Abstract B099: Targeting Non Small Cell Lung Cancer EGFR-Mutant and EGFR-Inhibitor resistant cell lines by ferroptosis induction: A potential therapeutic approachTaronish Dubash, Maria Cristina Munteanu, Cristian Nunez, Shrouq Farah, Laurence Jadin, Branko Radetich, Francesco M Marincola, Darby Schmidt, Nadia Gurvich
- Cancer Research
The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is a crucial signaling protein involved in regulating cellular growth, survival, and proliferation. EGFR mutations, particularly in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), have been extensively studied due to their role in driving tumor progression and resistance to conventional therapies. While EGFR-mutant tumors initially respond well to EGFR inhibitors, emergence of resistance remains a significant challenge. Ferroptosis is a recently discovered form of regulated cell death characterized by accumulation of lipid peroxides and oxidative stress. It has gained attention as a potential therapeutic strategy in combating drug resistance. However, the vulnerability of various EGFR-mutant and resistant NSCLC cells to ferroptosis induction remains poorly understood. To bridge the existing knowledge gap, we investigated the responsiveness of both EGFR-mutant and their resistant counterpart NSCLC cell lines to ferroptosis induction. Interestingly, NSCLC cell lines and patients’ tumors which harbor EGFR mutations are distinct from those carrying STK11 and KEAP1 mutations, which are known to contribute to resistance to ferroptosis. This observation prompted us to test whether ferroptosis inducers could effectively target this specific subset of NSCLC. In our experimental approach, we first utilized a panel of commercially available EGFR mutant cell lines (n=3), including one harboring T790M resistance mutation, which is a common mechanism of acquired resistance to first-generation inhibitors. We subjected the EGFR-mutant cell lines in vitro to a process of acquiring resistance against three generations of EGFR inhibitors (n=4). Subsequently, upon confirmation of resistance, we evaluated their susceptibility to our proprietary ferroptosis inducer. Exome sequencing data of EGFR-inhibitor resistant cell lines and their age-matched control cell lines revealed that the former acquired genetic alterations that have previously been found to confer resistance in EGFR-inhibitor resistant patients’ tumors, suggesting that our approach is valid for modeling relevant resistance mechanisms. Our results indicate that both EGFR-mutant and resistant cell lines exhibit sensitivity to ferroptosis induction. Furthermore, we observed that EGFR-mutant patient-derived cells, which are refractory to EGFR inhibitors of several generations, were strongly cytostatic to our ferroptosis inducer. These findings provide valuable insights into the interplay between EGFR mutations, drug resistance, and ferroptosis. Exploiting the vulnerability of EGFR-inhibitor resistant NSCLC cells to ferroptosis could offer novel therapeutic options for overcoming drug resistance in EGFR-driven cancers. Further investigations into the underlying molecular mechanisms of ferroptosis inducers in NSCLC are warranted for the development of effective therapies.
Citation Format: Taronish Dubash, Maria Cristina Munteanu, Cristian Nunez, Shrouq Farah, Laurence Jadin, Branko Radetich, Francesco M Marincola, Darby Schmidt, Nadia Gurvich. Targeting Non Small Cell Lung Cancer EGFR-Mutant and EGFR-Inhibitor resistant cell lines by ferroptosis induction: A potential therapeutic approach [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the AACR-NCI-EORTC Virtual International Conference on Molecular Targets and Cancer Therapeutics; 2023 Oct 11-15; Boston, MA. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Mol Cancer Ther 2023;22(12 Suppl):Abstract nr B099.