Inhibition of c-Met downregulates TIGAR expression and reduces NADPH production leading to cell death

V. W.Y. Lui, E. Y.L. Wong, K. Ho, P. K.S. Ng, C. P.Y. Lau, S. K.W. Tsui, C. M. Tsang, S. W. Tsao, S. H. Cheng, M. H.L. Ng, Y. K. Ng, E. K.Y. Lam, B. Hong, K. W. Lo, T. S.K. Mok, A. T.C. Chan, G. B. Mills

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


c-Met represents an important emerging therapeutic target in cancer. In this study, we demonstrate the mechanism by which c-Met tyrosine kinase inhibition inhibits tumor growth in a highly invasive Asian-prevalent head and neck cancer, nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC). c-Met tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs; AM7 and c-Met TKI tool compound SU11274) downregulated c-Met phosphorylation, resulting in marked inhibition of NPC cell growth and invasion. Strikingly, inhibition of c-Met resulted in significant downregulation of TP53-induced Glycolysis and Apoptosis Regulator (TIGAR) and subsequent depletion of intracellular NADPH. Importantly, overexpression of TIGAR ameliorated the effects of c-Met kinase inhibition, confirming the importance of TIGAR downregulation in the growth inhibitory activity of c-Met TKI. The effects of c-Met inhibition on TIGAR and NADPH levels were observed with two different c-Met TKIs (AM7 and SU11274) and with multiple cell lines. As NADPH provides a crucial reducing power required for cell survival and proliferation, our findings reveal a novel mechanistic action of c-Met TKI, which may represent a key effect of c-Met kinase inhibition. Our data provide the first evidence linking c-Met, TIGAR and NADPH regulation in human cancer cells suggesting that inhibition of a tyrosine kinase/TIGAR/NADPH cascade may have therapeutic applicability in human cancers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1127-1134
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - Mar 3 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • c-Met tyrosine kinase inhibitor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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