinase activity of EGFR is approximately 500-fold higher in the presence of EGF vs the inhibitory anti-EGFR antibody cetuximab. The potencies of the small molecule EGFR kinase inhibitors erlotinib and lapatinib for various forms of EGFR were measured, and the therapeutic and mechanistic implications of these results considered.
Project description:The tyrosine kinase inhibitors gefitinib (Iressa) and erlotinib (Tarceva) have shown anti-tumor activity in the treatment of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). Dramatic and durable responses have occurred in NSCLC tumors with mutations in the tyrosine kinase domain of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). In contrast, these inhibitors have shown limited efficacy in glioblastoma, where a distinct EGFR mutation, the variant III (vIII) in-frame deletion of exons 2-7, is commonly found. In this study, we determined that EGFRvIII mutation was present in 5% (3/56) of analyzed human lung squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) but was not present in human lung adenocarcinoma (0/123). We analyzed the role of the EGFRvIII mutation in lung tumorigenesis and its response to tyrosine kinase inhibition. Tissue-specific expression of EGFRvIII in the murine lung led to the development of NSCLC. Most importantly, these lung tumors depend on EGFRvIII expression for maintenance. Treatment with an irreversible EGFR inhibitor, HKI-272, dramatically reduced the size of these EGFRvIII-driven murine tumors in 1 week. Similarly, Ba/F3 cells transformed with the EGFRvIII mutant were relatively resistant to gefitinib and erlotinib in vitro but proved sensitive to HKI-272. These findings suggest a therapeutic strategy for cancers harboring the EGFRvIII mutation.
Project description:Erlotinib and gefitinib, tyrosine kinase inhibitors used to block EGFR (epidermal growth factor receptor) signalling in cancer, are thought to bind only the active conformation of the EGFR-TKD (tyrosine kinase domain). Through parallel computational and crystallographic studies, we show in the present study that erlotinib also binds the inactive EGFR-TKD conformation, which may have significant implications for its use in EGFR-mutated cancers.
Project description:Since epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is commonly deregulated in pre-malignant lung epithelium, targeting EGFR may arrest the development of lung cancer. Here, we showed that honokiol (2.5-7.5 ?M), a bioactive compound of Magnolia officinalis, differentially suppressed proliferation (up to 93%) and induced apoptosis (up to 61%) of EGFR overexpressing tumorigenic bronchial cells and these effects were paralleled by downregulation of phospho-EGFR, phospho-Akt, phospho-STAT3 and cell cycle-related proteins as early as 6-12 h post-treatment. Autocrine secretion of EGF sensitized 1170 cells to the effects of honokiol. Molecular docking studies indicated that honokiol binds to the tyrosine kinase domain of EGFR although it was less efficient than erlotinib. However, the anti-proliferative and pro-apoptotic activities of honokiol were stronger than those of erlotinib. Upon combinatory treatment, honokiol sensitized bronchial cells and erlotinib resistant H1650 and H1975 cells to erlotinib. Furthermore, in a mouse lung tumor bioassay, intranasal instillation of liposomal honokiol (5 mg/kg) for 14 weeks reduced the size and multiplicity (49%) of lung tumors and the level of total- and phospho-EGFR, phospho-Akt and phospho-STAT3. Overall, our results indicate that honokiol is a promising candidate to suppress the development and even progression of lung tumors driven by EGFR deregulation.
Project description:Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) targeted therapies have shown limited efficacy in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) patients despite its overexpression. Identifying molecular mechanisms associated with acquired resistance to EGFR-TKIs such as erlotinib remains an unmet need and a therapeutic challenge. In this study, we employed an integrated multi-omics approach to delineate mechanisms associated with acquired resistance to erlotinib by carrying out whole exome sequencing, quantitative proteomic and phosphoproteomic profiling. We observed amplification of several genes including AXL kinase and transcription factor YAP1 resulting in protein overexpression. We also observed expression of constitutively active mutant MAP2K1 (p.K57E) in erlotinib resistant SCC-R cells. An integrated analysis of genomic, proteomic and phosphoproteomic data revealed alterations in MAPK pathway and its downstream targets in SCC-R cells. We demonstrate that erlotinib-resistant cells are sensitive to MAPK pathway inhibition. This study revealed multiple genetic, proteomic and phosphoproteomic alterations associated with erlotinib resistant SCC-R cells. Our data indicates that therapeutic targeting of MAPK pathway is an effective strategy for treating erlotinib-resistant HNSCC tumors.