Introduction: Osimertinib showed great clinical efficacy for activated-EGFR NCLC patient treatment. The aim of this work was to test the efficacy of a complete EGFR-inhibition by osimertinib plus the monoclonal antibody cetuximab or the MEK1/2-inhibitor selumetinib in EGFR-mutated NCLC in vivo models. Methods: We evaluated combinations of osimertinib plus selumetinib/cetuximab in HCC827 (E746-A759del/T790M-), H1975 (L858R/T790M+), and PC9-T790M (E746-A759del /T790M+) xenografts in second-line therapy after the development of resistance to osimertinib, and in first-line therapy, and we explored mechanisms of resistance to these treatments. Results: The addition of selumetinib or cetuximab to osimertinib in second-line therapy reverted the sensibility to osimertinib in the majority of mice, with a response rate (RR) of 50% to 80%, and a median progression-free survival (mPFS) of first- plus second-line of therapy of 28 weeks. The early use of combinations in first-line therapy increased the RR to 90%, with an mPFS not reached in all combination arms in the three xenografts models, with a statistically significant superiority (p < 0.005) as compared to osimertinib, achieving in first-line therapy an mPFS time of 17 to 18 weeks. Moreover, in ex vivo primary cell cultures obtained from osimertinib plus selumetinib-resistant tumors, we found Hedgehog pathway activation and we showed that therapy with an SMO inhibitor plus osimertinib and selumetinib inhibited proliferation and migratory and invasive properties of resistant cells. Conclusions: We showed that a dual vertical EGFR blockade with osimertinib plus selumetinib/cetuximab is a novel effective therapeutic option in EGFR-mutated NCLC and that hedgehog pathway activation and its interplay with MAPK is involved in resistance to these combination treatments.
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