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Mol Oncol. 2018 Jun;12(6):883-895. doi: 10.1002/1878-0261.12200. Epub 2018 May 9.

FBXW7 deletion contributes to lung tumor development and confers resistance to gefitinib therapy.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Shandong University School of Basic Medical Sciences, Jinan, China.
2
Department of Clinical Laboratory, The Second Hospital of Shandong University, Jinan, China.
3
Biological Systems and Engineering Division, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, CA, USA.
4
Instituto de Biología Molecular y Celular del Cáncer (IBMCC), Instituto Mixto Universidad de Salamanca/CSIC, IBSAL, Salamanca, Spain.

Abstract

Gefitinib, an epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EGFR-TKI), is an effective treatment for non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with EGFR activating mutations, but inevitably, the clinical efficacy is impeded by the emergence of acquired resistance. The tumor suppressor gene FBXW7 modulates chemosensitivity in various human cancers. However, its role in EGFR-TKI therapy in NSCLC has not been well studied. Here, we demonstrate that the mice with deficient Fbxw7 have greater susceptibility to urethane-induced lung tumor development. Through analysis of The Cancer Genome Atlas data, we show that deletion of FBXW7 occurs in 30.9% of lung adenocarcinomas and 63.5% of lung squamous cell carcinomas, which significantly leads to decrease in FBXW7 mRNA expression. The reduction in FBXW7 mRNA level is associated with poor overall survival in lung cancer patients. FBXW7 knockdown dramatically promotes epithelial-mesenchymal transition, migration, and invasion in NSCLC cells. Moreover, with silenced FBXW7, EGFR-TKI-sensitive cells become resistant to gefitinib, which is reversed by the mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitor, rapamycin. Furthermore, xenograft mouse model studies show that FBXW7 knockdown enhances tumorigenesis and resistance to gefitinib. Combination of gefitinib with rapamycin treatment suppresses tumor formation of gefitinib-resistant (GR) FBXW7-knockdown cells. In conclusion, our findings suggest that loss of FBXW7 promotes NSCLC progression as well as gefitinib resistance and combination of gefitinib and rapamycin may provide an effective therapy for GR NSCLC.

KEYWORDS:

NSCLC ; EGFR-TKI; FBXW7; gefitinib

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