Molecular Pathways: Receptor Ectodomain Shedding in Treatment, Resistance, and Monitoring of Cancer.

Research paper by Miles A MA Miller, Ryan J RJ Sullivan, Douglas A DA Lauffenburger

Indexed on: 30 Nov '16Published on: 30 Nov '16Published in: Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research


Proteases known as sheddases cleave the extracellular domains of their substrates from the cell surface. The A Disintegrin and Metalloproteinases ADAM10 and ADAM17 are among the most prominent sheddases, being widely expressed in many tissues, frequently over-expressed in cancer, and promiscuously cleaving diverse substrates. It is increasingly clear that the proteolytic shedding of transmembrane receptors impacts pathophysiology and drug response. Receptor substrates of sheddases include the cytokine receptors TNFR1 and IL-6R; the Notch receptors; type-I and -III TGF-β receptors; receptor tyrosine kinases (RTKs) such as HER2, HER4, and VEGFR2; and in particular, MET and TAM-family RTKs AXL and Mer (MerTK). Activation of receptor shedding by mechanical cues, hypoxia, radiation, and phosphosignaling offers insight into mechanisms of drug resistance. This particularly holds for kinase inhibitors targeting BRAF (such as vemurafenib and dabrafenib) and MEK (such as trametinib and cobimetinib), along with direct sheddase inhibitors. Receptor proteolysis can be detected in patient fluids and is especially relevant in melanoma, glioblastoma, lung cancer, and triple-negative breast cancer where RTK substrates, MAPK signaling, and ADAMs are frequently dysregulated. Translatable strategies to exploit receptor shedding include combination kinase inhibitor regimens, recombinant decoy receptors based on endogenous counterparts, and potentially immunotherapy.