EGFR-mutated lung cancer accounts for a significant proportion of lung cancer cases worldwide. For these cases, osimertinib, a thirdgeneration EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitor, is extensively used as a first-line or second-line treatment. However, lung cancer cells acquire resistance to osimertinib in 1 to 2 years. Thus, a thorough clarification of resistance mechanisms to osimertinib is highly anticipated. Recent next-generation sequencing (NGS) of lung cancer samples identified several genetically defined resistance mechanisms to osimertinib, such as EGFR C797S or MET amplification. However, nongenetically defined mechanisms are not well evaluated. For a thorough clarification of osimertinib resistance, both genetic and nongenetic mechanisms are essential. By using our comprehensive protein phosphorylation array, we detected IGF1R bypass pathway activation after EGFR abolishment. Both of our established lung cancer cells and patient-derived lung cancer cells demonstrated IGF2 autocrine-mediated IGF1R pathway activation as a mechanism of osimertinib resistance. Notably, this resistance mechanism was not detected by a previously performed NGS, highlighting the essential roles of living cancer cells for a thorough clarification of resistance mechanisms. Interestingly, the immunohistochemical analysis confirmed the increased IGF2 expression in lung cancer patients who were treated with osimertinib and met the established clinical definition of acquired resistance. The findings highlight the crucial roles of cell-Autonomous ligand expression in osimertinib resistance. Here, we report for the first time the IGF2 autocrine-mediated IGF1R activation as a nongenetic mechanism of osimertinib resistance in lung cancer at a clinically relevant level.
ASJC Scopus subject areas