Crizotinib exhibits antitumor activity by targeting ALK signaling not c-MET in pancreatic cancer

Oncotarget. 2014 Oct 15;5(19):9150-68. doi: 10.18632/oncotarget.2363.


Crizotinib, a c-MET/ALK inhibitor, has exhibited antitumor efficacy in different types of cancers. However, studies regarding Crizotinib in pancreatic cancer have been limited. Thus, we investigated the effect of Crizotinib on pancreatic cancer and its mechanism of action. Crizotinib strongly suppressed the growth and proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells in a dose-dependent manner. Also, it induced apoptosis by modulating its related factors. In the study, with regard to the mechanism of action, Crizotinib did not inhibit c-MET expression on pancreatic cancer cells; instead, it specifically inhibited the activity of ALK, which was identified to be highly expressed on various pancreatic cancer cells and tissues in our study. In 42 different receptor tyrosine kinase (RTKs) array, Crizotinib also strongly inhibited the expression of activated ALK in pancreatic cancer cells, modulating its downstream mediators such as STAT3, AKT, and ERK. Furthermore, Crizotinib inhibited angiogenesis in a mouse Matrigel plug assay as well as the progression of tumor growth in a mouse xenograft model. Taken together, our investigation shows that Crizotinib inhibits the ALK signaling pathway in pancreatic cancer, resulting in cell growth/angiogenesis inhibition and apoptosis induction. We suggest that Crizotinib might be used as a novel therapeutic drug for treating pancreatic cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Cell Proliferation / drug effects
  • Crizotinib
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases / biosynthesis
  • Humans
  • Membrane Potential, Mitochondrial
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Mice, Nude
  • Neoplasm Transplantation
  • Neovascularization, Pathologic / drug therapy
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Phosphorylation / drug effects
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt / biosynthesis
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Pyrazoles / pharmacology*
  • Pyridines / pharmacology*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases / biosynthesis
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor / biosynthesis
  • Transplantation, Heterologous


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Protein Kinase Inhibitors
  • Pyrazoles
  • Pyridines
  • STAT3 Transcription Factor
  • STAT3 protein, human
  • Crizotinib
  • ALK protein, human
  • Alk protein, mouse
  • Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase
  • MET protein, human
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-met
  • Receptor Protein-Tyrosine Kinases
  • Proto-Oncogene Proteins c-akt
  • Extracellular Signal-Regulated MAP Kinases