Src and ADAM-17-Mediated Shedding of Transforming Growth Factor-alpha Is a Mechanism of Acute Resistance to TRAIL

Sandra Van Schaeybroeck, D.M. Kelly, Joan Kyula, Susan Stokesberry, Dean Fennell, Patrick Johnston, Daniel Longley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL/Apo-2L) has emerged as a promising anticancer agent. However, resistance to TRAIL is likely to be a major problem, and sensitization of cancer cells to TRAIL may therefore be an important anticancer strategy. In this study, we examined the effect of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) gefitinib and a human epidermal receptor 2 (HER2)-TKI (M578440) on the sensitivity of human colorectal cancer (CRC) cell lines to recombinant human TRAIL (rhTRAIL). A synergistic interaction between rhTRAIL and gefitinib and rhTRAIL and M578440 was observed in both rhTRAIL-sensitive and resistant CRC cells. This synergy correlated with an increase in EGFR and HER2 activation after rhTRAIL treatment. Furthermore, treatment of CRC cells with rhTRAIL resulted in activation of the Src family kinases (SFK). Importantly, we found that rhTRAIL treatment induced shedding of transforming growth factor-alpha (TGF-alpha) that was dependent on SFK activity and the protease ADAM-17. Moreover, this shedding of TGF-alpha was critical for rhTRAIL-induced activation of EGFR. In support of this, SFK inhibitors and small interfering RNAs targeting ADAM-17 and TGF-alpha also sensitized CRC cells to rhTRAIL-mediated apoptosis. Taken together, our findings indicate that both rhTRAIL-sensitive and resistant CRC cells respond to rhTRAIL treatment by activating an EGFR/HER2-mediated survival response and that these cells can be sensitized to rhTRAIL using EGFR/HER2-targeted therapies. Furthermore, this acute response to rhTRAIL is regulated by SFK-mediated and ADAM-17-mediated shedding of TGF-alpha, such that targeting SFKs or inhibiting ADAM-17, in combination with rhTRAIL, may enhance the response of CRC tumors to rhTRAIL. [Cancer Res 2008;68(20):8312-21]
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8312-8321
Number of pages10
JournalCancer Research
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology


Dive into the research topics of 'Src and ADAM-17-Mediated Shedding of Transforming Growth Factor-alpha Is a Mechanism of Acute Resistance to TRAIL'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this