Anti-EGFR antibody cetuximab is secreted by oral squamous cell carcinoma and alters EGF-driven mesenchymal transition

Toshifumi Fujiwara, Takanori Eguchi, Chiharu Sogawa, Kisho Ono, Jun Murakami, Soichiro Ibaragi, Jun-Ichi Asaumi, Kuniaki Okamoto, Stuart K Calderwood, Ken-Ichi Kozaki
Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications 2018 September 10, 503 (3): 1267-1272
Genetic amplification, overexpression, and increased signaling from the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are often found in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and thus EGFR is frequently targeted molecularly by the therapeutic antibody cetuximab. We assessed effects of cetuximab in control of EGF-driven malignant traits of OSCC cells. EGF stimulation promoted progression level of mesenchymal traits in OSCC cells, which were attenuated by cetuximab but incompletely. We pursued a potential mechanism underlying such incomplete attenuation of OSCC malignant traits. Cetuximab promoted secretion of EGFR-EVs by OSCC cells and failed to inhibit EGF-driven secretion of EGFR-EVs. Cetuximab was also found to be robustly secreted with the EGFR-EVs by the OSCC cells. Thus, EGF promotes the level of mesenchymal traits of OSCC cells and secretion of EGFR-EVs, which involve cetuximab resistance.

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