SAHA, an HDAC inhibitor, overcomes erlotinib resistance in human pancreatic cancer cells by modulating E-cadherin
Pancreatic cancer is one of the most lethal cancers and remains a major unsolved health problem. Less than 20 % of patients are surgical candidates, and the median survival for non-resected patients is approximately 3 to 4 months. Despite the existence of many conventional cancer therapies, few targeted therapies have been developed for pancreatic cancer. Combination therapy using erlotinib and gemcitabine is an approved standard chemotherapy for advanced pancreatic cancer, but it has marginal therapeutic benefit. To try to improve the therapeutic outlook, we studied the efficacy of another combination treatment and the relevance to E-cadherin in human pancreatic cancer cells. We treated two human pancreatic cancer cell lines with the histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) SAHA. Interestingly, in these Panc-1 and Capan1 cells, we observed that the expression levels of E-cadherin and phosphorylated EGFR were gradually upregulated after treatment with SAHA. Furthermore, these cells underwent induced cell death after exposure to the combination treatment of SAHA and erlotinib. In Panc-1 cells, overexpression of E-cadherin activated the phosphorylation of EGFR and increased the cell sensitivity to erlotinib. In Capan1 cells, knocking down E-cadherin decreased the expression of phosphorylated EGFR, and these cells did not respond to erlotinib. Therefore, we demonstrated the efficacy of the combined treatment with SAHA and erlotinib in human pancreatic cancer cells, and we determined that the increased efficacy was due, at least in part, to the effects of SAHA on the expression of E-cadherin. Our studies suggest that E-cadherin may be a potent biomarker for pancreatic cancer.
KeywordsSAHA Erlotinib E-cadherin Human pancreatic cancer cells Cell death
Histone deacetylase inhibitors
EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor
This work was supported by grants from the Korea Health 21 R&D project, the Ministry of Health and Welfare and Family Affairs, Republic of Korea (HI06C0868), the Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF), which was funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (2013R1A1A2013233), and the Asan Institute for Life Sciences, Seoul, Republic of Korea (2014-231).
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Conflicts of interest
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