The c-Met receptor tyrosine kinase has been implicated in cellular transformation induced by mutant Ras, a commonly activated proto-oncogene in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, the role of c-Met has not been defined in K-ras-mutant NSCLC, a disease for which no effective targeted therapeutic options currently exist. To acquire a greater understanding of its role, we used genetic and pharmacologic approaches to inhibit c-Met in mice and cultured cells. In KrasLA1 mice, which develop premalignant lung lesions that progress to multifocal lung adenocarcinomas owing to somatic mutations in K-ras, c-Met was expressed in multiple cell types within premalignant lung lesions, and high concentrations of HGF were detected in bronchoalveolar lavage samples. Short-term treatment with PHA-665752, a c-Met inhibitor, decreased the numbers of premalignant lung lesions and induced apoptosis in tumor cells and vascular endothelial cells within lesions. In cell culture, PHA-665752 induced apoptosis of a lung adenocarcinoma cell line derived from KrasLA1 mice (LKR-13) and a murine lung endothelial cell line (MEC). c-Met depletion by siRNA transfection induced apoptosis of MECs but not LKR-13 cells. Collectively, these findings suggest that apoptosis was an on-target effect of PHA-665752 in MECs but not in LKR-13 cells. We conclude that PHA-665752 inhibited lung tumorigenesis in KrasLA1 mice and may provide a novel therapeutic approach to the prevention of K-ras-mutant NSCLC.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research