J Cancer 2020; 11(20):5982-5999. doi:10.7150/jca.46320 This issue

Research Paper

In vivo studies of a peptidomimetic that targets EGFR dimerization in NSCLC

Leeza Shrestha1, Sitanshu S. Singh1, Pravin Parajuli1, Achyut Dahal1, George Mattheolabakis1, Sharon Meyer1, Joydeep Bhattacharjee2, Seetharama D. Jois1✉

1. School of Basic Pharmaceutical and Toxicological Sciences, College of Pharmacy, University of Louisiana Monroe, Monroe, LA 71201.
2. Biology Program, School of Sciences, University of Louisiana, Monroe, Monroe, LA 71029.

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Shrestha L, Singh SS, Parajuli P, Dahal A, Mattheolabakis G, Meyer S, Bhattacharjee J, Jois SD. In vivo studies of a peptidomimetic that targets EGFR dimerization in NSCLC. J Cancer 2020; 11(20):5982-5999. doi:10.7150/jca.46320. Available from https://www.jcancer.org/v11p5982.htm

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Studies related to lung cancer have shown a link between human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) expression and poor prognosis in patients with non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). HER2 overexpression has been observed in 3-38% of NSCLC, while strong HER2 protein overexpression is found in 2.5% of NSCLC. However, HER2 dimerization is important in lung cancer, including EGFR mutated NSCLC. Since HER2 dimerization leads to cell proliferation, targeting the dimerization of HER2 will have a significant impact on cancer therapies. A peptidomimetic has been designed that can be used as a therapeutic agent for a subset of NSCLC patients overexpressing HER2 or possessing HER2 as well as EGFR mutation. A cyclic peptidomimetic (18) has been designed to inhibit protein-protein interactions of HER2 with its dimerization partners EGFR and HER3. Compound 18 exhibited antiproliferative activity in HER2-positive NSCLC cell lines at nanomolar concentrations. Western blot analysis showed that 18 inhibited phosphorylation of HER2 and Akt in vitro and in vivo. Stability studies of 18 at various temperature and pH (pH 1 and pH 7.6), and in the presence of liver microsomes indicated that 18 was stable against thermal and chemical degradation. Pharmacokinetic parameters were evaluated in nude mice by administrating single doses of 4 mg/kg and 6 mg/kg of 18 via IV. The anticancer activity of 18 was evaluated using an experimental metastasis lung cancer model in mice. Compound 18 suppressed the tumor growth in mice when compared to control. A proximity ligation assay further proved that 18 inhibits HER2:HER3 and EGFR: HER2 dimerization. Overall, these results suggest that 18 can be a potential treatment for HER2-dimerization related NSCLC.

Keywords: NSCLC, HER2, EGFR, dimerization, peptidomimetic