Targeting c-kit receptor in neuroblastomas and colorectal cancers using stem cell factor (SCF)-based recombinant bacterial toxins
Autocrine activation of c-kit (KIT receptor tyrosine kinase) has been postulated to be a potent oncogenic driver in small cell lung cancer, neuroblastoma (NB), and poorly differentiated colorectal carcinoma (CRC). Although targeted therapy involving tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) such as imatinib mesylate is highly effective for gastrointestinal stromal tumor carrying V560G c-kit mutation, it does not show much potential for targeting wild-type KIT (WT-KIT). Our study demonstrates the role of stem cell factor (SCF)-based toxin conjugates for targeting WT-KIT-overexpressing malignancies such as NBs and CRCs. We constructed SCF-based recombinant bacterial toxins by genetically fusing mutated form of natural ligand SCF to receptor binding deficient forms of Diphtheria toxin (DT) or Pseudomonas exotoxin A (ETA') and evaluated their efficacy in vitro. Efficient targeting was achieved in all receptor-positive neuroblastoma (IMR-32 and SHSY5Y) and colon cancer cell lines (COLO 320DM, HCT 116, and DLD-1) but not in receptor-negative breast carcinoma cell line (MCF-7) thereby proving specificity. While dose- and time-dependent cytotoxicity was observed in both neuroblastoma cell lines, COLO 320DM and HCT 116 cells, only an anti-proliferative effect was observed in DLD-1 cells. We prove that these novel targeting agents have promising potential as KIT receptor tyrosine kinase targeting system.