High levels of HER-2 expression alter the ability of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family tyrosine kinase inhibitors to inhibit EGFR phosphorylation in vivo

J G Christensen, R E Schreck, E Chan, X Wang, C Yang, L Liu, J Cui, L Sun, J Wei, J M Cherrington, D B Mendel
2001 Clinical Cancer Research  
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER-2 tyrosine kinases have been implicated in the development, progression, and severity of several human cancers and are attractive targets for therapeutic intervention. SU11925 was developed as a small molecule inhibitor of the tyrosine kinase activity of both EGFR and HER-2. In cellular assays, SU11925 exhibited similar potency against EGFR and HER-2, inhibiting EGF-stimulated EGFR autophosphorylation in A431 (human epidermoid carcinoma) cells
more » ... with an IC(50) of 30 nM and HER-2 phosphorylation in SK-OV-3TP5 (human ovarian carcinoma) cells with an IC(50) of 38 nM. In contrast to its similar activity against the two targets in cellular assays, approximately 10-fold higher plasma concentrations of SU11925 were required to inhibit HER-2 phosphorylation in HER-2-overexpressing tumors compared with EGFR phosphorylation in EGFR-overexpressing tumors in vivo. Consistent with the proposed mechanism of action of this inhibitor, SU11925 inhibited the s.c. growth of EGFR- and HER-2-dependent tumors in athymic mice at doses that produced substantial inhibition of target receptor phosphorylation in vivo. An unexpected finding from these studies was that higher plasma concentrations of SU11925 were required to inhibit EGFR phosphorylation in vivo in tumors that also express high levels of HER-2 than in tumors that express EGFR alone. This observation, which suggests that it is more difficult to inhibit EGFR phosphorylation in vivo in cells that express high levels of HER-2, was confirmed with ZD1839 (Iressa), a selective EGFR inhibitor that also targets the tyrosine kinase catalytic site. The potential clinical implications of this observation are discussed.
pmid:11751524 fatcat:ggl2geuikzgn7payia7bnyefii