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Mol Cancer Res. 2019 Jan;17(1):20-29. doi: 10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-18-0341. Epub 2018 Aug 21.

Endothelial Cells Promote Colorectal Cancer Cell Survival by Activating the HER3-AKT Pathway in a Paracrine Fashion.

Author information

1
Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.
2
Department of Surgical Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas. lellis@mdanderson.org.
3
Department of Molecular and Cellular Oncology, The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas.

Abstract

The regulation of colorectal cancer cell survival pathways remains to be elucidated. Previously, it was demonstrated that endothelial cells (EC) from the liver (liver parenchymal ECs or LPEC), the most common site of colorectal cancer metastases, secrete soluble factors in the conditioned medium (CM) that, in turn, increase the cancer stem cell phenotype in colorectal cancer cells. However, the paracrine effects of LPECs on other colorectal cancer cellular functions have not been investigated. Here, results showed that CM from LPECs increased cell growth and chemoresistance by activating AKT in colorectal cancer cells in vitro. Using an unbiased receptor tyrosine kinase array, it was determined that human epidermal growth factor receptor 3 (ERBB3/HER3) was activated by CM from LPECs, and it mediated AKT activation, cell growth, and chemoresistance in colorectal cancer cells. Inhibition of HER3, either by an inhibitor AZD8931 or an antibody MM-121, blocked LPEC-induced HER3-AKT activation and cell survival in colorectal cancer cells. In addition, CM from LPECs increased in vivo tumor growth in a xenograft mouse model. Furthermore, inhibiting HER3 with AZD8931 significantly blocked tumor growth induced by EC CM. These results demonstrated a paracrine role of liver ECs in promoting cell growth and chemoresistance via activating HER3-AKT in colorectal cancer cells. IMPLICATIONS: This study suggested a potential of treating patients with metastatic colorectal cancer with HER3 antibodies/inhibitors that are currently being assessed in clinical trials for various cancer types.

PMID:
30131447
PMCID:
PMC6318043
[Available on 2020-01-01]
DOI:
10.1158/1541-7786.MCR-18-0341

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