Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM) is the most common malignant brain tumor in adults. Most GBM patients succumb to the disease less than one-year post diagnosis due to the highly invasive nature of the tumor, which prevents complete surgical resection and gives rise to tumor recurrence. The invasive phenotype also confers radio and chemoresistant properties to the tumor cells; therefore, there is a need to develop new therapeutics that target drivers of GBM invasion. Amplification of EGFR is observed in over 50% of GBM tumors, of which half concurrently overexpress the variant EGFRvIII, and expression of both receptors confers a worse prognosis. EGFR and EGFRvIII cooperate to promote tumor progression and invasion, in part, through activation of the Stat-signaling pathway. Here we report that EGFRvIII activates Stat5 and GBM invasion, in part, by inducing the expression of a previously established mediator of glioma cell invasion and survival, fibroblast growth factor-inducible 14 (Fn14). EGFRvIII-mediated induction of Fn14 expression is dependent upon Stat5 and requires activation of Src, whereas EGFR regulation of Fn14 is dependent upon MEK/ERK-Stat3 activation. Notably, treatment of EGFRvIII expressing GBM cells with the FDA approved Stat5 inhibitor pimozide blocked Stat5 phosphorylation, Fn14 expression, and cell migration. Since EGFR inhibitors display limited therapeutic efficacy in GBM patients, we hypothesize that the EGFRvIII-Stat5-Fn14 signaling pathway represents a node of vulnerability in the invasive GB cell population and that targeting critical effectors in this pathway will limit GBM tumor dispersion, mitigate therapeutic resistance, and increase survival.

Citation Format: Alison Roos, Harshil D. Dhruv, Sen Peng, Landon J. Inge, Serdar Tuncali, Michael Pineda, Nghia Millard, Jeffrey A. Winkles, Joseph C. Loftus, Nhan L. Tran. EGFRvIII-Stat5 signaling enhances glioblastoma cell invasion [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2018; 2018 Apr 14-18; Chicago, IL. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2018;78(13 Suppl):Abstract nr 3462.