Her2 is overexpressed in 20% to 30% of breast tumors and correlates with reduced disease-free and overall patient survival. Trastuzumab, a humanized monoclonal antibody directed against Her2, represents the first Her2-targeted therapy, which decreases the risk of relapse and prolongs patient survival. Resistance to trastuzumab, both inherent and treatment-acquired, represents a significant barrier to the effective treatment of Her2 (+) breast cancer. The Met receptor tyrosine kinase is aberrantly expressed in breast cancer and predicts poor patient prognosis. In this study, we find that Met is frequently expressed in Her2-overexpressing breast cancer cells, as well as Her2 (+) breast cancer. Importantly, Met contributes to trastuzumab resistance, as inhibition of Met sensitizes cells to trastuzumab-mediated growth inhibition, whereas Met activation protects cells against trastuzumab by abrogating p27 induction. Remarkably, Her2-overexpressing breast cancer cells rapidly up-regulate Met expression after trastuzumab treatment, promotingtheir own resistance. Our study suggests that a subset of Her2 (+) patients may benefit from combined inhibition of Her2 and Met.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research