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Epidermal growth factor receptor gene mutations in non-small-cell lung cancer cells are associated with increased radiosensitivity in vitro

Authors Xie B, Sun LY, Cheng YJ, Zhou J, Zheng JH, Zhang WM

Received 18 February 2018

Accepted for publication 14 June 2018

Published 13 September 2018 Volume 2018:10 Pages 3551—3560


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Antonella D'Anneo

Bo Xie, Liyue Sun, Yanjun Cheng, Juan Zhou, Jihua Zheng, Weimin Zhang

Department of Oncology, Guangzhou General Hospital of Guangzhou Military Command, Guangzhou, Guangdong, People’s Republic of China

Introduction: There is still lack of specific biomarkers in predicting the radiosensitivity of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients in clinic. Previous studies have shown that the EGFR gene status may correlate with radiosensitivity of NSCLC. However, the underlying mechanisms remain unknown. The aim of this study was to further investigate the correlation between EGFR mutation status and the NSCLC cell radiosensitivity and to explore the possible cellular mechanism.
Methods: Eight NSCLC cell lines with different EGFR gene status were irradiated by linear accelerator, and the radiosensitivity between the cell lines was compared by cell colony formation assay and cell proliferation assay. Cell cycle and apoptosis were analysed by flow cytometry. Radiosensitivity-related protein expression was detected by Western blotting.
Results: In the present study, we found that NSCLC cell lines with the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) gene mutations were more sensitive to X-ray irradiation than those with wild-type EGFR (P<0.05). No difference in radiosensitivity was observed between NSCLC cells with EGFR exon19 deletion (Del 19) mutation and exon 21 point mutation at position 858 (L858R) with or without T790M mutation (P<0.05), as well as between NSCLC cells with EGFR mutation and those with acquired EGFR-tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) resistance. Mechanistically, EGFR mutations promoted NSCLC cell apoptosis in response to X-ray irradiation through the upregulation of proapoptotic protein Bax and downregulation of anti-apoptotic proteins such as Bcl-2 and DNA-dependent protein kinase catalytic subunit. In addition, phosphorylated histone (γ-H2AX) foci assay showed that EGFR mutations sustained irradiation-induced DNA damage.
Conclusion: Taken together, our study demonstrates that EGFR mutations are closely associated with the increased sensitivity of NSCLC cell lines to X-ray irradiation and that EGFR mutation status is a potentially useful indicator to evaluate the effectiveness of radiotherapy in the treatment of NSCLC.

Keywords: non-small-cell lung cancer, epidermal growth factor receptor, mutation, radiosensitivity

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