Triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) is a severe and heterogeneous disease that lacks an approved targeted therapy and has a poor clinical outcome to chemotherapy. Although the RAS-ERK signaling axis is rarely mutated in TNBC, ~50% of TNBCs show an increased copy number and overexpression of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). However, EGFR-targeted therapies have offered no improvement in patient survival, underscoring the need to explore downstream targets, including RAS. We found that both β-catenin and RAS, as well as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), are overexpressed and correlated with one another in tumor tissues of TNBC patients. KYA1797K, an Axin-binding small molecule reducing β-catenin and RAS expression via degradation and suppressing EGFR expression via transcriptional repression, inhibited the proliferation and the metastatic capability of stable cell lines as well as patient-derived cells (PDCs) established from TNBC patient tissues. KYA1797K also suppressed the stemness of 3D-cultured PDCs and xenografted tumors established by using residual tumors from TNBC patients and those established by the TNBC cell line. Targeting both the Wnt/β-catenin and RAS-ERK pathways via small molecules simultaneously reducing the levels of β-catenin, RAS, and EGFR could be a potential therapeutic approach for TNBC.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We thank S.J. Lee and D.S. Min for providing cells. This work was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea (NRF) grant funded by the Korean Government (MSIP) (2015R1A2A1A05001873; 2019R1A2C3002751). W.J. Ryu was supported by the Global PhD Fellowship Program through the NRF, funded by the Ministry of Education (2015H1A2A1034548).
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Molecular Biology
- Clinical Biochemistry