SRC-family kinases are activated in non-small cell lung cancer and promote the survival of epidermal growth factor receptor-dependent cell lines

Am J Pathol. 2007 Jan;170(1):366-76. doi: 10.2353/ajpath.2007.060706.


The role of Src-family kinases (SFKs) in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) has not been fully defined. Here we addressed this question by examining SFK phosphorylation in NSCLC biopsy samples and using genetic and pharmacological approaches to inhibit SFK expression and activity in cultured NSCLC cells. Immunohistochemical analysis of NSCLC biopsy samples using a Tyr416 phosphorylation-specific, pan-SFK antibody revealed staining in 123 (33%) of 370 tumors. Because c-Src is known to be both an upstream activator and downstream mediator of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), we next investigated SFK phosphorylation in a panel of NSCLC cell lines, including ones that depend on EGFR for survival. The EGFR-dependent NSCLC cell lines HCC827 and H3255 had increased phosphorylation of SFKs, and treatment of these cells with an SFK inhibitor (PP1 or SKI-606) induced apoptosis. PP1 decreased phosphorylation of EGFR, ErbB2, and ErbB3 and strikingly enhanced apoptosis by gefitinib, an EGFR inhibitor. HCC827 cells transfected with c-Src short hairpin RNA exhibited diminished phosphorylation of EGFR and ErbB2 and decreased sensitivity to apoptosis by PP1 or gefitinib. We conclude that SFKs are activated in NSCLC biopsy samples, promote the survival of EGFR-dependent NSCLC cells, and should be investigated as therapeutic targets in NSCLC patients.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aniline Compounds / pharmacology
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / enzymology*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / pathology
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Survival
  • Enzyme Activation
  • ErbB Receptors / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology*
  • Lung Neoplasms / pathology
  • Nitriles / pharmacology
  • Phosphorylation
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology
  • Pyrimidines / pharmacology
  • Quinolines / pharmacology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • src-Family Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors
  • src-Family Kinases / metabolism*


  • 4-amino-5-(4-methylphenyl)-7-(tert-butyl)pyrazolo(3,4-d)pyrimidine
  • Aniline Compounds
  • Nitriles
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyrimidines
  • Quinolines
  • bosutinib
  • ErbB Receptors
  • src-Family Kinases