Phosphorylation of both EGFR and ErbB2 Is a reliable Predictor of Prostate Cancer Cell Proliferation in response to EGF
Despite multiple reports of overexpression in prostate cancer (PC), the reliance of PC cells on activated epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and its downstream signaling to phosphoinositide 3'-kinase/Akt (PI3K/Akt/PTEN) and/or mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK/ERK) pathways has not been fully elucidated. In this study, we compared the role of EGF-mediated signaling in nonmalignant (BPH-1, PNT1A, and PNT1 B) and PC cell lines (DU145, PC3, LNCaP, and CWR22Rv1). EGF-induced proliferation was observed in all EGFR-expressing PC cells except PC3, indicating that EGFR expression does not unequivocally trigger proliferation following EGF stimulation. ErbB2 recruitment potentiated EGF-induced signals and was associated with the most pronounced effects of EGF despite low EGFR expression. In this way, the sum of EGFR and ErbB2 receptor phosphorylation proved to be a more sensitive indicator of EGF-induced proliferation than quantification of the expression of either receptor alone. Both Akt and ERK were rapidly phosphorylated in response to EGF, with ERK phosphorylation being weakest in PC3 cells. Extrapolation of these findings to clinical PC suggests that assessment of phosphorylated EGFR + ErbB2 together could serve as a marker for sensitivity to anti-EGFR-targeted therapies.