Functional expression and mutations of c-Met and its therapeutic inhibition with SU11274 and small interfering RNA in non-small cell lung cancer

Patrick C. Ma, Ramasamy Jagadeeswaran, Simha Jagadeesh, Maria S. Tretiakova, Vidya Nallasura, Edward A. Fox, Mark Hansen, Erik Schaefer, Katsuhiko Naoki, Alan Lader, William Richards, David Sugarbaker, Aliya N. Husain, James G. Christensen, Ravi Salgia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

494 Scopus citations


Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a difficult disease to treat. The c-Met receptor is an attractive potential target for novel therapeutic inhibition in human cancers. We provide strong evidence that c-Met is overexpressed, activated, and sometimes mutated in NSCLC cell lines and tumor tissues. Expression of c-Met was found in all (100%) of the NSCLC tumor tissues examined (n = 23) and most (89%) of the cell lines (n = 9). Sixty-one percent of tumor tissues strongly expressed total c-Met, especially adenocarcinoma (67%). Specific expression of phospho-Met (p-Met) [Y1003] and [Y1230/1234/1235] was seen by immunohistochemistry. p-Met expression was preferentially observed at the NSCLC tumor invasive fronts. c-Met alterations were identified within the semaphorin domain (E168D, L299F, S323G, and N375S) and the juxtamembrane domain (R988C, R988C + T1010I, S1058P, and alternative splice product skipping entire juxtamembrane domain) of a NSCLC cell line and adenocarcinoma tissues. We validated c-Met as potential therapeutic target using small interfering RNA down-regulation of the receptor expression by 50% to 60% in NSCLC cells. This led to inhibition of p-Met and phospho-AKT and up to 57.1 ± 7.2% cell viability inhibition at 72 hours. The selective small molecule inhibitor of c-Met SU11274 inhibited cell viability in c-Met-expressing NSCLC cells. SU11274 also abrogated hepatocyte growth factor-induced phosphorylation of c-Met and its downstream signaling. Here, we provide first direct evidence by small interfering RNA targeting and small molecule inhibitor that c-Met is important in NSCLC biology and biochemistry. These results indicate that c-Met inhibition will be an important therapeutic strategy against NSCLC to improve its clinical outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1479-1488
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 15 2005

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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