STAT3 induces G9a to exacerbate HER3 expression for the survival of epidermal growth factor receptor-tyrosine kinase inhibitors in lung cancers

Yi Fang Chang, Ken Hong Lim, Ya Wen Chiang, Zong Lin Sie, Jungshan Chang, Ai Sheng Ho, Chun Chia Cheng

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Abstract

Background: HER3 mediates drug resistance against epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), resulting in tumor relapse in lung cancers. Previously, we demonstrated that EGFR induces HER3 overexpression, which facilitates the formation of cancer stem-like tumorspheres. However, the cellular mechanism through which EGFR regulates HER3 expression remains unclear. We hypothesized that EGFR downstream of STAT3 participates in HER3 expression because STAT3 contributes to cancer stemness and survival of EGFR-TKI resistant cancers. Methods: First, RNAseq was used to uncover potential genes involved in the formation of lung cancer HCC827-derived stem-like tumorspheres. EGFR-positive lung cancer cell lines, including HCC827, A549, and H1975, were individually treated with a panel containing 172 therapeutic agents targeting stem cell-associated genes to search for potential agents that could be applied against EGFR-positive lung cancers. In addition, gene knockdown and RNAseq were used to investigate molecular mechanisms through which STAT3 regulates tumor progression and the survival in lung cancer. Results: BBI608, a STAT3 inhibitor, was a potential therapeutic agent that reduced the cell viability of EGFR-positive lung cancer cell lines. Notably, the inhibitory effects of BBI608 were similar with those associated with YM155, an ILF3 inhibitor. Both compounds reduced G9a-mediated HER3 expression. We also demonstrated that STAT3 upregulated G9a to silence miR-145-5p, which exacerbated HER3 expression in this study. Conclusions: The present study revealed that BBI608 could eradicate EGFR-positive lung cancers and demonstrated that STAT3 enhanced the expression of HER3 through miR-145-5p repression by G9a, indicating that STAT3 is a reliable therapeutic target against EGFR-TKI-resistant lung cancers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number959
JournalBMC Cancer
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 16 2019

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Keywords

  • BBI608
  • EGFR
  • G9a
  • HER3
  • Lung cancer
  • STAT3

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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