BACKGROUND: Although the addition of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) antibodies to various platinum-based chemotherapy regimens for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is being actively pursued in the clinic, rationale for the prioritization of specific regimens is lacking.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We evaluated the antitumor effects of necitumumab, a recombinant human IgG1 antibody targeting EGFR, in combination with cisplatin plus gemcitabine, pemetrexed, or paclitaxel in a panel of 9 subcutaneous tumor models of NSCLC established in nu/nu athymic mice.
RESULTS: Necitumumab in combination with cisplatin/gemcitabine was particularly effective, although interestingly, the mechanisms underlying these benefits were model dependent. For example, increased tumor cell apoptosis contributed towards combination efficacy in the A549 model, in association with increased expression of hsa-miR-29b and reduced expression of antiapoptotic genes including DNA methyltransferase DNMT3B, commonly up-regulated in patients with NSCLC. Such inverse effects of combination therapy on DNMT3B and hsa-miR-29b expression were found in multiple models. Importantly, in the A549 model, hsa-miR-29b down-regulation of DMNT3b reduced promoter methylation of tumor suppressor genes such as Cell adhesion molecule 1 (CADM1), Ras associated (RalGDS/AF-6) domain family member 1 (RASSF1), and Fragile histidine triad gene (FHIT), increasing their expression.
CONCLUSION: These results offer a preclinical rationale for combining an EGFR antibody with cisplatin/gemcitabine for patients with NSCLC, and provide potential molecular biomarkers for tailoring therapy.
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