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Cancer Sci. 2010 Sep;101(9):2033-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1349-7006.2010.01637.x.

Sprouty2 protein enhances the response to gefitinib through epidermal growth factor receptor in colon cancer cells.

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Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Medicine, National Cheng Kung University, Tainan, Taiwan.


Sprouty2 (Spry2) is known to increase the expression of epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR) by conjugating with c-Casitas B-lineage lymphoma (C-Cbl) to decrease protein degradation. The effect of Spry2 on the treatment of gefitinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor of EGFR, with regards to colon cancer is still unclear. The half maximal inhibitory concentration (IC50) values of gefitinib in six colon cancer cell lines were assessed. HCT116 and C2BBel cells expressed lower levels of Spry2 protein and were less sensitive to gefitinib, whereas HT29 cells that expressed high levels of Spry2 protein were more sensitive to gefitinib. The sensitivity to gefitinib was increased after overexpression of Spry2 in HCT116 cells, whereas it was decreased after Spry2 knockdown in HT29 cells. The levels of both phosphorylated and total EGFR were increased when HCT116 cells ectopically overexpressed Spry2, with concomitant increase in phosphatase and tensin homolog (PTEN) expression. Inhibition of EGFR by cetuximab reduced sensitivity to gefitinib in HCT116 cells overexpressing Spry2. However, knockdown of PTEN or K-ras failed to diminish the effect of Spry2 on gefitinib sensitivity. Of note, Spry2 enhanced the antitumor effect of gefitinib in a xenograft model of HCT116 tumors, which harbored K-ras codon 13 mutation. In conclusion, Spry2 can enhance the response of colon cancer cells to gefitinib by increasing the expression of phosphorylated and total EGFR. These results suggest that Spry2 may be a potential biomarker in predicting the response to anti-EGFR treatment in colon cancer and that it is necessary to conduct clinical studies to incorporate Spry2 into the network of cancer treatment.

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