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Oncogenesis

ERBB3 is required for metastasis formation of melanoma cells.


PMID 25000258

Abstract

Melanoma is curable when it is at an early phase but is lethal once it becomes metastatic. The recent development of BRAF(V600E) inhibitors (BIs) showed great promise in treating metastatic melanoma, but resistance developed quickly in the treated patients, and these inhibitors are not effective on melanomas that express wild-type BRAF. Alternative therapeutic strategies for metastatic melanoma are urgently needed. Here we report that ERBB3, a member of the epidermal growth factor receptor family, is required for the formation of lung metastasis from both the BI-sensitive melanoma cell line, MA-2, and the BI-resistant melanoma cell line, 451Lu-R. Further analyses revealed that ERBB3 does not affect the initial seeding of melanoma cells in lung but is required for their further development into overt metastases, indicating that ERBB3 might be essential for the survival of melanoma cells after they reach the lung. Consistent with this, the ERBB3 ligand, NRG1, is highly expressed in mouse lungs and induces ERBB3-depdnent phosphorylation of AKT in both MA-2 and 451Lu-R cells in vitro. These findings suggest that ERBB3 may serve as a target for treating metastatic melanomas that are resistant to BIs. In support of this, administration of the pan-ERBB inhibitor, canertinib, significantly suppresses the metastasis formation of BI-resistant melanoma cell lines.

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