Transcriptional activation of cyclin D1 via HER2/HER3 contributes to EGFR-TKI resistance in lung cancer

Lung Cancer

Liu B, et al. Biochem Pharmacol 2020.


Several different mechanisms are implicated in the resistance of lung cancer cells to epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs), and only few have been functionally investigated. Here, using genetically knocked out EGFR and TKI-resistant lung cancer cells, we show that loss of wild-type EGFR attenuates cell proliferation, migration and 3D-spheroid formation, whereas loss of mutant EGFR or resistance to TKIs reinforces those processes. Consistently, disruption of

wild-type EGFR leads to suppression of HER2/HER3, while mutant EGFR ablation or resistance to TKIs increases HER2/HER3 expression, compensating for EGFR loss. Furthermore, HER2/HER3 nuclear translocation mediates overexpression of cyclin D1, leading to tumor cell survival and drug resistance. Cyclin D1/CDK4/6 inhibition resensitizes erlotinib-resistant (ER) cells to erlotinib. Analysis of cyclin D1 expression in patients with non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) showed that its expression is negatively associated with overall survival and disease-free survival. Our results provide biological and mechanistic insights into targeting EGFR and TKI resistance.