3 years ago

PHD3 controls lung cancer metastasis and resistance to EGFR inhibitors through TGFα.

Hui-Ke Jiao, Amparo Acker-Palmer, Till Acker, Higinio Dopeso, Angel M Cuesta, Michael Kracht, Liane Jurida, Boyan K Garvalov, Anne-Theres Henze
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related death worldwide, in large part due to its high propensity to metastasize and develop therapy resistance. Adaptive responses to hypoxia and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) are linked to tumor metastasis and drug resistance, but little is known about how oxygen sensing and EMT intersect to control these hallmarks of cancer. Here we show that the oxygen sensor PHD3 links hypoxic signaling and EMT regulation in the lung tumor microenvironment. PHD3 was repressed by signals that induce EMT and acted as a negative regulator of EMT, metastasis and therapeutic resistance. PHD3 depletion in tumors, which can be caused by the EMT inducer TGFβ or by promoter methylation, enhanced EMT and spontaneous metastasis via HIF-dependent upregulation of the EGFR ligand TGFα. In turn, TGFα stimulated EGFR which potentiated SMAD signaling, reinforcing EMT and metastasis. In clinical specimens of lung cancer, reduced PHD3 expression was linked to poor prognosis and to therapeutic resistance against EGFR inhibitors such as erlotinib. Re-expression of PHD3 in lung cancer cells suppressed EMT and metastasis and restored sensitivity to erlotinib. Taken together, our results establish a key function for PHD3 in metastasis and drug resistance and suggest opportunities to improve patient treatment by interfering with the feedforward signaling mechanisms activated by PHD3 silencing.

Publisher URL: http://doi.org/10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-1346

DOI: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-17-1346

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