The MEK/MAPK pathway is commonly activated in HER2-positive breast cancer, but little investigation of targeting this pathway has been undertaken. Here we present the results of an A panel of HER2-positive breast cancer cells were profiled for mutational status and also for anti-proliferative response to refametinib alone and in combination with the PI3K inhibitor (PI3Ki) copanlisib and the HER2-targeted therapies trastuzumab and lapatinib. Reverse phase protein array (RPPA) was used to determine the effect of refametinib alone and in combination with PI3Ki and HER2-inhibitors on expression and phosphorylation of proteins in the PI3K/AKT and MEK/MAPK pathways. We validated our proteomic Refametinib has anti-proliferative effects when used alone in 2/3 parental HER2-positive breast cancer cell lines (HCC1954, BT474), along with 3 models of these 2 cell lines with acquired trastuzumab or lapatinib resistance (6 cell lines tested). Refametinib treatment led to complete inhibition of MAPK signalling. In HCC1954, the most refametinib-sensitive cell line (IC Refametinib alone or in combination with copanlisib or lapatinib could represent an improved treatment strategy for some patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, and should be considered for clinical trial evaluation. The direct down-regulation of MEK/MAPK but not AKT signalling by HER2 inhibition (e.g. by lapatinib or trastuzumab), which we demonstrate occurs in 18% of HER2-positive breast cancers may serve as a potential biomarker of responsiveness to the MEK inhibitor refametinib.
Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland ->