Objectives: We have previously reported that decreased expression of PTEN in lung cancer PC9 cells harboring an EGFR-activating mutation (del E746-A750) results in acquisition of resistance to EGFR-TKIs, gefitinib and erlotinib, accompanied by enhanced phosphorylation of Akt and decreased nuclear translocation of a transcription factor EGR-1 . In the present study, PTEN promoter methylation accounted for the decreased expression of PTEN in our gefitinib-resistant mutant. Material and methods: DNA methylation status of the PTEN promoter in PC9 and gefitinib-resistant cells were examined using methylation-specific PCR. The effect of DNA methylation on PTEN expression was evaluated by treatment of lung cancer cell lines with 5-aza-2'-deoxycytidine (5AZA-CdR). Results: We observed the characteristics of two gefitinib-resistant sublines, GEF1-1 and GEF2-1, derived from PC9 as follows. (1) PTEN overexpression suppressed AKT phosphorylation and restored the sensitivity to gefitinib and erlotinib in GEF1-1 cells. (2) EGR-1 siRNA mediated knockdown suppressed the expression of cyclin D1 and ICAM-1 genes but not of PTEN gene in PC9 cells. (3) Transfection of EGR-1 cDNA into a drug-resistant subline induced the expression of cyclin D1 and ICAM-1 but not of PTEN. (4) Treatment with 5AZA-CdR induced the expression of PTEN in resistant sublines but not in the parental line PC9. (5) A CpG site near the translational start point of the 5'-regulatory region was methylated in GEF1-1 and GEF2-1 but not in PC9. Conclusion: Our results strongly suggest that CpG hypermethylation of the PTEN gene contributes to the decreased expression of PTEN during acquired resistance to gefitinib or erlotinib.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
- Cancer Research