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Neoplasia. 2013 Jan;15(1):61-72.

Molecular mechanisms underlying the antitumor activity of 3-aminopropanamide irreversible inhibitors of the epidermal growth factor receptor in non-small cell lung cancer.

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  • 1Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, University of Parma, Parma, Italy.


Overcoming the emergence of acquired resistance to clinically approved epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors is a major challenge in the treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The aim of this study was to investigate the effects of a series of novel compounds affecting viability of NSCLC NCI-H1975 cells (carrying the EGFR T790M mutation). The inhibition of the autophosphorylation of EGFR occurred at nanomolar concentrations and both UPR1282 and UPR1268 caused a significant induction of apoptosis. Targeting of EGFR and downstream pathways was confirmed by a peptide substrate array, which highlighted the inhibition of other kinases involved in NSCLC cell aggressive behavior. Accordingly, the drugs inhibited migration (about 30% vs. control), which could be, in part, explained also by the increase of E-cadherin expression. Additionally, we observed a contraction of the volume of H1975 spheroids, associated with the reduction of the cancer stem-like cell hallmark CD133. The activity of UPR1282 was retained in H1975 xenograft models where it determined tumor shrinkage (P < .05) and resulted well tolerated compared to canertinib. Of note, the kinase activity profile of UPR1282 on xenograft tumor tissues showed overlapping results with respect to the activity in H1975 cells, unraveling the inhibition of kinases involved in pivotal proliferation and invasive signaling pathways. In conclusion, UPR1282 and UPR1268 are effective against various processes involved in malignancy transformation and progression and may be promising compounds for the future treatment of gefitinib-resistant NSCLCs.

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