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Cetuximab induces mitochondrial translocalization of EGFRvIII, but not EGFR: involvement of mitochondria in tumor drug resistance?

: Dreier, A.; Barth, S.; Goswami, A.; Weis, J.


Tumor biology 33 (2012), No.1, pp.85-94
ISSN: 0289-5447
ISSN: 1010-4283
Journal Article
Fraunhofer IME ()

Dysregulation of growth factor receptors such as the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and of its truncated form EGFRvIII is frequently found in human tumors. EGFRvIII is a promising target for selective molecular tumor therapy because it is exclusively expressed by tumor cells. Cetuximab/Erbitux is a monoclonal antibody which targets EGFR and EGFRvIII. The effects of cetuximab on EGFRvIII but still the exact function and mechanism of cetuximab in relation to EGFR and EGFRvIII are incompletely understood. Therefore, we investigated the influence of cetuximab on EGFRvIII signaling and cellular survival. We found that cetuximab leads to increased internalization of EGFRvIII in NR6M cells but is unable to inhibit neither the activation of EGFRvIII nor its downstream signaling pathways. Incubation with cetuximab also did not alter the survival and proliferation of EGFRvIII-expressing cells. However, it caused increased mitochondrial activity and an increase in co-localization of EGFRvIII with mitochondria. These results demonstrate that interaction of EGFRvIII with mitochondria could play a role in survival of cetuximab-treated NR6M cells. Thus, a role of mitochondria in resistance to cetuximab has to be considered.