Blockade of EGFR and ErbB2 by the novel dual EGFR and ErbB2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor GW572016 sensitizes human colon carcinoma GEO cells to apoptosis

Yunfei Zhou, Song Li, Yi P Hu, Jing Wang, Jennie Hauser, Alexis N Conway, Michelle A Vinci, Lisa Humphrey, Elizabeth Zborowska, James K V Willson, Michael G Brattain
Cancer Research 2006 January 1, 66 (1): 404-11
Coexpression of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family receptors is found in a subset of colon cancers, which may cooperatively promote cancer cell growth and survival, as heterodimerization is known to provide for diversification of signal transduction. Recently, efforts have been made to develop novel 4-anilinoquinazoline and pyridopyrimidine derivatives to inhibit EGFR and ErbB2 kinases simultaneously. In this study, we tested the efficacy of a novel reversible dual inhibitor GW572016 compared with the selective EGFR and ErbB2 tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) AG1478 and AG879 and their combination, using the human colon adenocarcinoma GEO mode. GEO cells depend on multiple ErbB receptors for aberrant growth. A synergistic effect on inhibition of cell proliferation associated with induction of apoptosis was observed from the combination of AG1478 and AG879. Compared with AG1478 or AG879, the single TKI compound GW572016 was a more potent inhibitor of GEO cell proliferation and was able to induce apoptosis at lower concentrations. Western blot analysis revealed that AG1478 and AG879 were unable to suppress both EGFR and ErbB2 activation as well as the downstream mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and AKT pathways as single agents. In contrast, GW572016 suppressed the activation of EGFR, ErbB2, MAPK, and AKT in a concentration-dependent manner. Finally, in vivo studies showed that GW572016 treatment efficiently blocked GEO xenograft growth at a dose range of 30 to 200 mg/kg with a twice-daily schedule. In summary, our study indicates that targeting both EGFR and ErbB2 simultaneously could enhance therapy over that of single agents directed at EGFR or ErbB2 in cancers that can be identified as being primarily heterodimer-dependent.

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