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View all publications from the Jänne Lab.

Featured publications

EGFR mutations in lung cancer: correlation with clinical response to gefitinib therapy
PaezJG,Jänne PA,Lee JC,Tracy S,Greulich H,Gabriel S,Herman P,Kaye FJ,Lindeman N,Boggon TJ,Naoki K,Sasaki H,Fujii Y,Eck MJ,Sellers WR, Johnson BE,Meyerson M.

Image showing EGFR mutations in lung cancer

Positions of missense mutations G719S and L858R and the Del-1 deletion in the three-dimensional structure of the EGFR kinase domain.

Abstract: Receptor tyrosine kinase genes were sequenced in non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) and matched normal tissue. Somatic mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor gene EGFR were found in 15 of 58 unselected tumors from Japan and 1 of 61 from the United States. Treatment with the EGFR kinase inhibitor gefitinib (Iressa) causes tumor regression in some patients with NSCLC, more frequently in Japan. EGFR mutations were found in additional lung cancer samples from US patients who responded to gefitinib therapy and in a lung adenocarcinoma cell line that was hypersensitive to growth inhibition by gefitinib, but not in gefitinib-insensitive tumors or cell lines. These results suggest that EGFR mutations may predict sensitivity to gefitinib.

MET amplification leads to gefitinib resistance in lung cancer by activating ERBB3 signaling
EngelmanJA,Zejnullahu K,Mitsudomi T,Song Y,Hyland C,Park JO,Lindeman N,Gale CM,Zhao X,Christensen J,Kosaka T,Holmes AJ,Rogers AM, Cappuzzo F,Mok T,Lee C,Johnson BE,Cantley LC,Jänne PA.

Image showing how HCC827 GR cells are resistant to gefitinib in vitro and show MET amplification

HCC827 GR cells are resistant to gefitinib in vitro and show MET amplification.

Abstract: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) kinase inhibitors gefitinib and erlotinib are effective treatments for lung cancers with EGFR activating mutations, but these tumors invariably develop drug resistance. Here, we describe a gefitinib-sensitive lung cancer cell line that developed resistance to gefitinib as a result of focal amplification of the MET proto-oncogene. Inhibition of MET signaling in these cells restored their sensitivity to gefitinib. MET amplification was detected in 4 of 18 (22%) lung cancer specimens that had developed resistance to gefitinib or erlotinib. We find that amplification of MET causes gefitinib resistance by driving ERBB3 (HER3)-dependent activation of PI3K, a pathway thought to be specific to EGFR/ERBB family receptors. Thus, we propose that MET amplification may promote drug resistance in other ERBB-driven cancers as well.

Novel mutant-selective EGFR kinase inhibitors against EGFR T790M
ZhouW,Ercan D,Chen L,Yun CH,Li D,Capelletti M,Cortot AB,Chirieac L,Iacob RE,Padera R,Engen JR,Wong KK,Eck MJ,Gray NS,Jänne PA.

Image showing Crystal Structure of WZ4002 bound to EGFR T790MA.

Crystal Structure of WZ4002 bound to EGFR T790MA.

Abstract: The clinical efficacy of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) kinase inhibitors in EGFR-mutant non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is limited by the development of drug-resistance mutations, including the gatekeeper T790M mutation. Strategies targeting EGFR T790M with irreversible inhibitors have had limited success and are associated with toxicity due to concurrent inhibition of wild-type EGFR. All current EGFR inhibitors possess a structurally related quinazoline-based core scaffold and were identified as ATP-competitive inhibitors of wild-type EGFR. Here we identify a covalent pyrimidine EGFR inhibitor by screening an irreversible kinase inhibitor library specifically against EGFR T790M. These agents are 30- to 100-fold more potent against EGFR T790M, and up to 100-fold less potent against wild-type EGFR, than quinazoline-based EGFR inhibitors in vitro. They are also effective in murine models of lung cancer driven by EGFR T790M. Co-crystallization studies reveal a structural basis for the increased potency and mutant selectivity of these agents. These mutant-selective irreversible EGFR kinase inhibitors may be clinically more effective and better tolerated than quinazoline-based inhibitors. Our findings demonstrate that functional pharmacological screens against clinically important mutant kinases represent a powerful strategy to identify new classes of mutant-selective kinase inhibitors.

Combined EGFR/MEK Inhibition Prevents the Emergence of Resistance in EGFR-Mutant Lung Cancer
TrickerEM,Xu C,Uddin S,Capelletti M,Ercan D,Ogino A,Pratilas CA,Rosen N,Gray NS,Wong KK,Jänne PA

Image showing Cotargeting EGFR and MEK prolongs effective treatment duration in EGFRL858R/T790M genetically engineered mice.

Cotargeting EGFR and MEK prolongs effective treatment duration in EGFRL858R/T790M genetically engineered mice.

Abstract: Irreversible pyrimidine-based EGFR inhibitors, including WZ4002, selectively inhibit both EGFR-activating and EGFR inhibitor-resistant T790M mutations more potently than wild-type EGFR. Although this class of mutant-selective EGFR inhibitors is effective clinically in lung cancer patients harboring EGFR (T790M), prior preclinical studies demonstrate that acquired resistance can occur through genomic alterations that activate ERK1/2 signaling. Here, we find that ERK1/2 reactivation occurs rapidly following WZ4002 treatment. Concomitant inhibition of ERK1/2 by the MEK inhibitor trametinib prevents ERK1/2 reactivation, enhances WZ4002-induced apoptosis, and inhibits the emergence of resistance in WZ4002-sensitive models known to acquire resistance via both T790M-dependent and T790M-independent mechanisms. Resistance to WZ4002 in combination with trametinib eventually emerges due to AKT/mTOR reactivation. These data suggest that initial co-targeting of EGFR and MEK could significantly impede the development of acquired resistance in EGFR-mutant lung cancer.
Significance: Patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancer develop acquired resistance to EGFR and mutant-selective EGFR tyrosine kinase inhibitors. Here, we show that co-targeting EGFR and MEK can prevent the emergence of a broad variety of drug resistance mechanisms in vitro and in vivo and may be a superior therapeutic regimen for these patients.

Acquired EGFR C797S mutation mediates resistance to AZD9291 in non-small cell lung cancer harboring EGFR T790M
ThressKS,Paweletz CP,Felip E,Cho BC,Stetson D,Dougherty B,Lai Z,Markovets A,Vivancos A,Kuang Y,Ercan D,Matthews SE,Cantarini M,Barrett JC,Jänne PA,Oxnard GR.

Image showing Acquired resistance to AZD9291 mediated by acquired EGFR C797S mutation.

Acquired resistance to AZD9291 mediated by acquired EGFR C797S mutation.

Abstract: Here we studied cell-free plasma DNA (cfDNA) collected from subjects with advanced lung cancer whose tumors had developed resistance to the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) AZD9291. We first performed next-generation sequencing of cfDNA from seven subjects and detected an acquired EGFR C797S mutation in one; expression of this mutant EGFR construct in a cell line rendered it resistant to AZD9291. We then performed droplet digital PCR on serial cfDNA specimens collected from 15 AZD9291-treated subjects. All were positive for the T790M mutation before treatment, but upon developing AZD9291 resistance, three molecular subtypes emerged: six cases acquired the C797S mutation, five cases maintained the T790M mutation but did not acquire the C797S mutation, and four cases lost the T790M mutation despite the presence of the underlying EGFR activating mutation. Our findings provide insight into the diversity of mechanisms through which tumors acquire resistance to AZD9291 and highlight the need for therapies that are able to overcome resistance mediated by the EGFR C797S mutation.