Activation of AXL as a preclinical acquired resistance mechanism against osimertinib treatment in EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer cells

Kei Namba, Kazuhiko Shien, Yuta Takahashi, Hidejiro Torigoe, Hiroki Sato, Takahiro Yoshioka, Tatsuaki Takeda, Eisuke Kurihara, Yusuke Ogoshi, Hiromasa Yamamoto, Junichi Sou, Shuta Tomida, Shinichi Toyooka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Osimertinib (AZD9291) has an efficacy superior to that of standard EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitors for the first-line treatment of patients with EGFR-mutant advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). However, patients treated with osimertinib eventually acquire drug resistance, and novel therapeutic strategies to overcome acquired resistance are needed. In clinical or preclinical models, several mechanisms of acquired resistance to osimertinib have been elucidated. However, the acquired resistance mechanisms when osimertinib is initially used for EGFR-mutant NSCLC remain unclear. In this study, we experimentally established acquired osimertinib- resistant cell lines from EGFR-mutant NSCLC cell lines and investigated the molecular profiles of resistant cells to uncover the mechanisms of acquired resistance. Various resistance mechanisms were identified, including the acquisition of MET amplification, EMT induction, and the upregulation of AXL. Using targeted next-generation sequencing with a multigene panel, no secondary mutations were detected in our resistant cell lines. Among three MET-amplified cell lines, one cell line was sensitive to a combination of osimertinib and crizotinib. Acquired resistance cell lines derived from H1975 harboring the T790M mutation showed AXL upregulation, and the cell growth of these cell lines was suppressed by a combination of osimertinib and cabozantinib, an inhibitor of multiple tyrosine kinases including AXL, both in vitro and in vivo. Our results suggest that AXL might be a therapeutic target for overcoming acquired resistance to osimertinib. Implications: Upregulation of AXL is one of the mechanisms of acquired resistance to osimertinib, and combination of osimertinib and cabozantinib might be a key treatment for overcoming osimertinib resistance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)499-507
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Activation of AXL as a preclinical acquired resistance mechanism against osimertinib treatment in EGFR-mutant non-small cell lung cancer cells'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this