Mol Cancer Ther 2018 09 3;17(9):2049-2059. Epub 2018 Jul 3.
Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Colorado Denver, Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, Colorado.
Eph proteins have emerged as critical drivers affecting tumor growth and progression in human malignancies. Our The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) data analysis showed that EphB3, a receptor tyrosine kinase, is frequently coamplified with PIK3CA in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). We therefore hypothesized that EphB3 amplification plays a protumorigenic role in HNSCC and that and are cooperating oncogenes that contribute toward its pathogenesis. This hypothesis was not experimentally supported, because EphB3 knockdown failed to alter HNSCC tumor cell growth or with an orthotopic model. However, responsiveness of EphB3 knockdown tumors to the PI3K inhibitor, BKM120, was significantly decreased in terms of both tumor growth delay and survival. This is correlated with an increase in prosurvival proteins, S6 and BcL-XL, in the EphB3 shRNA tumors treated with BKM120 compared with controls. We further observed that EphB3 knockdown resulted in increased migration and increased gene signature To explain these results, we examined EphB3 phosphorylation levels in HNSCC at baseline. Although total EphB3 levels were high, we found low phospho-EphB3 levels in HNSCCs. Forced EphB3 phosphorylation with an ephrin-B2-Fc fusion protein resulted in decreased HNSCC migration and cell growth, and enhanced response to BKM120 These data collectively indicate that progression of HNSCC selects for low/inhibited EphB3 activity to enhance their survival and migratory abilities and decrease response to PI3K signaling. Therefore, strategies focused on activating EphB3 might be helpful to inhibit tumor growth and enhance sensitivity to PI3K inhibitors in HNSCC. .