Targeting the Yin and the Yang: Combined Inhibition of the Tyrosine Kinase c-Src and the Tyrosine Phosphatase SHP-2 Disrupts Pancreatic Cancer Signaling and Biology In Vitro and Tumor Formation In Vivo

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Abstract

Objectives

Although c-Src (Src) has emerged as a potential pancreatic cancer target in preclinical studies, Src inhibitors have not demonstrated a significant therapeutic benefit in clinical trials. The objective of these studies was to examine the effects of combining Src inhibition with inhibition of the protein tyrosine phosphatase SHP-2 in pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and in vivo.

Methods

SHP-2 and Src functions were inhibited by siRNA or small molecule inhibitors. The effects of dual Src/SHP-2 functional inhibition were evaluated by Western blot analysis of downstream signaling pathways; cell biology assays to examine caspase activity, viability, adhesion, migration, and invasion in vitro; and an orthotopic nude mouse model to observe pancreatic tumor formation in vivo.

Results

Dual targeting of Src and SHP-2 induces an additive or supra-additive loss of phosphorylation of Akt and ERK-1/2 and corresponding increases in expression of apoptotic markers, relative to targeting either protein individually. Combinatorial inhibition of Src and SHP-2 significantly reduces viability, adhesion, migration, and invasion of pancreatic cancer cells in vitro and tumor formation in vivo, relative to individual Src/SHP-2 inhibition.

Conclusions

These data suggest that the antitumor effects of Src inhibition in pancreatic cancer may be enhanced through simultaneous inhibition of SHP-2.

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