ZD6474, a dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor of EGFR and VEGFR-2, inhibits MAPK/ERK and AKT/PI3-K and induces apoptosis in breast cancer cells

Siddik Sarkar, Abhijit Mazumdar, Rupesh Dash, Devanand Sarkar, Paul B Fisher, Mahitosh Mandal
Cancer Biology & Therapy 2010 April 15, 9 (8): 592-603
Abnormalities in gene expression and signaling pathways downstream of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) contribute to the progression, invasion, and maintenance of the malignant phenotype in human cancers, including breast. Consequently, the dual kinase inhibitor of EGFR and VEGFR ZD6474 represents a promising biologically-based treatment that is currently undergoing clinical trials for non-small cell lung cancer. Patients suffering from breast cancers have a poor prognosis because of the lack of effective agents and treatment strategies. We hypothesized that inhibition of phosphorylation of the EGFR and VEGFR by ZD6474 would inhibit breast cancer cell proliferation and induce apoptosis. This hypothesis was tested using human breast cancer cell lines. ZD6474 inhibited cell proliferation in a dose-dependent manner, by blocking cell progression at the G(0)-G(1) stage, through downregulation of expression of cyclin D1 and cyclin E. In vitro, ZD6474 inhibited growth factor-induced phosphorylation of EGFR, VEGFR-2, MAPK and Akt. ZD6474 also downregulated anti-apoptotic markers including Bcl-2, upregulated pro-apoptotic signaling events involving expression of bax, activation of caspase-3, and induction of poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase during apoptosis. ZD6474 inhibited anchorage independent colony formation using soft agar assays, and invasion of breast cancer cells in vitro using Boyden chamber assays. In a xenograft model using human MDA-MB-231 breast cancer cells, ZD6474 inhibited tumor growth and induced cancer-specific apoptosis. Collectively, these data imply that ZD6474 a dual kinase inhibitor has potential for the targeted therapy of breast cancer.

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