MET amplification increases the metastatic spread of EGFR-mutated NSCLC

Published online: September 11, 2018 – DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lungcan.2018.09.008

Background
Five to 20% of metastatic EGFR-mutated non-small cell lung cancers (NSCLC) develop acquired resistance to EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors (EGFR-TKI) through MET amplification. The effects of MET amplification on tumor and patient phenotype remain unknown.

Methods
We investigated,in vitro and in vivo, the impact of MET amplification on the biological properties of the HCC827 cell line, derived from an EGFR-mutated NSCLC. We further evaluated the time to new metastases after EGFR-TKI progression in EGFR-mutated NSCLC, exhibiting MET amplification or high MET overexpression.

Results
MET amplification significantly enhanced proliferation, anchorage independent growth, anoikis resistance, migration, and induced an epithelial to mesenchymal transition. In vivo, MET amplification significantly increased the tumor growth and metastatic spread. Treatment with a MET-TKI reversed this aggressive phenotype. We found that EGFR-mutated NSCLC patients exhibiting MET amplification on a re-biopsy, performed after EGFR-TKI progression, displayed a shorter time to new metastases after EGFR-TKI progression than patients with high MET overexpression but no MET amplification.

Conclusion
MET amplification increases metastatic spread even in the context of an already pre-existing strong driver mutation such as EGFR mutation. These results prompt development of therapeutic strategies aiming at preventing emergence of MET amplification.

Baldacci S, Kherrouche Z, Cockenpot V, Stoven L, Copin MC, Werkmeister E, Marchand N, Kyheng M, Tulasne D, Cortot AB

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