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Oncogene. 2016 Jul 7;35(27):3587-97. doi: 10.1038/onc.2015.426. Epub 2015 Nov 9.

Co-active receptor tyrosine kinases mitigate the effect of FGFR inhibitors in FGFR1-amplified lung cancers with low FGFR1 protein expression.

Author information

1
Division of Medical Oncology, Cancer Research Institute, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan.
2
Department of Pathology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA, USA.
3
Department of Molecular and Cellular Pathology, Graduate School of Medical Science, Kanazawa University, Kanazawa, Japan.
4
VCU Philips Institute for Oral Health Research, School of Dentistry and Massey Cancer Center, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA, USA.

Abstract

Targeted therapies are effective in subsets of lung cancers with EGFR mutations and anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) translocations. Large-scale genomics have recently expanded the lung cancer landscape with FGFR1 amplification found in 10-20% of squamous cell carcinomas (SCCs). However, the response rates have been low for biomarker-directed fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR) inhibitor therapy in SCC, which contrasts to the relatively high rates of response seen in EGFR mutant and ALK-translocated lung cancers treated with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors and ALK inhibitors, respectively. In order to better understand the low response rates of FGFR1-amplified lung cancers to FGFR inhibitors, relationships between gene copy number, mRNA expression and protein expression of FGFR1 were assessed in cell lines, tumor specimens and data from The Cancer Genome Atlas. The importance of these factors for the sensitivity to FGFR inhibitors was determined by analyzing drug screen data and conducting in vitro and in vivo experiments. We report that there was a discrepancy between FGFR1 amplification level and FGFR1 protein expression in a number of these cell lines, and the cancers with unexpectedly low FGFR1 expression were uniformly resistant to the different FGFR inhibitors. Further interrogation of the receptor tyrosine kinase activity in these discordant cell lines revealed co-activation of HER2 and platelet-derived growth factor receptor-α (PDGFRα) caused by gene amplification or ligand overexpression maintained phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3K) and MEK/ERK signaling even in the presence of FGFR inhibitor. Accordingly, co-inhibition of FGFR1 and HER2 or PDGFRα led to enhanced drug responses. In contrast, FGFR1-amplified high FGFR1 protein-expressing lung cancers are sensitive to FGFR inhibitor monotherapy by downregulating ERK signaling. Addition of a PI3K inhibitor to these high FGFR1 protein-expressing cancers further sensitized them to FGFR inhibitor. These data reveal that biomarker-directed trials for FGFR1-amplified SCC require assessment of FGFR1 protein expression and uncover novel therapeutic strategies for FGFR1-amplified SCC with low FGFR1 protein expression.

PMID:
26549034
DOI:
10.1038/onc.2015.426
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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