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Navigating into the binding pockets of the HER family protein kinases: discovery of novel EGFR inhibitor as antitumor agent

Authors Liu W, Ning J, Meng W, Hu J, Zhao Y, Liu C, Cai L

Received 24 March 2015

Accepted for publication 17 April 2015

Published 23 July 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 3837—3851


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Shu-Feng Zhou

Wei Liu,1,* Jin-Feng Ning,2,* Qing-Wei Meng,1 Jing Hu,1 Yan-Bin Zhao,1 Chao Liu,3 Li Cai1

The Fourth Department of Medical Oncology, Harbin Medical University Cancer Hospital, 2The Thoracic Surgery Department, Harbin Medical University Cancer Hospital, Harbin, People’s Republic of China; 3General Surgery Department, Mudanjiang Guanliju Central Hospital, Mishan, Heilongjiang Province, People’s Republic of China

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) family has been validated as a successful antitumor drug target for decades. Known EGFR inhibitors were exposed to distinct drug resistance against the various EGFR mutants within non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC), particularly the T790M mutation. Although so far a number of studies have been reported on the development of third-generation EGFR inhibitors for overcoming the resistance issue, the design procedure largely depends on the intuition of medicinal chemists. Here we retrospectively make a detailed analysis of the 42 EGFR family protein crystal complexes deposited in the Protein Data Bank (PDB). Based on the analysis of inhibitor binding modes in the kinase catalytic cleft, we identified a potent EGFR inhibitor (compound A-10) against drug-resistant EGFR through fragment-based drug design. This compound showed at least 30-fold more potency against EGFR T790M than the two control molecules erlotinib and gefitinib in vitro. Moreover, it could exhibit potent HER2 inhibitory activities as well as tumor growth inhibitory activity. Molecular docking studies revealed a structural basis for the increased potency and mutant selectivity of this compound. Compound A-10 may be selected as a promising candidate in further preclinical studies. In addition, our findings could provide a powerful strategy to identify novel selective kinase inhibitors on the basis of detailed kinase–ligand interaction space in the PDB.

Keywords: EGFR, kinase, inhibitor, protein crystal complex, FBDD, erlotinib

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