Research Papers:

MerTK inhibition by RXDX-106 in MerTK activated gastric cancer cell lines

Jung Eun Kim, Youjin Kim, Gary Li, Seung Tae Kim, Kyung Kim, Se Hoon Park, Joon Oh Park, Young Suk Park, Ho Yeong Lim, Hyuk Lee, Tae Sung Sohn, Kyoung-Mee Kim, Won Ki Kang and Jeeyun Lee _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:105727-105734. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.22394

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Jung Eun Kim1,*, Youjin Kim1,*, Gary Li2,*, Seung Tae Kim1, Kyung Kim1, Se Hoon Park1, Joon Oh Park1, Young Suk Park1, Ho Yeong Lim1, Hyuk Lee2, Tae Sung Sohn2, Kyoung-Mee Kim3, Won Ki Kang1 and Jeeyun Lee1

1Division of Hematology-Oncology, Department of Medicine, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

2Ignyta, Inc., San Diego, CA, USA

3Department of Pathology and Translational Genomics, Samsung Medical Center, Sungkyunkwan University School of Medicine, Seoul, Korea

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Jeeyun Lee, email: [email protected]

Keywords: MerTK; gastric cancer; patient-derived tumor cells

Received: June 20, 2017    Accepted: October 05, 2017    Published: November 11, 2017


RXDX-106 is a potent and selective type II pseudo-irreversible (slow off-rate) inhibitor of TYRO3, AXL, MER and c-MET. MER tyrosine kinase (MerTK) is expressed in a variety of malignancies, including gastric cancer (GC). The oncogenic potential of MerTK is supported by various lines of evidence. First, we surveyed 10 GC cell lines for MerTK protein overexpression and MerTk phosphorylation. We next evaluated the change of downstream signaling molecules including (p)-ERK and (p)-AKT, following RXDX-106 treatment. We also investigated the effect of RXDX-106 in patient-derived cell lines to mimic the in vivo condition. The prevalence of MerTK protein overexpression was evaluated in 229 cancer tissue specimens. We have found that MerTK inhibitor treatment resulted in considerable inhibition of cell growth and downstream signaling. In addition, MerTK phosphorylation, not total MerTK expression, is likely more predictive of therapeutic success. p-MerTK protein overexpression by IHC was found in 18% (17/87) of GC patients. Lastly, RXDX-106 inhibited cell proliferation in MerTK activated gastric cancer cell line. These findings provide further evidence of oncogenic roles for MerTK in GC, and demonstrate the importance of kinase activity for MerTK tumorigeneicity and validate RXDX-106, a novel MerTK inhibitor, as a potential therapeutic agent for treatment of GC.

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