A grafted peptidomimetic for EGFR heterodimerization inhibition: Implications in NSCLC models

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Among the lung cancers, approximately 85% are histologically classified as non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), a leading cause of cancer deaths worldwide. Epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFRs) are known to play a crucial role in lung cancer. HER2 overexpression is detected by immunohistochemistry in 2.4%-38% of NSCLC samples. EGFRs have been targeted with three generations of tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs), and drug resistance has become a major issue; HER2 dimerization with EGFR also plays a major role in the development of resistance to TKI therapy. We have designed grafted peptides to bind to the HER2 extracellular domain (ECD) and inhibit protein-protein interactions of EGFR:HER2 and HER2:HER3. A sunflower trypsin inhibitor (SFTI-1) template was used to graft a peptidomimetic compound. Among several grafted peptides, SFTI-G5 exhibited antiproliferative activity in HER2-positive NSCLC cell lines such as Calu-3 cells with an IC value of 0.073 μM. SFTI-G5 was shown to bind to ECD of HER2 and inhibit EGFR:HER2 and HER2:HER3 dimerization and inhibit the phosphorylation of HER2 and downstream signaling proteins. As a proof-of-concept, the in vivo activity of SFTI-G5 was evaluated in two NSCLC mouse models. SFTI-G5 was able to inhibit tumor growth in both models. Furthermore, SFTI-G5 was shown to inhibit EGFR dimerization in tissue samples obtained from in vivo models. These grafted peptides can be used as novel dual inhibitors of EGFR dimerization in NSCLC.

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European journal of medicinal chemistry

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