Use of the inhibitor of ALK fusion onco-protein, crizotinib (PF02341066), has achieved impressive clinical efficacy in patients with ALK-positive non-small cell lung cancer. Nevertheless, acquired resistance to this drug occurs inevitably in approximately a year, limiting the therapeutic benefits of this novel targeted therapy. In this study, we found that autophagy was induced in crizonitib-resistant lung cancer cells and contributed to drug resistance. We observed that ALK was downregulated in the crizotinib-resistant lung cancer cell line, H3122CR-1, and this was causally associated with autophagy induction. The degree of crizotinib resistance correlated with autophagic activity. Activation of autophagy in crizotinib-resistant H3122CR-1 cells involved alteration of the Akt/mTOR signaling pathway. Furthermore, we demonstrated that chloroquine, an inhibitor of autophagy, could restore sensitivity of H3122CR-1 to crizotinib and enhance its efficacy against drug-resistant lung cancer. Thus, modulating autophagy may be worth exploring as a new strategy to overcome acquired crizonitib resistance in ALK-positive lung cancer.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Molecular Medicine
- Cancer Research