PURPOSE: Cetuximab and panitumumab have an effective therapeutic response in a subset ofRASWild-Type (WT) metastatic colorectal cancers (mCRCs). Despite molecular-driven selection, all patients do not respond to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) inhibitors and the onset of secondary resistance limits their clinical benefit.
EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN: We tested,in vitroandin vivo, the effect of SYM004, a 1:1 mixture of two recombinant human-mouse chimeric monoclonal antibodies (mAbs) directed against non-overlapping epitopes of the EGFR, on CRC models with acquired resistance to cetuximab.
RESULTS: SYM004 showed a potent growth inhibitory effect in CRC cell lines with acquired resistance to cetuximab and MET activation. SYM004 treatment determined a significant induction of apoptosis and a strong inhibition of MET, AKT and MAPK phosphorilation in these resistant models. The data may further suggest SYM004 -driven induced internalization and degradation of the antibody-receptor complex, which prevents cross-interaction between EGFR and MET even in the presence of TGFα. Moreover,in vivoxenograft studies demonstrated that SYM004 has stronger antitumor activity than cetuximab in CRC models. Importantly, in the current work we observed a response to therapy in all cetuximab resistant tumors mice treated with SYM004. More importantly, four out of seven mice continue to respond to SYM004 after 30 weeks of treatment underling the prolonged effect of the drug.
CONCLUSION: These results suggest that the treatment with SYM004 could be a strategy to overcome acquired resistance to first generation of anti-EGFR therapies in mCRC as a result of MET activation.