Molecular cancer therapeutics

A Potent HER3 Monoclonal Antibody That Blocks Both Ligand-Dependent and -Independent Activities: Differential Impacts of PTEN Status on Tumor Response.

PMID 26880266


HER3/ERBB3 is a kinase-deficient member of the EGFR family receptor tyrosine kinases (RTK) that is broadly expressed and activated in human cancers. HER3 is a compelling cancer target due to its important role in activation of the oncogenic PI3K/AKT pathway. It has also been demonstrated to confer tumor resistance to a variety of cancer therapies, especially targeted drugs against EGFR and HER2. HER3 can be activated by its ligand (heregulin/HRG), which induces HER3 heterodimerization with EGFR, HER2, or other RTKs. Alternatively, HER3 can be activated in a ligand-independent manner through heterodimerization with HER2 in HER2-amplified cells. We developed a fully human mAb against HER3 (KTN3379) that efficiently suppressed HER3 activity in both ligand-dependent and independent settings. Correspondingly, KTN3379 inhibited tumor growth in divergent tumor models driven by either ligand-dependent or independent mechanisms in vitro and in vivo Most intriguingly, while investigating the mechanistic underpinnings of tumor response to KTN3379, we discovered an interesting dichotomy in that PTEN loss, a frequently occurring oncogenic lesion in a broad range of cancer types, substantially blunted the tumor response in HER2-amplified cancer, but not in the ligand-driven cancer. To our knowledge, this represents the first study ascertaining the impact of PTEN loss on the antitumor efficacy of a HER3 mAb. KTN3379 is currently undergoing a phase Ib clinical trial in patients with advanced solid tumors. Our current study may help us optimize patient selection schemes for KTN3379 to maximize its clinical benefits. Mol Cancer Ther; 15(4); 689-701. ©2016 AACR.