Impact of MET targeting on tumor-associated angiogenesis and growth of MET mutations-driven models of liver cancer

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Deregulated expression of the MET receptor tyrosine kinase has been reported in up to 50% of patients with hepatocellular carcinoma, the most abundant form of liver cancers, and is associated with decreased survival. Consequently, MET is considered as a molecular target in this malignancy, whose progression is highly dependent on extensive angiogenesis. Here we studied the impact of MET small molecule inhibitors on angiogenesis-associated parameters and growth of xenograft liver models consisting of cells expressing MET-mutated variants M1268T and Y1248H, which exhibit constitutive kinase activity. We demonstrate that MET mutations expression is associated with significantly increased production of vascular endothelial growth factor, which is blocked by MET targeting only in cells expressing the M1268T inhibitor-sensitive but not in the Y1248H inhibitor-resistant variant. Decrease in vascular endothelial growth factor production is also associated with reduction of tyrosine phopshorylation of the vascular endothelial growth factor receptor 2 expressed on primary liver sinusoidal endothelial cells and with inhibition of vessel formation. Furthermore, MET inhibition demonstrated an efficient anti-tumor activity and considerable reduction in microvessel density only against the M1268Tderived intrahepatic tumors. Collectively, our data support the role of targeting METassociated angiogenesis as a major biological determinant for liver tumor growth control.




Piguet, A. C., Medová, M., Keogh, A., Glück, A. A., Aebersold, D. M., Dufour, J. F., & Zimmer, Y. (2015). Impact of MET targeting on tumor-associated angiogenesis and growth of MET mutations-driven models of liver cancer. Genes and Cancer, 6(7–8), 317–327.

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