Tumor microenvironment induces innate RAF-inhibitor resistance through HGF secretion
Qian, Zhi Rong
Mongare, Margaret M.
Frederick, Dennie T.
Chapman, Paul B.
Solit, David B.
Lo, Roger S.
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CitationStraussman, R., T. Morikawa, K. Shee, M. Barzily-Rokni, Z. R. Qian, J. Du, A. Davis, et al. 2012. “Tumor microenvironment induces innate RAF-inhibitor resistance through HGF secretion.” Nature 487 (7408): 500-504. doi:10.1038/nature11183. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nature11183.
AbstractDrug resistance remains a vexing problem in the treatment of cancer patients. While many studies have focused on cell autonomous mechanisms of drug resistance, we hypothesized that the tumor microenvironment may confer innate resistance to therapy. Here we developed a co-culture system to systematically assay the ability of 23 stromal cell types to influence the innate resistance of 45 cancer cell lines to 35 anti-cancer drugs. We found that stroma-mediated resistance is surprisingly common – particularly to targeted agents. We further characterized the stroma-mediated resistance of BRAF-mutant melanoma to RAF inhibition because most of these patients exhibit some degree of innate resistance1-4. Proteomic analysis showed that stromal secretion of the growth factor hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) resulted in activation of the HGF receptor MET, reactivation of the MAPK and PI3K/AKT pathways, and immediate resistance to RAF inhibition. Immunohistochemistry confirmed stromal HGF expression in patients with BRAF-mutant melanoma and a statistically significant correlation between stromal HGF expression and innate resistance to treatment. Dual inhibition of RAF and MET resulted in reversal of drug resistance, suggesting RAF/MET combination therapy as a potential therapeutic strategy for BRAF-mutant melanoma. A similar resistance mechanism was uncovered in a subset of BRAF-mutant colorectal and glioblastoma cell lines. More generally, these studies indicate that the systematic dissection of tumor-microenvironment interactions may reveal important mechanisms underlying drug resistance.
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