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Title: Targeting EGFR signalling pathway in triple negative breast cancer
Author: Albukhari, Ashwag
ISNI:       0000 0004 5366 4708
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2014
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Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is frequently overexpressed in the majority of triple negative breast cancer patients (TNBC). However, the molecular determinants behind their limited response to EGFR-targeted therapies are poorly understood. Here, both the acute and chronic responses of TNBC to the EGFR-targeted therapy, cetuximab (CTX), have been investigated. The expression of EGFR has been analyzed in a cohort of 2000 breast cancer tumours from the public dataset as well as in a panel of breast cancer cell lines. Furthermore, the response of TNBC cell lines to CTX has been investigated using conventional biochemical methods. Finally, a comprehensive transcriptomic profiling of an acquired CTX-resistant TNBC model by RNA sequencing has been performed to understand the molecular determinants of acquired CTX resistance. The results confirmed that EGFR is highly expressed in TNBC in comparison to non-TNBC breast cancer tumours and cell lines, which was associated with adverse clinical outcomes. Targeting EGFR in TNBC cell lines using CTX failed to completely inhibit the EGFR signalling pathway and was associated with an increase in ADAMs-mediated release of endogenous EGFR ligands, EGF and TGFα. Inhibition of ADAMs (ADAM10 and ADAM17) significantly enhanced the anti tumour efficacy of CTX both in vitro and in vivo. Furthermore, transcriptomic profiling of the acquired CTX-resistant TNBC cell line (MDA-MB-468CR) revealed an activation of several key oncogenic pathways and genes, including the TGFβ/BMP pathway. Blocking BMP receptors (BMPRs) restored the sensitivity of resistant cells to CTX treatment. Collectively, current findings offer alternative strategies that could enhance the CTX response in TNBC. We further reported that simultaneous targeting of both EGFR and BMPR pathways could overcome CTX resistance, which might have important implications for the treatment of TNBC.
Supervisor: Ahmed, Ahmed; Kong, Anthony Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Medical sciences ; Biology (medical sciences) ; Oncology ; Tumours ; Cetuximab ; Triple negative breast cancer ; cell biology ; genomics ; drug resistance