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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 
 
 

c-Src activation mediates erlotinib resistance in head and neck cancer by stimulating c-Met.

PURPOSE: Strategies to inhibit the EGF receptor (EGFR) using the tyrosine kinase inhibitor erlotinib have been associated with limited clinical efficacy in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Co-activation of alternative kinases may contribute to erlotinib resistance. EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We generated HNSCC cells expressing dominant-active c-Src (DA-Src) to determine the contribution of c-Src activation to erlotinib response. RESULTS: Expression of DA-Src conferred resistance to erlotinib in vitro and in vivo compared with vector-transfected control cells. Phospho-Met was strongly upregulated by DA-Src, and DA-Src cells did not produce hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). Knockdown of c-Met enhanced sensitivity to erlotinib in DA-Src cells in vitro, as did combining a c-Met or c-Src inhibitor with erlotinib. Inhibiting EGFR resulted in minimal reduction of phospho-Met in DA-Src cells, whereas complete phospho-Met inhibition was achieved by inhibiting c-Src. A c-Met inhibitor significantly sensitized DA-Src tumors to erlotinib in vivo, resulting in reduced Ki67 labeling and increased apoptosis. In parental cells, knockdown of endogenous c-Src enhanced sensitivity to erlotinib, whereas treatment with HGF to directly induce phospho-Met resulted in erlotinib resistance. The level of endogenous phospho-c-Src in HNSCC cell lines was also significantly correlated with erlotinib resistance. CONCLUSIONS: Ligand-independent activation of c-Met contributes specifically to erlotinib resistance, not cetuximab resistance, in HNSCC with activated c-Src, where c-Met activation is more dependent on c-Src than on EGFR, providing an alternate survival pathway. Addition of a c-Met or c-Src inhibitor to erlotinib may increase efficacy of EGFR inhibition in patients with activated c-Src.[1]

References

  1. c-Src activation mediates erlotinib resistance in head and neck cancer by stimulating c-Met. Stabile, L.P., He, G., Lui, V.W., Thomas, S., Henry, C., Gubish, C.T., Joyce, S., Quesnelle, K.M., Siegfried, J.M., Grandis, J.R. Clin. Cancer Res. (2013) [Pubmed]
 
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