Recent findings in tumor biopsies from lung adenocarcinoma patients suggest that somatic mutations in the genes encoding epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and Kirsten ras (KRAS) confer sensitivity and resistance, respectively, to EGFR inhibition. Here, we provide evidence that these genetic mutations are not sufficient to modulate the biological response of lung adenocarcinoma cells to EGFR inhibition. We found high expression of ErbB family members, ErbB ligands, or both in three models that were sensitive to EGFR inhibition, including alveolar epithelial neoplastic lesions in mice that develop lung adenocarcinoma by oncogenic KRAS, human lung adenocarcinoma cell lines, and tumor biopsies from lung adenocarcinoma patients. Thus, lung adenocarcinoma cells that depend on EGFR for survival constitutively activate the receptor through a combination of genetic mutations and overexpression of EGFR dimeric partners and their ligands.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research