PDF - 968K, Western blot analysis of the biochemical response of two epithelial (HPAF-II and Panc10.05) and two mesenchymal (Panc2.13 and PA-TU8988T) PDAC cell lines treated with MEK inhibitor CI1040 in the presence or absence of ZEB1 knockdown.
ARTICLE ABSTRACTMutations in the KRAS oncogene are dominant features in pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDA). Because KRAS itself is considered “undruggable,” targeting pathways downstream of KRAS are being explored as a rational therapeutic strategy. We investigated the consequences of MAP–ERK kinase (MEK) inhibition in a large PDA cell line panel. Inhibition of MEK activated phosphoinositide 3-kinase in an EGF receptor (EGFR)-dependent fashion and combinations of MEK and EGFR inhibitors synergistically induced apoptosis. This combinatorial effect was observed in the epithelial but not mesenchymal subtype of PDA. RNA expression analysis revealed predictors of susceptibility to the combination, including E-cadherin, HER3, and the miR200-family of microRNAs, whereas expression of the transcription factor ZEB1 was associated with resistance to the drug combination. Knockdown of HER3 in epithelial-type and ZEB1 in mesenchymal-type PDA cell lines resulted in sensitization to the combination of MEK and EGFR inhibitors. Thus, our findings suggest a new, subtype-specific, and personalized therapeutic strategy for pancreatic cancer. Mol Cancer Ther; 12(10); 2213–25. ©2013 AACR.