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      Mechanisms of resistance to EGFR-targeted drugs: lung cancer

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      ESMO Open

      BMJ Publishing Group

      EGFR TKIs

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          Abstract

          Despite the improvement in clinical outcomes derived by the introduction of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) in the treatment of patients with advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) whose tumours harbour EGFR-activating mutations, prognosis remains unfavourable because of the occurrence of either intrinsic or acquired resistance. We reviewed the published literature and abstracts of oral and poster presentations from international conferences addressing EGFR-TKIs resistance mechanisms discovered in preclinical models and in patients with NSCLC. The molecular heterogeneity of lung cancer has several implications in terms of possible mechanisms of either intrinsic or acquired resistance to EGFR-targeted inhibitors. Several mechanisms of resistance have been described to EGFR-TKIs, such as the occurrence of secondary mutation (T790M, C797S), the activation of alternative signalling (Met, HGF, AXL, Hh, IGF-1R), the aberrance of the downstream pathways (AKT mutations, loss of PTEN), the impairment of the EGFR-TKIs-mediated apoptosis pathway (BCL2-like 11/BIM deletion polymorphism) and histological transformation. Although some of the mechanisms of resistance have been identified, much additional information is needed to understand and overcome resistance to EGFR-TKI agents. The majority of resistance mechanisms described are the result of a selection of pre-existing clones; thus, studies on the mechanisms by which subclonal alterations have an impact on tumour biology and influence cancer progression are extremely important in order to define the best treatment strategy.

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          Most cited references 25

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          Epithelial-mesenchymal transitions: twist in development and metastasis.

          Epithelial-mesenchymal transitions (EMT) are vital for morphogenesis during embryonic development and are also implicated in the conversion of early stage tumors into invasive malignancies. Several key inducers of EMT are transcription factors that repress E-cadherin expression. A recent report in Cell (Yang et al., 2004) adds Twist to this list and links EMT to the ability of breast cancer cells to enter the circulation and seed metastases.
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            Epithelial-mesenchymal transitions in development and pathologies.

            The epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) is a fundamental process governing morphogenesis in multicellular organisms. This process is also reactivated in a variety of diseases including fibrosis and in the progression of carcinoma. The molecular mechanisms of EMT were primarily studied in epithelial cell lines, leading to the discovery of transduction pathways involved in the loss of epithelial cell polarity and the acquisition of a variety of mesenchymal phenotypic traits. Similar mechanisms have also been uncovered in vivo in different species, showing that EMT is controlled by remarkably well-conserved mechanisms. Current studies further emphasise the critical importance of EMT and provide a better molecular and functional definition of mesenchymal cells and how they emerged >500 million years ago as a key event in evolution.
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              Activation of the PD-1 pathway contributes to immune escape in EGFR-driven lung tumors.

              The success in lung cancer therapy with programmed death (PD)-1 blockade suggests that immune escape mechanisms contribute to lung tumor pathogenesis. We identified a correlation between EGF receptor (EGFR) pathway activation and a signature of immunosuppression manifested by upregulation of PD-1, PD-L1, CTL antigen-4 (CTLA-4), and multiple tumor-promoting inflammatory cytokines. We observed decreased CTLs and increased markers of T-cell exhaustion in mouse models of EGFR-driven lung cancer. PD-1 antibody blockade improved the survival of mice with EGFR-driven adenocarcinomas by enhancing effector T-cell function and lowering the levels of tumor-promoting cytokines. Expression of mutant EGFR in bronchial epithelial cells induced PD-L1, and PD-L1 expression was reduced by EGFR inhibitors in non-small cell lung cancer cell lines with activated EGFR. These data suggest that oncogenic EGFR signaling remodels the tumor microenvironment to trigger immune escape and mechanistically link treatment response to PD-1 inhibition. We show that autochthonous EGFR-driven lung tumors inhibit antitumor immunity by activating the PD-1/PD-L1 pathway to suppress T-cell function and increase levels of proinflammatory cytokines. These findings indicate that EGFR functions as an oncogene through non-cell-autonomous mechanisms and raise the possibility that other oncogenes may drive immune escape. ©2013 AACR.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                ESMO Open
                ESMO Open
                esmoopen
                esmoopen
                ESMO Open
                BMJ Publishing Group (BMA House, Tavistock Square, London, WC1H 9JR )
                2059-7029
                2016
                11 May 2016
                : 1
                : 3
                Affiliations
                Medical Oncology, Department of Experimental and Internal Medicine “F. Magrassi e A. Lanzara”, Second University of Naples , Naples, Campania, Italy
                Author notes
                [Correspondence to ] Dr Floriana Morgillo; florianamorgillo@ 123456yahoo.com
                Article
                esmoopen-2016-000060
                10.1136/esmoopen-2016-000060
                5070275
                Published by the BMJ Publishing Group Limited. For permission to use (where not already granted under a licence) please go to http://www.bmj.com/company/products-services/rights-and-licensing/

                This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC BY-NC 4.0) license, which permits others to distribute, remix, adapt, build upon this work non-commercially, and license their derivative works on different terms, provided the original work is properly cited and the use is non-commercial. See: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/

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