Met-amplified epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)-resistant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring an activating EGFR mutation is responsive to concurrent EGFR-TKI and Met-TKI treatment in a preclinical model. Here, we determined that Met-amplified gefitinib-resistant cells acquire dual resistance to inhibition of EGFR and Met tyrosine kinase activities. PC-9 lung adenocarcinoma cells harboring 15-bp deletions (Del E746_A750) in EGFR exon 19 were treated with increasing concentrations of the Met-TKI PHA665752 and 1 μM gefitinib for 1 year; three resistant clones were established via Met amplification. The three dual-resistance cell lines (PC-9DR2, -9DR4, and -9DR6, designated as DR2, DR4, and DR6, respectively) exhibited different mechanisms for evading both EGFR and Met inhibition. None of the clones harbored a secondary mutation of EGFR T790M or a Met mutation. Insulin-like growth factor (IGF)/IGF1 receptor activation in DR2 and DR4 cells acted as a bypass signaling pathway. Met expression was attenuated to a greater extent in DR2 than in PC-9 cells, but was maintained in DR4 cells by overexpression of IGF-binding protein 3. In DR6 cells, Met was further amplified by association with heat shock protein (HSP) 90, which protected Met from degradation and induced SET and MYND domain-containing 3 (SMYD3)-mediated Met transcription. This is the first report describing the acquisition of dual resistance mechanisms in NSCLC harboring an activating EGFR mutation to Met-TKI and EGFR-TKI following previous EGFR-TKI treatment. These results might inform the development of more effective therapeutic strategies for NSCLC treatment.
- Received May 17, 2016.
- Revision received August 3, 2016.
- Accepted August 6, 2016.
- Copyright ©2016, American Association for Cancer Research.