Journal Article Anti-EGFR antibody cetuximab is secreted by oral squamous cell carcinoma and alters EGF-driven mesenchymal transition

Fujiwara, Toshifumi  ,  Eguchi, Takanori  ,  Sogawa, Chiharu  ,  Ono, Kisho  ,  Murakami, Jun  ,  Ibaragi, Soichiro  ,  Asaumi, Jun-ichi  ,  Okamoto, Kuniaki  ,  Calderwood, Stuart K.  ,  Kozaki, Ken-ichi

Genetic amplification, overexpression, and increased signaling from the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) are often found in oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC) and thus EGFR is frequently targeted molecularly by the therapeutic antibody cetuximab. We assessed effects of cetuximab in control of EGF-driven malignant traits of OSCC cells. EGF stimulation promoted progression level of mesenchymal traits in OSCC cells, which were attenuated by cetuximab but incompletely. We pursued a potential mechanism underlying such incomplete attenuation of OSCC malignant traits. Cetuximab promoted secretion of EGFR-EVs by OSCC cells and failed to inhibit EGF-driven secretion of EGFR-EVs. Cetuximab was also found to be robustly secreted with the EGFR-EVs by the OSCC cells. Thus, EGF promotes the level of mesenchymal traits of OSCC cells and secretion of EGFR-EVs, which involve cetuximab resistance.

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