KRAS-driven non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients have no effective targeted treatment. In this study, we aimed to investigate targeting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) as a therapeutic approach in KRAS-driven lung cancer cells. We show that ablation of EGFR significantly suppressed tumor growth in KRAS-dependent cells and induced significantly higher expression of CX chemokine receptor 7 (CXCR7) and activation of MAPK (ERK1/2). Conversely, rescue of EGFR led to CXCR7 downregulation in EGFR-/- cells. Dual EGFR and CXCR7 inhibition led to substantial reduction of MAPK (pERK) and synergistic inhibition of cell growth. Analysis of two additional EGFR knockout NSCLC cell lines using CRISPR/Cas9 revealed genotype dependency of CXCR7 expression. In addition, treatment of different cells with gefitinib increased CXCR7 expression in EGFRwt but decreased it in EGFRmut cells. CXCR7 protein expression was detected in all NSCLC patient samples, with higher levels in adenocarcinoma as compared to squamous cell lung carcinoma and healthy control cases. In conclusion, EGFR and CXCR7 have a crucial interaction in NSCLC, and dual inhibition may be a potential therapeutic option for NSCLC patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number455
Number of pages18
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 30-Mar-2019

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