EGFR/c-Met and mTOR signaling are predictors of survival in non-small cell lung cancer

Zachary D. Crees, Caleb Shearrow, Leo Lin, Jennifer Girard, Kavin Arasi, Aayush Bhoraskar, Joseph Berei, Adam Eckburg, Austin D. Anderson, Christian Garcia, Ariana Munger, Sunil Palani, Thomas J. Smith, Shylendra B. Sreenivassappa, Connie Vitali, Odile David, Neelu Puri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: EGFR/c-Met activation/amplification and co-expression, mTOR upregulation/activation, and Akt/Wnt signaling upregulation have been individually associated with more aggressive disease and characterized as potential prognostic markers for lung cancer patients. Methods: Tumors obtained from 109 participants with stage I–IV non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) were studied for EGFR/c-Met co-localization as well as for total and active forms of EGFR, c-Met, mTOR, S6K, beta-catenin, and Axin2. Slides were graded by two independent blinded pathologists using a validated scoring system. Protein expression profile correlations were assessed using Pearson correlation and Spearman’s rho. Prognosis was assessed using Kaplan–Meier analysis. Results: Protein expression profile analysis revealed significant correlations between EGFR/p-EGFR (p = 0.0412) and p-mTOR/S6K (p = 0.0044). Co-localization of p-EGFR/p-c-Met was associated with increased p-mTOR (p = 0.0006), S6K (p = 0.0018), and p-S6K (p < 0.0001) expression. In contrast, active beta-catenin was not positively correlated with EGFR/c-Met nor any activated proteins. Axin2, a negative regulator of the Wnt pathway, was correlated with EGFR, p-EGFR, p-mTOR, p-S6K, EGFR/c-Met co-localization, and p-EGFR/p-c-Met co-localization (all p-values <0.03). Kaplan–Meier analysis revealed shorter median survival in participants with high expression of Axin2, total beta-catenin, total/p-S6K, total/p-mTOR, EGFR, and EGFR/c-Met co-localization compared with low expression. After controlling for stage of disease at diagnosis, subjects with late-stage disease demonstrated shorter median survival when exhibiting high co-expression of EGFR/c-Met (8.1 month versus 22.3 month, p = 0.050), mTOR (6.7 month versus 22.3 month, p = 0.002), and p-mTOR (8.1 month versus 25.4 month, p = 0.004) compared with low levels. Conclusions: These findings suggest that increased EGFR/c-Met signaling is correlated with upregulated mTOR/S6K signaling, which may in turn be associated with shorter median survival in late-stage NSCLC.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Medical Oncology
StatePublished - 2020


  • EGFR/c-Met
  • biomarker
  • mTOR
  • non-small cell lung cancer
  • prognosis


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