Mechanistic Support for Combined MET and AR Blockade in Castration-Resistant Prostate Cancer.


A recent phase III trial of the MET kinase inhibitor cabozantinib in men with castration-resistant prostate cancer (CRPC) failed to meet its primary survival end point; however, most men with CRPC have intact androgen receptor (AR) signaling. As previous work supports negative regulation of MET by AR signaling, we hypothesized that intact AR signaling may have limited the efficacy of cabozantinib in some of these patients. To assess the role of AR signaling on MET inhibition, we first performed an in silico analysis of human CRPC tissue samples stratified by AR signaling status ((+) or (-)), which identified MET expression as markedly increased in AR(-) samples. In vitro, AR signaling inhibition in AR(+) CRPC models increased MET expression and resulted in susceptibility to ligand (HGF) activation. Likewise, MET inhibition was only effective in blocking cancer phenotypes in cells with MET overexpression. Using multiple AR(+) CRPC in vitro and in vivo models, we showed that combined cabozantinib and enzalutamide (AR antagonist) treatment was more efficacious than either inhibitor alone. These data provide a compelling rationale to combine AR and MET inhibition in CRPC and may explain the negative results of the phase III cabozantinib study in CRPC. Similarly, the expression of MET in AR(-) disease, whether due to AR inhibition or loss of AR signaling, suggests potential utility for MET inhibition in select patients with AR therapy resistance and in AR(-) prostate cancer.

  • Alva AS
  • Cao X
  • Chinnaiyan AM
  • Feng FY
  • Han S
  • Keller ET
  • Logothetis C
  • Morgan TM
  • Navone NM
  • Palapattu GS
  • Qiao Y
  • Smith DC
  • Taichman RS
  • Tomlins SA
  • Wang Y
  • Wilder-Romans K
PubMed ID
Appears In
Neoplasia, 2016, 18 (1)