Research Papers:

Combinatorial treatment using targeted MEK and SRC inhibitors synergistically abrogates tumor cell growth and induces mesenchymal-epithelial transition in non-small-cell lung carcinoma

Kian Ngiap Chua _, Li Ren Kong, Wen Jing Sim, Hsien Chun Ng, Weijie Richard Ong, Jean Paul Thiery, Hung Huynh and Boon Cher Goh

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Oncotarget. 2015; 6:29991-30005. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.5031

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Kian Ngiap Chua1,*, Li Ren Kong1,*, Wen Jing Sim2,*, Hsien Chun Ng2, Weijie Richard Ong3, Jean Paul Thiery1,2,4, Hung Huynh3, Boon Cher Goh1,5,6

1Cancer Science Institute of Singapore, National University of Singapore, Singapore

2Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, A*STAR, Singapore

3National Cancer Centre, Singapore

4Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore

5Department of Hematology-Oncology, National University Hospital, Singapore

6National University Cancer Institute, Singapore

*These authors have contributed equally to this work

Correspondence to:

Boon Cher Goh, e-mail: [email protected]

Keywords: mesenchymal-epithelial transition inducer, MEK and SRC inhibitor combination treatment, PD0325901, saracatinib, non-small-cell lung cancer

Received: April 21, 2015     Accepted: August 07, 2015     Published: August 17, 2015


Oncogenesis in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is regulated by a complex signal transduction network. Single-agent targeted therapy fails frequently due to treatment insensitivity and acquired resistance. In this study, we demonstrate that co-inhibition of the MAPK and SRC pathways using a PD0325901 and Saracatinib kinase inhibitor combination can abrogate tumor growth in NSCLC. PD0325901/Saracatinib at 0.25:1 combination was screened against a panel of 28 NSCLC cell lines and 68% of cell lines were found to be sensitive (IC50 < 2 μM) to this combination. In Snail1 positive NSCLC lines, the drug combination complementarily enhanced mesenchymal-epithelial transition (MET), increasing both E-cadherin and Plakoglobin expression, and reducing Snail1, FAK and PXN expression. In addition, the drug combination abrogated cell migration and matrigel invasion. The co-inhibition of MAPK and SRC induced strong G1/G0 cell cycle arrest in the NSCLC lines, inhibited anchorage independent growth and delayed tumor growth in H460 and H358 mouse xenografts. These data provide rationale for further investigating the combination of MAPK and SRC pathway inhibitors in advanced stage NSCLC.

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