Epidermal growth factor receptor cooperates with Src family kinases in acquired resistance to cetuximab

Deric L. Wheeler, Mari Iida, Tim J. Kruser, Meghan M. Nechrebecki, Emily F. Dunn, Eric A. Armstrong, Shyhmin Huang, Paul M. Harari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a receptor tyrosine kinase that plays a major role in oncogenesis. Cetuximab is an EGFR-blocking antibody that is FDA approved for use in patients with metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC) and head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). Although cetuximab has shown strong clinical benefit for a subset of cancer patients, most become refractory to cetuximab therapy. We reported that cetuximab-resistant NSCLC line NCI-H226 cells have increased steady-state expression and activity of EGFR secondary to altered trafficking/degradation and this increase in EGFR expression and activity lead to hyper-activation of HER3 and down stream signals to survival. We now present data that Src family kinases (SFKs) are highly activated in cetuximab-resistant cells and enhance EGFR activation of HER3 and PI(3)K/Akt. Studies using the Src kinase inhibitor dasatinib decreased HER3 and PI(3)K/Akt activity. In addition, cetuximab-resistant cells were resensitized to cetuximab when treated with dasatinib. These results indicate that SFKs and EGFR cooperate in acquired resistance to cetuximab and suggest a rationale for clinical strategies that investigate combinatorial therapy directed at both the EGFR and SFKs in patients with acquired resistance to cetuximab.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)696-703
Number of pages8
JournalCancer Biology and Therapy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 2009


  • Cetuximab
  • Dasatinib
  • EGFR
  • Resistance
  • Src-family kinases

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Oncology
  • Pharmacology
  • Cancer Research


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