ErbB1/2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor mediates oxidative stress-induced apoptosis in inflammatory breast cancer cells

Katherine M. Aird, Jennifer L. Allensworth, Ines Batinic-Haberle, H. Kim Lyerly, Mark W. Dewhirst, Gayathri R. Devi

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47 Scopus citations


Overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptors (ErbB) is frequently seen in inflammatory breast cancer (IBC). Treatment with ErbB1/2-targeting agents (lapatinib) mediates tumor apoptosis by downregulating ErbB1/2 phosphorylation and downstream survival signaling. In this study, using carboxy-H 2DCFDA, DHE, and MitoSOX Red to examine changes in hydrogen peroxide radicals, cytoplasmic and mitochondrial superoxide, respectively, we observed that GW583340 (a lapatinib-analog) increases reactive oxygen species (ROS) in two models of IBC (SUM149, SUM190) that are sensitive to ErbB1/2 blockade. This significant increase in ROS levels was similar to those generated by classical oxidative agents H 2O 2 and paraquat. In contrast, minimal to basal levels of ROS were measured in a clonal population of GW583340-resistant IBC cells (rSUM149 and rSUM190). The GW583340-resistant IBC cells displayed increased SOD1, SOD2, and glutathione expression, which correlated with decreased sensitivity to the apoptotic-inducing effects of GW583340, H 2O 2, and paraquat. The ROS increase and cell death in the GW583340-sensitive cells was reversed by simultaneous treatment with a superoxide dismutase (SOD) mimic. Additionally, overcoming the high levels of antioxidants using redox modulators induced apoptosis in the GW583340-resistant cells. Taken together, these data demonstrate a novel mechanism of lapatinib-analog-induced apoptosis and indicate that resistant cells have increased antioxidant potential, which can be overcome by treatment with SOD modulators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-119
Number of pages11
JournalBreast Cancer Research and Treatment
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2012

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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