Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy often provides a dramatic response in lung cancer patients with EGFR mutations. In addition, moderate clinical efficacy of the EGFR-TKI, erlotinib, has been shown in lung cancer patients with the wild-type EGFR. Numerous molecular mechanisms that cause acquired resistance to EGFR-TKIs have been identified in lung cancers with the EGFR mutations; however, few have been reported in lung cancers with the wild-type EGFR. We used H358 lung adenocarcinoma cells lacking EGFR mutations that showed modest sensitivity to erlotinib. The H358 cells acquired resistance to erlotinib via chronic exposure to the drug. The H358 erlotinib-resistant (ER) cells do not have a secondary EGFR mutation, neither MET gene amplification nor PTEN downregulation; these have been identified in lung cancers with the EGFR mutations. From comprehensive screening of receptor tyrosine kinase phosphorylation, we observed increased phosphorylation of insulin-like growth factor 1 receptor (IGF1R) in H358ER cells compared with parental H358 cells. H358ER cells responded to combined therapy with erlotinib and NVP-AEW541, an IGF1R-TKI. Our results indicate that IGF1R activation is a molecular mechanism that confers acquired resistance to erlotinib in lung cancers with the wild-type EGFR.
Keywords: AXL; EGFR-TKI resistance; IGF1R; in vitro model.
© 2014 UICC.