Oncology reports

AURKA upregulation plays a role in fibroblast-reduced gefitinib sensitivity in the NSCLC cell line HCC827.

PMID 25634113


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKIs) have been used to treat non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) patients that have EGFR-activating mutations. EGFR-TKI monotherapy in most NSCLC patients with EGFR mutations who initially respond to EGFR-TKIs results in the development of acquired resistance. We investigated the role of fibroblasts in stromal cell-mediated resistance to gefitinib-induced apoptosis in EGFR-mutant NSCLC cells. While gefitinib induced apoptosis in EGFR-mutant NSCLC cells, apoptosis induction was diminished under stromal co-culture conditions. Protection appeared to be mediated in part by Aurora-A kinase (AURKA) upregulation. The protective effect of stromal cells was significantly reduced by pre-exposure to AURKA-shRNA. We suggest that combinations of AURKA antagonists and EGFR inhibitors may be effective in clinical trials targeting mutant EGFR NSCLCs.