cMET activation and EGFR-directed therapy resistance in triple-negative breast cancer

Joohyuk Sohn, Shuying Liu, Napa Parinyanitikul, Jangsoon Lee, Gabriel N. Hort obagyi, Gordon B. Mills, Naoto T. Ueno, Ana M. Gonzalez-Angulo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Scopus citations


Background: EGFR expression and pathway activation are common in triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC). However, anti-EGFR therapies have not been effective in these patients. We aimed to study the efficacy of targeting MET in overcoming resistance to EGFR therapy in TNBC cell lines. Methods: TNBC lines (MDA-MB-468, HCC-1395, and MDA-MB-231), and a hormone receptor-positive breast cancer line (T47D) were stimulated with epidermal growth factor (EGF) and hepatocyte growth factor (HGF). Lines were then treated with different concentrations of EGFR inhibitors (gefitinib or cetuximab), with or without a MET tyrosine kinase inhibitor (EMD 1214063). Proliferation was measured by MTS assay, in soft agar and with a matrigel assay. Synergy was measured with Calcusyn. Protein expression and signaling were examined with immunoblotting. Results: There was activation of ligand-receptor-downstream signaling pathways in MDA-MB-468 and HCC-1395 upon stimulation with EGF and HGF. In these cell lines, we observed synergism when combining EGFR and MET inhibitors. These results were observed across assays. In western blotting, combination therapy resulted in abrogation of pAKT and pMAPK while monotherapy did not. Conclusion: Our data demonstrate that dual EGFR/MET inhibition is synergistic in TNBC. Targeting both EGFR and MET receptors may provide an effective therapeutic strategy in TNBC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)745-753
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Cancer
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • EGFR
  • Therapy resistance
  • Triple-negative breast cancer
  • cMET

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology


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