Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (gefitinib, erlotinib and afatinib) are indicated as first-line therapy in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumors harbor activating mutations in the EGFR gene. Erlotinib is also used in second and third-line therapy for patients whose tumors have wild type EGFR but to date there are no validated biomarkers useful to identify which patients may benefit from this treatment. The expression level of four miRNAs: miR-133b, -146a, -7 and -21 which target EGFR was investigated by real-time PCR in tumor specimens from NSCLC patients treated with erlotinib administered as the second or third line. We found that miR-133b expression level better discriminated responder from non-responder patients to erlotinib. Higher levels of miR-133b in NSCLCs were associated with longer progression-free survival time of patients. Functional analyses on miR-133b through transfection of a miR-133b mimic in A549 and H1299 NSCLC cell lines indicated that increasing miR-133b expression level led to a decreased cell growth and altered morphology but did not affect sensitivity to erlotinib. The detection of miR-133b expression levels in tumors help in the identification of NSCLC patients with a better prognosis and who are likely to benefit from second and third-line therapy with erlotinib.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)