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Downregulation of both EGFR and ErbB3 improves the cellular response to pemetrexed in an established pemetrexedresistant lung adenocarcinoma A549 cell line

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Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and ErbB3 (HER3) play important roles in the regulation of cell proliferation, differentiation, anti-apoptosis and chemoresistance; however, their dysregulation in pemetrexed (PEM) resistance remains unclear. The aim of the present study was to clarify the relationship between PEM resistance and gene expression of EGFR and ErbB3, by establishing the PEM-resistant lung adenocarcinoma A549 cell line, A549/PEM. Compared with A549 cells, the A549/PEM cells were significantly more resistant to PEM (P=0.0024). The downregulation of S phase and arrest at G1 stage were detected in the A549/PEM cell line when compared to the A549 cells (P<0.05). The apoptosis rate of A549/PEM cells was much lower than that of the A549 cells after a 24 h continuous exposure to PEM (P<0.001). Real-time PCR and western blotting demonstrated the overexpression of EGFR and ErbB3 in A549/PEM cells. However, downregulation of EGFR or ErbB3 by lentiviral delivered shRNAs in A549/PEM cells showed no significant correlation with PEM sensitivity while silencing both EGFR and ErbB3 increased the cellular response to PEM in the A549/PEM cells and significantly decreased phosphorylation of STAT3, AKT and ERK. Together, these data suggest that either high expression of EGFR or ErbB3 plays a critical role in the cellular response to PEM in human lung adenocarcinoma cells though EGFR/ErbB3-dependent pathways.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Oncology, The Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, Qingdao 266003, P.R. China 2: Central Laboratory, The Affiliated Hospital of Qingdao University, Qingdao 266003, P.R. China 3: Department of Medicine, The Commercial Workers' Hospital of Qingdao, Qingdao 266011, P.R. China

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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