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Neoplasia. 2011 Aug;13(8):704-15.

Identification of oncogenic point mutations and hyperphosphorylation of anaplastic lymphoma kinase in lung cancer.

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Graduate Institute of Life Sciences, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan.


The oncogenic property of anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) plays an essential role in the pathogenesis of various cancers and serves as an important therapeutic target. In this study, we identified frequent intragenic loss of heterozygosity and six novel driver mutations within ALK in lung adenocarcinomas. Overexpression of H694R or E1384K mutant ALK leads to hyperphosphorylation of ALK, and activation of its downstream mediators STAT3, AKT, and ERK resulted in enhanced cell proliferation, colony formation, cell migration, and tumor growth in xenograft models. Furthermore, the activated phospho-Y1604 ALK was increasingly detected in 13 human lung cancer cell lines and 263 lung cancer specimens regardless of tumor stages and types. Treatment of two different ALK inhibitors, WHI-P154 and NVP-TAE684, resulted in the down-regulation of aberrant ALK signaling, shrinkage of tumor, and suppression of metastasis and significantly improved survival of ALK mutant-bearing mice. Together, we identified that novel ALK point mutations possessed tumorigenic effects mainly through hyperphosphorylation of Y1604 and activation of downstream oncogenic signaling. The upregulated phospho-Y1604 ALK could serve as a diagnostic biomarker for lung cancer. Furthermore, targeting oncogenic mutant ALKs with inhibitors could be a promising strategy to improve the therapeutic efficacy of fatal lung cancers.

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