RON and MET Co-overexpression Are Significant Pathological Characteristics of Poor Survival and Therapeutic Targets of Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitors in Triple-Negative Breast Cancer


Triplenegative breast cancer (TNBC) is highly malignant and has poor prognosis and a high mortality rate. The lack of effective therapy has spurred our investigation of new targets for treating this malignant cancer. Here, we identified RON (macrophage-stimulating 1 receptor) and MET (MET proto-oncogene, receptor tyrosine kinase) as a prognostic biomarker and therapeutic targets for potential TNBC treatment.


We analyzed RON and MET expression in 187 primary TNBC clinical samples with immunohistochemistry. We validated the targeted therapeutic effects of RON and MET in TNBC using three tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs): BMS-777607, INCB28060, and tivantinib. The preclinical therapeutic efficacy of the TKIs was mainly estimated using a TNBC xenograft model.


Patients with TNBC had widespread, abnormal expression of RON and MET. There was RON overexpression, MET overexpression, and RON and MET co-overexpression in 63 (33.7%), 63 (33.7%), and 43 cases (23.0%), respectively, which had poor prognosis and short survival. In vivo, the TKI targeting RON ant MET inhibited the activation of the downstream signaling molecules, inhibited TNBC cell migration and proliferation, and increased TNBC cell apoptosis; in the xenograft model, they significantly inhibited tumor growth and shrank tumor volumes. The TKI targeting RON and Met, such as BMS-777607 and tivantinib, yielded stronger anti-tumor effects than INCB28060.


RON and MET co-overexpression can be significant pathological characteristics in TNBC for poor prognosis. TKIs targeting RON and MET have stronger drug development potential for treating TNBC.