Amplified Ras-MAPK signal states correlate with accelerated EGFR internalization, cytostasis and delayed HER2 tumor onset in Fer-deficient model systems
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The non-receptor tyrosine kinase Fer belongs to a distinct subfamily of F-BAR domain containing kinases implicated in vesicular trafficking and signaling downstream of adhesion and growth factor receptors. Targeted inactivation of the fer gene in a transgenic mouse model of HER2(+), breast cancer was associated with delayed tumor onset and reduced proliferative rates in tumor cells. Fer deficiency was associated with increased rates of epidermal growth factor (EGF)-induced epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) internalization and amplified Ras-Raf-Mek-Erk (Ras-MAPK) signaling in primary mammary tumor epithelial cells, as well as increased cytotoxic and anti-proliferative sensitivity to the dual EGFR/HER2 inhibitor Lapatinib (LPN). These observations suggest a model in which accelerated ligand-induced EGFR internalization in Fer-deficient cells hypersensitizes the Ras-MAPK pathway to EGF, resulting in MAPK signal amplification to levels that induce cytostasis, rather than proliferation. Thus, Ras-MAPK cytostatic signaling delays HER2 tumor initiation and increases LPN cytotoxicity in Fer-deficient model systems. Taken together, these data suggest that targeting Fer alone, or in combination with LPN, may be of therapeutic benefit in HER2(+) breast cancer.
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