The major lung cancer-derived mutants of ERBB2 are oncogenic and are associated with sensitivity to the irreversible EGFR/ERBB2 inhibitor HKI-272

Oncogene. 2007 Jul 26;26(34):5023-7. doi: 10.1038/sj.onc.1210292. Epub 2007 Feb 19.


Mutations in the ERBB2 gene were recently found in approximately 2% of primary non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) specimens; however, little is known about the functional consequences and the relevance to responsiveness to targeted drugs for most of these mutations. Here, we show that the major lung cancer-derived ERBB2 mutants, including the most frequent mutation, A775insYVMA, lead to oncogenic transformation in a cellular assay. Murine cells transformed with these mutants were relatively resistant to the reversible epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitor erlotinib, resembling the resistant phenotype found in cells carrying the homologous mutations in exon 20 of EGFR. However, the same cells were highly sensitive to the irreversible dual-specificity EGFR/ERBB2 kinase inhibitor HKI-272, as were those overexpressing wild-type ERBB2. Finally, the NSCLC cell line, Calu-3, overexpressing wild-type ERBB2 owing to a high-level amplification of the ERBB2 gene were highly sensitive to HKI-272. These results provide a rationale for treatment of patients with ERBB2-mutant or ERBB2-amplified lung tumors with HKI-272.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / enzymology
  • Carcinoma, Non-Small-Cell Lung / genetics*
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Transformation, Neoplastic / genetics
  • ErbB Receptors / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Gene Amplification
  • Genes, erbB-2*
  • Humans
  • Lung Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Lung Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Mutation*
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Quinolines / pharmacology*
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / antagonists & inhibitors*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Quinolines
  • ErbB Receptors
  • Receptor, ErbB-2
  • neratinib