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Cells 2019 Nov 28;812:. doi: 10.3390/cells8121538.
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Afatinib Overcomes Pemetrexed-Acquired Resistance in Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer Cells Harboring an EML4-ALK Rearrangement.

Kwon JH , Kim KJ , Sung JH , Suh KJ , Lee JY , Kim JW , Kim SH , Lee JO , Kim JW , Kim YJ , Lee KW , Kim JH , Bang SM , Kim S , Yoon SS , Lee JS .

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study is to elucidate the mechanisms of acquired resistance to pemetrexed in echinoderm microtubule-associated protein-like 4 (EML4)-anaplastic lymphoma kinase (ALK) rearranged non-small cell lung cancer. METHODS: We analyzed the sensitivity to pemetrexed and the expression patterns of various proteins after pemetrexed treatment in the cell lines, A549, NCI-H460, NCI-H2228 harboring EML4-ALK variant 3, and NCI-H3122 harboring EML4-ALK variant 1. Pemetrexed-resistant cell lines were also generated through long-term exposure to pemetrexed. RESULTS: The EML4-ALK variant 1 rearranged NCI-H3122 was found to be more sensitive than the other cell lines. Cell cycle analysis after pemetrexed treatment showed that the fraction of cells in the S phase increased in A549, NCI-H460, and NCI-H2228, whereas the fraction in the apoptotic sub-G1 phase increased in NCI-H3122. The pemetrexed-resistant NCI-H3122 cell line showed increased expression of EGFR and HER2 compared to the parent cell line, whereas A549 and NCI-H460 did not show this change. The pan-HER inhibitor afatinib inhibited this alternative signaling pathway, resulting in a superior cytotoxic effect in pemetrexed-resistant NCI-H3122 cell lines compared to that in the parental cells line. CONCLUSION: The activation of EGFR-HER2 contributes to the acquisition of resistance to pemetrexed in EML4-ALK rearranged non-small cell lung cancer. However, the inhibition of this alternative survival signaling pathway with RNAi against EGFR-HER2 and with afatinib overcomes this resistance.

PubMed ID: 31795298
PMC ID: PMC6953071
Article link: Cells

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