Steroid receptor coactivator-3 (SRC-3) is a histone acetyltransferase and nuclear hormone receptor co-activator, located on 20q12, which is amplified in several epithelial cancers and well studied in breast cancer. However, its possible role in lung cancer pathogenesis is unknown. We found SRC-3 to be overexpressed in 27% of non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients (n = 311) by immunohistochemistry, which correlated with poor disease-free (P = 0.0015) and overall (P = 0.0008) survival. Twenty-seven percent of NSCLCs exhibited SRC-3 gene amplification, and we found that lung cancer cell lines expressed higher levels of SRC-3 than did immortalized human bronchial epithelial cells (HBEC), which in turn expressed higher levels of SRC-3 than did cultured primary human HBECs. Small interfering RNA-mediated downregulation of SRC-3 in high-expressing, but not in low-expressing, lung cancer cells significantly inhibited tumor cell growth and induced apoptosis. Finally, we found that SRC-3 expression is inversely correlated with gefitinib sensitivity and that SRC-3 knockdown results in epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase inhibitor-resistant lung cancers becoming more sensitive to gefitinib. Taken together, these data suggest that SRC-3 may be an important oncogene and therapeutic target for lung cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cancer Research