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      Acquisition of EGFR TKI resistance and EMT phenotype is linked with activation of IGF1R/NF-κB pathway in EGFR-mutant NSCLC

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          Epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is clinically associated with acquired resistance to epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) in non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC). However, the mechanisms promoting EMT in EGFR TKI-resistant NSCLC have not been fully elucidated. Previous studies have suggested that IGF1R signaling is involved in both acquired EGFR TKI resistance in NSCLC and induction of EMT in some types of tumor. In this study, we further explored the role of the IGF1R signaling in the acquisition of EMT phenotype associated with EGFR TKI resistance in mutant-EGFR NSCLC. Compared to gefitinib-sensitive parental cells, gefitinib-resistant (GR) cells displayed an EMT phenotype associated with increased migration and invasion abilities with the concomitant activation of IGF1R and NF-κB p65 signaling. Inhibition of IGF1R or p65 using pharmacological inhibitor or specific siRNA partially restored sensitivity to gefitinib with the concomitant reversal of EMT in GR cells. Conversely, exogenous IGF1 induced both gefitinib resistance and accompanying EMT in parental cells. We also demonstrated that IGF1R could phosphorylate downstream Akt and Erk to activate NF-κB p65. Taken together, our findings indicate that activation of IGF1R/Akt/Erk/NF-κB signaling is linked to the acquisition of EGFR TKI resistance and EMT phenotype in EGFR-mutant NSCLC and could be a novel therapeutic target for advanced NSCLC.

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          Most cited references 48

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          Acquisition of epithelial-mesenchymal transition phenotype of gemcitabine-resistant pancreatic cancer cells is linked with activation of the notch signaling pathway.

          Despite rapid advances in many fronts, pancreatic cancer (PC) remains one of the most difficult human malignancies to treat due, in part, to de novo and acquired chemoresistance and radioresistance. Gemcitabine alone or in combination with other conventional therapeutics is the standard of care for the treatment of advanced PC without any significant improvement in the overall survival of patients diagnosed with this deadly disease. Previous studies have shown that PC cells that are gemcitabine-resistant (GR) acquired epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) phenotype, which is reminiscent of "cancer stem-like cells"; however, the molecular mechanism that led to EMT phenotype has not been fully investigated. The present study shows that Notch-2 and its ligand, Jagged-1, are highly up-regulated in GR cells, which is consistent with the role of the Notch signaling pathway in the acquisition of EMT and cancer stem-like cell phenotype. We also found that the down-regulation of Notch signaling was associated with decreased invasive behavior of GR cells. Moreover, down-regulation of Notch signaling by siRNA approach led to partial reversal of the EMT phenotype, resulting in the mesenchymal-epithelial transition, which was associated with decreased expression of vimentin, ZEB1, Slug, Snail, and nuclear factor-kappaB. These results provide molecular evidence showing that the activation of Notch signaling is mechanistically linked with chemoresistance phenotype (EMT phenotype) of PC cells, suggesting that the inactivation of Notch signaling by novel strategies could be a potential targeted therapeutic approach for overcoming chemoresistance toward the prevention of tumor progression and/or treatment of metastatic PC.
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            Activation of NF-kappaB by Akt upregulates Snail expression and induces epithelium mesenchyme transition.

            Carcinoma progression is associated with the loss of epithelial features, and the acquisition of mesenchymal characteristics and invasive properties by tumour cells. The loss of cell-cell contacts may be the first step of the epithelium mesenchyme transition (EMT) and involves the functional inactivation of the cell-cell adhesion molecule E-cadherin. Repression of E-cadherin expression by the transcription factor Snail is a central event during the loss of epithelial phenotype. Akt kinase activation is frequent in human carcinomas, and Akt regulates various cellular mechanisms including EMT. Here, we show that Snail activation and consequent repression of E-cadherin may depend on AKT-mediated nuclear factor-kappaB (NF-kappaB) activation, and that NF-kappaB induces Snail expression. Expression of the NF-kappaB subunit p65 is sufficient for EMT induction, validating this signalling module during EMT. NF-kappaB pathway activation is associated with tumour progression and metastasis of several human tumour types; E-cadherin acts as a metastasis suppressor protein. Thus, this signalling and transcriptional network linking AKT, NF-kappaB, Snail and E-cadherin during EMT is a potential target for antimetastatic therapeutics.
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              Insulin-like growth factor-I-dependent up-regulation of ZEB1 drives epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition in human prostate cancer cells.

              The epithelial-to-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is crucial for the migration and invasion of many epithelial tumors, including prostate cancer. Although it is known that ZEB1 overexpression promotes EMT primarily through down-regulation of E-cadherin in a variety of cancers, the soluble ligands responsible for the activation of ZEB1 have yet to be identified. In the present study, we investigated the role of insulin-like growth factor-I (IGF-I) in the regulation of ZEB1 during EMT associated with prostate tumor cell migration. We found that ZEB1 is expressed in highly aggressive prostate cancer cells and that its expression correlates directly with Gleason grade in human prostate tumors (P < 0.001). IGF-I up-regulates ZEB1 expression in prostate cancer cells exhibiting an epithelial phenotype. In prostate cancer cells displaying a mesenchymal phenotype, ZEB1 inhibition reverses the suppression of E-cadherin protein and down-regulates the expression of the mesenchymal markers N-cadherin and fibronectin. Furthermore, ZEB1 blockade decreases migratory and invasive potential in ARCaP(M) compared with the control. These results identify ZEB1 as a key transcriptional regulator of EMT in prostate cancer and suggest that the aberrant expression of ZEB1 in prostate cancer cells occurs in part in response to IGF-I stimulation.

                Author and article information

                Impact Journals LLC
                3 November 2017
                21 September 2017
                : 8
                : 54
                : 92240-92253
                1 Department of Pharmacology, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, China
                Author notes
                Correspondence to: Lu Xu, luxuluxu@
                Copyright: © 2017 Li et al.

                This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC-BY), which permits unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.

                Research Paper

                Oncology & Radiotherapy

                egfr tki resistance, emt, nsclc, nf-κb, igf1r


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