A common mutation of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) in glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is an extracellular truncation known as the de2-7 EGFR (or EGFRvIII). Hepatocyte growth factor (HGF) is the ligand for the receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) c-Met, and this signaling axis is often active in GBM. The expression of the HGF/c-Met axis or de2-7 EGFR independently enhances GBMgrowth and invasiveness, particularly through the phosphatidylinositol-3 kinase/pAkt pathway. Using RTK arrays, we show that expression of de2-7 EGFR in U87MG GBM cells leads to the coactivation of several RTKs, including platelet-derived growth factor receptor β and c-Met. A neutralizing antibody to HGF (AMG102) did not inhibit de2-7 EGFR-mediated activation of c-Met, demonstrating that it is ligand-independent. Therapy for parental U87MG xenografts with AMG 102 resulted in significant inhibition of tumor growth, whereas U87MG.Δ2-7 xenografts were profoundly resistant. Treatment of U87MG.Δ2-7 xenografts with panitumumab, an anti-EGFR antibody, only partially inhibited tumor growth as xenografts rapidly reverted to the HGF/c-Met signaling pathway. Cotreatment with panitumumab and AMG 102 prevented this escape leading to significant tumor inhibition through an apoptotic mechanism, consistent with the induction of oncogenic shock. This observation provides a rationale for using panitumumab and AMG 102 in combination for the treatment of GBM patients. These results illustrate that GBM cells can rapidly change the RTK driving their oncogene addiction if the alternate RTK signals through the same downstream pathway. Consequently, inhibition of a dominant oncogene by targeted therapy can alter the hierarchy of RTKs resulting in rapid therapeutic resistance
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