Silibinin overcomes the acquired resistance to crizotinib in ALK-rearranged lung cancer. - GreenMedInfo Summary
STAT3-targeted treatment with silibinin overcomes the acquired resistance to crizotinib in ALK-rearranged lung cancer.
Cell Cycle. 2016 Oct 18:0. Epub 2016 Aug 18. PMID: 27753543
The signal transducer and activator of transcription 3 (STAT3) has been suggested to play a prominent role in mediating non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) resistance to some tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI)-mediated therapies. Using a model of anaplastic lymphoma kinase gene (ALK)-translocated NSCLC with acquired resistance to the ALK TKI crizotinib, but lacking amplifications or mutations in the kinase domain of ALK, we herein present evidence that STAT3 activation is a novel mechanism of crizotinib resistance that involves the upregulation of immune escape and epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT) signaling pathways. Taking advantage of the flavonolignan silibinin as a naturally occurring STAT3-targeted pharmacological inhibitor, we confirmed that STAT3 activation protects ALK-translocated NSCLC from crizotinib. Accordingly, silibinin-induced inhibition of STAT3 worked synergistically with crizotinib to reverse acquired resistance and restore sensitivity in crizotinib-resistant cells. Moreover, silibinin treatment significantly inhibited the upregulation of the immune checkpoint regulator PD-L1 and also EMT regulators (e.g., SLUG, VIM, CD44) in crizotinib-refractory cells. These findings provide a valuable strategy to potentially improve the efficacy of ALK inhibition by cotreatment with silibinin-based therapeutics, which merit clinical investigation for ALK TKI-resistant NSCLC patients.