11 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND/AIMS: Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR)-tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI) therapy is a clinical option for non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) harboring activating EGFR mutations or for cancer with wild-type (WT) EGFR when chemotherapy has failed. MET receptor activation or MET gene amplification was reported to be a major mechanism of acquired resistance to EGFR-TKI therapy in NSCLC cells. Leukocyte cell-derived chemotaxin 2 (LECT2) is a multifunctional cytokine that was shown to suppress metastasis of hepatocellular carcinoma via inhibiting MET activity. Until now, the biological function responsible for LECT2's action in human NSCLC remains unclear. METHODS: LECT2-knockout (KO) mice and NOD/SCID/IL2rgnull (NSG) mice were respectively used to investigate the effects of LECT2 on the tumorigenicity and metastasis of murine (Lewis lung carcinoma, LLC) and human (HCC827) lung cancer cells. The effect of LECT2 on in vitro cell proliferation was evaluated, using MTS and colony formation assays. The effect of LECT2 on cell motility was evaluated using transwell migration and invasion assays. An enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay was performed to detect secreted LECT2 in plasma and media. Co-immunoprecipitation and Western blot assays were used to investigate the underlying mechanisms of LECT2 in NSCLC cells. RESULTS: Compared to WT mice, mice with LECT2 deletion exhibited enhanced growth and metastasis of LLC cells, and survival times decreased in LLC-implanted mice. Overexpression of LECT2 in orthotopic human HCC827 xenografts in NSG mice resulted in significant inhibition of tumor growth and metastasis. In vitro, overexpression of LECT2 or treatment with a recombinant LECT2 protein impaired the colony-forming ability and motility of NSCLC cells (HCC827 and PC9) harboring high levels of activated EGFR and MET. Mechanistic investigations found that LECT2 bound to MET and EGFR to antagonize their activation and further suppress their common downstream pathways: phosphatidylinositol 3-kinase/Akt and extracellular signal-regulated kinase. CONCLUSION: EGFR-MET signaling is critical for aggressive behaviors of NSCLC and is recognized as a therapeutic target for NSCLC especially for patients with acquired resistance to EGFR-TKI therapy. Our findings demonstrate, for the first time, that LECT2 functions as a suppressor of the progression of NSCLC by targeting EGFR-MET signaling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)337-355
Number of pages19
JournalCellular physiology and biochemistry : international journal of experimental cellular physiology, biochemistry, and pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2018


  • EGFR
  • LECT2
  • MET
  • Tumor growth
  • Tumor invasion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology


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