EGFRvIII–Stat5 signaling enhances glioblastoma cell migration and survival

Alison Roos, Harshil D. Dhruv, Sen Peng, Landon J. Inge, Serdar Tuncali, Michael Pineda, Nghia Millard, Zachary Mayo, Jennifer M. Eschbacher, Joseph C. Loftus, Jeffrey A. Winkles, Nhan L. Tran

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) is the most common brain malignancies in adults. Most GBM patients succumb to the disease less than 1 year after 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 radioresistant and chemoresistant properties to the tumor cells; therefore, there is a critical 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, it is reported that EGFRvIII activates Stat5 and GBM invasion 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 Stat5 dependent and requires activation of Src, whereas EGFR regulation of Fn14 is dependent upon Src–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 and survival. Because EGFR inhibitors display limited therapeutic efficacy in GBM patients, the EGFRvIII–Stat5–Fn14 signaling pathway represents a node of vulnerability in the invasive GBM cell populations. Implications: Targeting critical effectors in the EGFRvIII–Stat5–Fn14 pathway may limit GBM tumor dispersion, mitigate therapeutic resistance, and increase survival.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1185-1195
Number of pages11
JournalMolecular Cancer Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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