PURPOSE: HSP90 remains an important cancer target because of its involvement in multiple oncogenic protein pathways and biologic processes. Although many HSP90 inhibitors have been tested in the treatment of KRAS-mutant non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), most, including AUY922, have failed due to toxic effects and resistance generation, even though a modest efficacy has been observed for these drugs in clinical trials. In our present study, we investigated the novel mechanism of resistance to AUY922 to explore possible avenues of overcoming and want to provide some insights that may assist with the future development of successful next-generation HSP90 inhibitors.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We established two AUY922-resistant KRAS-mutated NSCLC cells and conducted RNA sequencing to identify novel resistance biomarker.
RESULTS: We identified novel two resistance biomarkers. We observed that both integrin Av (ITGAv) and β3 (ITGB3) induce AUY922-resistance via focal adhesion kinase (FAK) activation, as well as an epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), in both in vitro and in vivo xenograft model. mRNAs of both ITGAv and ITGB3 were also found to be elevated in a patient who had shown acquired resistance in a clinical trial of AUY922. ITGAv was induced by miR-142 downregulation, and ITGB3 was increased by miR-150 downregulation during the development of AUY922-resistance. Therefore, miR-150 and miR-142 overexpression effectively inhibited ITGAvB3-dependent FAK activation, restoring sensitivity to AUY922.
CONCLUSION: The synergistic co-targeting of FAK and HSP90 attenuated the growth of ITGAvB3-induced AUY922-resistant KRAS-mutated NSCLC cells in vitro and in vivo, suggesting that this combination may overcome acquired AUY922-resistance in KRAS-mutant NSCLC.