The inhibition of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) signaling by Gefitinib provides a promising treatment strategy for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC); however, drug resistance to Gefitinib and other tyrosine kinase inhibitors presents a major issue. Using NSCLC cell lines with differential EGFR status, we examined the potency of PA-MSHA (Pseudomonas aeruginosa-mannose-sensitive hemagglutinin) in combination with Gefitinib on proliferation, apoptosis, cell cycle arrest, EGFR signaling and tumor growth. PC-9, A549, and NCI-H1975 cells were treated with PA-MSHA, Gefetinib, or PA-MSHA plus Gefetinib at different concentrations and times. The effects of the drugs on proliferation, cell cycle distribution and apoptosis were evaluated. The activation of EGFR and apoptotic signaling-related molecules was evaluated by Western blotting in the presence or absence of EGFR siRNA. Tumor growth and pathway signaling activation was assessed by xenografts in nude mice. A time-dependent and concentration-dependent cytotoxic effect of PA-MSHA was observed in all NSCLC cells tested. The combination of PA-MSHA plus Gefitinib enhanced the growth inhibition, sub-G1 content and apoptosis over that observed with either agent alone. Furthermore, the combination of PA-MSHA plus Gefitinib resulted in caspase-3/caspase-9 cleavage and increased inhibition of EGFR-dependent activation of AKT and ERK phosphorylation. Combination treatment was more effective in reducing tumor size and EGFR activation than either agent alone. These data suggest that PA-MSHA and Gefitinib function additively to suppress the proliferative effects of NSCLC cells of differential EGFR status. The combination of PA-MSHA and Gefitinib provides a potential new strategy to conquer drug resistance for anti-EGFR-targeted therapy of NSCLC.
Zhao, X. M., Pan, S. Y., Huang, Q. L., Lu, Y. N., Wu, X. H., Chang, J. H., … Fu, X. L. (2016). PA-MSHA in combination with EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor: A new strategy to overcome the drug resistance of non-small cell lung cancer cells. Oncotarget, 7(31), 49384–49396. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.9891