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Stimulation of Eryptosis by Afatinib

Stimulation of Eryptosis by Afatinib

Cellular Physiology and Biochemistry 47(3): 1259-1273

The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor afatinib is primarily utilized for the treatment of non-small cell lung carcinoma. The drug is at least partially effective by triggering suicidal tumor cell death. Side effects of afatinib treatment include anemia. At least in theory, afatinib induced anemia could be secondary to stimulation of suicidal erythrocyte death or eryptosis, characterized by cell shrinkage and cell membrane scrambling with phosphatidylserine translocation to the erythrocyte surface. Signaling potentially stimulating eryptosis include increase of cytosolic Ca2+ activity ([Ca2+]i), induction of oxidative stress, and increase of ceramide abundance. The present study explored, whether afatinib induces eryptosis and, if so, whether its effect involves Ca2+ entry, oxidative stress, and/or ceramide. Flow cytometry was employed to quantify phosphatidylserine exposure at the cell surface from annexin-V-binding, cell volume from forward scatter, [Ca2+]i from Fluo3-fluorescence, reactive oxygen species (ROS) abundance from DCFDA dependent fluorescence, and ceramide abundance utilizing specific antibodies. A 48 hours exposure of human erythrocytes to afatinib (≥ 4 µg/ml) significantly increased the percentage of annexin-V-binding cells and significantly decreased forward scatter. Afatinib significantly increased Fluo3-fluorescence, DCFDA fluorescence and ceramide abundance. The effect of afatinib on annexin-V-binding and forward scatter was significantly blunted by removal of extracellular Ca2+. Afatinib triggers phospholipid scrambling of the erythrocyte cell membrane, an effect at least in part due to Ca2+ entry, oxidative stress, and ceramide.

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Accession: 065534813

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PMID: 29913444

DOI: 10.1159/000490221

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