Díaz-Rodríguez E, Pérez-Peña J, Ríos-Luci C. et Al. – TRAIL receptor activation overcomes resistance to trastuzumab in HER2 positive breast cancer cells. Cancer Lett. 2019 Mar 27. pii: S0304-3835(19)30198-3. doi: 10.1016/j.canlet.2019.03.042.
The appearance of resistance to the anti-HER2 targeted drug trastuzumab constitutes, nowadays, an important challenge in the oncology clinic. To fight such resistance, we searched for potential vulnerabilities in cells resistant to that drug. To that end, we used cell lines primary resistant to trastuzumab, as well as cells made secondarily resistant to the drug upon continuous exposure. Using genomic and proteomic approaches, a deregulation in cell death pathways was identified in trastuzumab-resistant cells. More precisely, an increased response to the death factor TRAIL, caused by an increase in the cellular receptors for this factor, was observed. In parallel, a decrease in inhibitory components of the pathway was detected. This combination produces a more efficient assembly of the functional complex in the trastuzumab-resistant cells that translates in the observed increased response to TRAIL. Analysis of HER2 positive patient samples confirmed deregulation of this pathway in trastuzumab-resistant patients. Taken together our data identify a vulnerability of trastuzumab-resistant cells that could be used to design new targeted therapies in that context.