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Gene Expr. 2018 May 18;18(2):135-147. doi: 10.3727/105221618X15174108894682. Epub 2018 Feb 6.

The Effect of Selective c-MET Inhibitor on Hepatocellular Carcinoma in the MET-Active, β-Catenin-Mutated Mouse Model.

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Division of Experimental Pathology, Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, PA, USA.
Department of Pathology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, P.R. China.


Simultaneous mutations in CTNNB1 and activation of c-MET occur in 9%-12.5% of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Coexpression of c-MET-V5 and mutant β-catenin-Myc in mouse liver by sleeping beauty transposon/transposase and hydrodynamic tail vein injection (SB-HTVI) led to the development of HCC with 70% molecular identity to the clinical subset. Using this model, we investigated the effect of EMD1214063, a highly selective c-MET inhibitor. Five weeks after SB-HTVI when tumors were established, EMD1214063 (10 mg/kg) was administered by gastric gavage as a single agent on 5-day-on/3-day-off schedule, compared to vehicle only control. Mice were harvested at 8 or 11 weeks posttreatment. Decreased p-MET, p-AKT, p-STAT3, and p-ERK proved in vivo efficacy of EMD1214063. We observed lower Ki-67, PCNA, V5-tag, and cyclin D1 after EMD1214063 treatment only at 8 weeks. Overall, no significant differences were observed in tumor burden between the groups, although EMD1214063 marginally but significantly improved overall survival by 1.5-2 weeks. Tumors remained α-fetoprotein+, did not show any differences in inflammation, and lacked fibrosis in either group. In conclusion, c-MET inhibition alone had a minor effect on Met-β-catenin HCC at the early stages of HCC development. Thus, a single therapy with the c-MET inhibitor will be insufficient for sustained response in Met-β-catenin HCC requiring assessment of additional combinations.

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