Fibroblast growth factors (FGF) are expressed in many non-small cell lung carcinoma (NSCLC) primary tumors and derived cell lines, and mutations in FGF receptor 3 (FGFR3) have been identified in human lung adenocarcinoma. FGF9 has been implicated in the pathogenesis of NSCLC by synergizing with EGFR pathways or by providing an escape pathway mediating resistance to EGFR inhibition. To model pathogenic mechanisms mediated by FGF signals, we have established a mouse model in which FGF9 expression can be induced in adult lung epithelium. Here, we show that induced expression of FGF9 in adult lung leads to the rapid proliferation of distal airway epithelial cells that express the stem cell marker, Sca-1, and the proximal and distal epithelial markers, Sftpc and CC10, the rapid formation of Sftpc-positive adenocarcinomas, and eventual metastasis in some mice. Furthermore, we have identified FGFR3 as the obligate receptor mediating the FGF9 oncogenic signal. These results identify an FGF9-FGFR3 signal as a primary oncogenic pathway for lung adenocarcinoma and suggest that this pathway could be exploited for customized therapeutic applications for both primary tumors and those that have acquired resistance to inhibition of other signaling pathways.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research