EPHA2 mutations with oncogenic characteristics in squamous cell lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma.

Oncogenesis 2019 September 4 [Link]

Tan YC, Srivastava S, Won BM, Kanteti R, Arif Q, Husain AN, Li H, Vigneswaran WT, Pang KM, Kulkarni P, Sattler M, Vaidehi N, Mambetsariev I, Kindler HL, Wheeler DL, Salgia R


Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) and malignant pleural mesothelioma (MPM) are thoracic malignancies with very poor prognosis and limited treatment options. It is an established fact that most of the solid tumors have overexpression of EPHA2 receptor tyrosine kinase. EPHA2 is known to exhibit opposing roles towards cancer progression. It functions in inhibiting cancer survival and migration via a ligand and tyrosine kinase dependent signaling (Y772). Whereas it is known to promote tumor progression and cell migration through a ligand-independent signaling (S897). We analyzed the expression profile and mutational status of the ephrin receptor A2 (EPHA2) in SCC and MPM cell lines and primary patient specimens. The EPHA2 receptor was found to be either overexpressed, mutated or amplified in SCC and MPM. In particular, the EPHA2 mutants A859D and T647M were interesting to explore, A859D Y772 dead mutant exhibited lower levels of phosphorylation at Y772 compared to T647M mutant. Molecular Dynamics simulations studies suggested that differential changes in conformation might form the structural basis for differences in the level of EPHA2 activation. Consequently, A859D mutant cells exhibited increased proliferation as well as cell migration compared to controls and T647M mutant. Kinomics analysis demonstrated that the STAT3 and PDGF pathways were upregulated whereas signaling through CBL was suppressed. Considered together, the present work has uncovered the oncogenic characteristics of EPHA2 mutations in SSC and MPM reinstating the dynamics of different roles of EPHA2 in cancer. This study also suggests that a combination of doxazosin and other EPHA2 inhibitors directed to inhibit the pertinent signaling components may be a novel therapeutic strategy for MPM and Non-small cell lung cancer patients who have either EPHA2 or CBL alterations.