Cancer cell dependence on activated oncogenes is therapeutically targeted, but acquired resistance is virtually unavoidable. Here we show that the treatment of addicted melanoma cells with BRAF inhibitors, and of breast cancer cells with HER2-targeted drugs, led to an adaptive rise in neuropilin-1 (NRP1) expression, which is crucial for the onset of acquired resistance to therapy. Moreover, NRP1 levels dictated the efficacy of MET oncogene inhibitors in addicted stomach and lung carcinoma cells. Mechanistically, NRP1 induced a JNK-dependent signaling cascade leading to the upregulation of alternative effector kinases EGFR or IGF1R, which in turn sustained cancer cell growth and mediated acquired resistance to BRAF, HER2, or MET inhibitors. Notably, the combination with NRP1-interfering molecules improved the efficacy of oncogene-targeted drugs and prevented or even reversed the onset of resistance in cancer cells and tumor models. Our study provides the rationale for targeting the NRP1-dependent upregulation of tyrosine kinases, which are responsible for loss of responsiveness to oncogene-targeted therapies.
Sabrina Rizzolio, Gabriella Cagnoni, Chiara Battistini, Stefano Bonelli, Claudio Isella, Jo A. Van Ginderachter, René Bernards, Federica Di Nicolantonio, Silvia Giordano, Luca Tamagnone
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were accepted. No appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.