Purpose:The resistance to selective EGFR inhibitors involves the activation of alternative signaling pathways, and Akt activation and VEGF induction have been described in EGFR inhibitor - resistant tumors. Combined inhibition of EGFR and other signaling proteins has become a successful therapeutic approach, stimulating the search for further determinants of resistance as basis for novel therapeutic strategies. Experimental Design: We established human cancer cell lines with various degrees of EGFR expression and sensitivity to EGFR inhibitors and analyzed signal transducers under the control of EGFR-dependent and EGFR-independent pathways. Results: Multitargeted inhibitor vandetanib (ZD6474) inhibited the growth and the phosphorylation of Akt and its effector p70S6 kinase in both wild-type and EGFR inhibitor-resistant human colon, prostate, and breast cancer cells. We found that the resistant cell lines exhibit, as common feature, VEGFR-1/Flt-1 overexpression, increased secretion of VEGF and placental growth factor, and augmented migration capabilities and that vandetanib is able to antagonize them. Accordingly, a new kinase assay revealed that in addition to VEGF receptor (VEGFR) -2, RET, and EGFR, vandetanib efficiently inhibits also VEGFR-1. The contribution of VEGFR-1 to the resistant phenotype was further supported by the demonstration that VEGFR-1 silencing in resistant cells restored sensitivity to anti-EGFR drugs and impaired migration capabilities,whereas exogenous VEGFR-1 overexpression in wild-type cells conferred resistance to these agents. Conclusions: This study shows that VEGFR-1 contributes to anti-EGFR drug resistance in different human cancer cells. Moreover, vandetanib inhibits VEGFR-1 activation, cell proliferation, and migration, suggesting its potential utility in patients resistant to EGFR inhibitors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research