AXL and MET Tyrosine Kinase Receptors Co-Expression as a Potential Therapeutic Target in Malignant Pleural Mesothelioma

Journal of Personalized Medicine 2022 December 2 [Link]

Federica Zito Marino, Carminia Maria Della Corte, Vincenza Ciaramella, Stefania Erra, Andrea Ronchi, Alfonso Fiorelli, Giovanni Vicidomini, Mario Santini, Giosuè Scognamiglio, Floriana Morgillo, Fortunato Ciardiello, Renato Franco, Marina Accardo


Malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) is a highly lethal malignancy that unfortunately cannot benefit from molecularly targeted therapies. Although previous results showed the pivotal role of various receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) in MPM tumorigenesis, the treatment with a single inhibitor targeting one specific RTK has been shown to be ineffective in MPM patients. The main aim of the present study was to investigate the potential role of AXL and MET receptors in MPM and the possible efficacy of treatment with AXL and MET multitarget inhibitors. Immunohistochemical and FISH analyses were performed in a wide series of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded MPM samples to detect the expression of two receptors and the potential gene amplification. In vitro studies were performed to evaluate putative correlations between the target’s expression and the cell sensitivity to AXL-MET multitarget inhibitors. In our series, 10.4% of cases showed a co-expression of AXL and MET, regardless of their ligand expression, and the gene amplification. Furthermore, our in vitro results suggest that the concomitant pharmacological inhibition of AXL and MET may affect the proliferative and aggressiveness of MPM cells. In conclusion, the subset of MPM patients with AXL-MET co-activation could benefit from treatment with specific multitarget inhibitors.