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FOXO3a and the MAPK p38 are activated by cetuximab to induce cell death and inhibit cell proliferation and their expression predicts cetuximab efficacy in colorectal cancer

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Cetuximab, a monoclonal antibody against EGFR used for the treatment of colorectal cancer (CRC), is ineffective in many patients. The aim of this study was to identify the signalling pathways activated by cetuximab in CRC cells and define new biomarker of response. METHODS: We used in vitro, in vivo models and clinical CRC samples to assess the role of p38 and FOXO3a in cetuximab mechanism of action. RESULTS: We show that cetuximab activates the MAPK p38. Specifically, p38 inhibition reduced cetuximab efficacy on cell growth and cell death. At the molecular level, cetuximab activates the transcription factor FOXO3a and promotes its nuclear translocation via p38-mediated phosphorylation, leading to the upregulation of its target genes p27 and BIM and the subsequent induction of apoptosis and inhibition of cell proliferation. Finally, we found that high FOXO3a and p38 expression levels are associated with better response rate and improved outcome in cetuximab-treated patients with CRC harbouring WT KRAS. CONCLUSIONS: We identify FOXO3a as a key mediator of cetuximab mechanism of action in CRC cells and define p38 as its activator in this context. Moreover, high FOXO3a and p38 expression could predict the response to cetuximab in patients with CRC harbouring WT KRAS.
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https://www.hal.inserm.fr/inserm-02465222
Contributor : Laetitia Linares <>
Submitted on : Monday, February 3, 2020 - 5:22:33 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, February 5, 2020 - 1:22:20 AM

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L Marzi, E. Combes, N. Vie, A. Ayrolles-Torro, D Tosi, et al.. FOXO3a and the MAPK p38 are activated by cetuximab to induce cell death and inhibit cell proliferation and their expression predicts cetuximab efficacy in colorectal cancer. British Journal of Cancer, Cancer Research UK, 2016, 115 (10), pp.1223-1233. ⟨10.1038/bjc.2016.313⟩. ⟨inserm-02465222⟩

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