Lack of acquired resistance in HER2-positive breast cancer cells after long-term HER2 siRNA nanoparticle treatment

Shenda Gu, Worapol Ngamcherdtrakul, Moataz Reda, Zhi Hu, Joe W. Gray, Wassana Yantasee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Intrinsic and acquired resistance to current HER2 targeted therapies remains a challenge in clinics. We have developed a therapeutic HER2 siRNA delivered using mesoporous silica nanoparticles modified with polymers and conjugated with HER2 targeting antibodies. Our previous studies have shown that our HER2 siRNA nanoparticles could overcome intrinsic and acquired resistance to trastuzumab and lapatinib in HER2-positive breast cancers. In this study, we investigated the effect of long-term (7 months) treatment using our therapeutic HER2 siRNA. Even after the removal of HER2 siRNA, the long-term treated cells grew much slower (67% increase in doubling time) than cells that have not received any treatment. The treated cells did not undergo epithelial-mesenchymal transition or showed enrichment of tumor initiating cells. Unlike trastuzumab and lapatinib, which induced resistance in BT474 cells after 6 months of treatment, HER2 siRNA did not induce resistance to HER2 siRNA, trastuzumab, or lapatinib. HER2 ablation with HER2 siRNA prevented reactivation of HER2 signaling that was observed in cells resistant to lapatinib. Altogether, our results indicate that a HER2 siRNA based therapeutic provides a more durable inhibition of HER2 signaling in vitro and can potentially be more effective than the existing therapeutic monoclonal antibodies and small molecule inhibitors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0198141
JournalPloS one
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General


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