Purpose: Lately, emerging evidence has suggested that oncogenic kinases are associated with specific downstream effectors to govern tumor growth, suggesting potential translational values in kinase-targeted cancer therapy. Tyrosine kinase FGFR, which is aberrant in various cancer types, is one of the most investigated kinases in molecularly targeted cancer therapy. Herein, we investigated whether there exists key downstream effector(s) that converges FGFR signaling and determines the therapeutic response of FGFR-targeted therapy.
Experimental Design: A range of assays was used to assess the role of c-Myc in FGFR aberrant cancers and its translational relevance in FGFR-targeted therapy, including assessment of drug sensitivity using cell viability assay, signaling transduction profiling using immunoblotting, and in vivo antitumor efficacy using cancer cell line–based xenografts and patient-derived xenografts models.
Results: We discovered that c-Myc functioned as the key downstream effector that preceded FGFR-MEK/ERK signaling in FGFR aberrant cancer. Disruption of c-Myc overrode the cell proliferation driven by constitutively active FGFR. FGFR inhibition in FGFR-addicted cancer facilitated c-Myc degradation via phosphorylating c-Myc at threonine 58. Ectopic expression of undegradable c-Myc mutant conferred resistance to FGFR inhibition both in vitro and in vivo. c-Myc level alteration stringently determined the response to FGFR inhibitors, as demonstrated in FGFR-responsive cancer subset, as well as cancers bearing acquired or de novo resistance to FGFR inhibition.
Conclusions: This study reveals a stringent association between FGFR and the downstream effector c-Myc in FGFR-dependent cancers, and suggests the potential therapeutic value of c-Myc in FGFR-targeted cancer therapy. Clin Cancer Res; 23(4); 974–84. ©2016 AACR.
Note: Supplementary data for this article are available at Clinical Cancer Research Online (http://clincancerres.aacrjournals.org/).
- Received October 15, 2015.
- Revision received May 25, 2016.
- Accepted June 25, 2016.
- ©2016 American Association for Cancer Research.