Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department

Molecular Medicine

Major Professor

Richard Jove, Ph.D.


Tyrosine kinase inhibitor, Casatinib, Cancer therapy, Microarray, Gene expression profile


Sarcomas are rare mesenchymally-derived tumors with limited treatment options. Tyrosine kinases may serve as potential targets for sarcoma therapy because many are mutated or overexpressed in sarcomas and cell lines. One potential molecular target for sarcoma treatment is the Src tyrosine kinase. Three independently synthesized Src kinase inhibitors were evaluated in human sarcoma cell lines. Of the three, dasatinib, provided promising results as a potential sarcoma therapy. Until this study, dasatinib activity had not been characterized in sarcoma cells. Based on our previous findings of Src activation in human sarcomas, we evaluated the effects of dasatinib in twelve sarcoma cell lines. Dasatinib inhibited Src activity and downstream signaling at nanomolar concentrations. Inhibition of Src signaling was accompanied by blockade of cell migration and invasion. Moreover, apoptosis was induced in a subset of bone sarcomas at nanomolar concentrations of dasatinib.

Inhibition of Src protein expression by siRNA also induced apoptosis, indicating that these bone sarcoma cell lines are dependent on Src activity for survival. These results demonstrate that dasatinib inhibits migration and invasion of diverse sarcoma cell types, and selectively blocks the survival of bone sarcoma cells. Therefore dasatinib may provide therapeutic benefit by preventing the growth and metastasis of sarcomas. Microarray analysis of the sarcoma cell lines lead to the identification of a molecular signature that successfully predicts response to dasatinib by induction of apoptosis. Components of this molecular signature are expressed in primary human sarcomas. Furthermore, expression of the molecular signature in sarcomas can be utilized to cluster tumors based on theoretical response to dasatinib.

While the prediction of response in tumors is theoretical, there is encouraging evidence to support further endeavors into validating the potential of this molecular signature to predict response in patients.Together, these studies reveal that, in cell lines, both constitutive Src activation and the presence of a molecular signature that predicts response to dasatinib are important parameters to consider when selecting dasatinib as a treatment for. Furthermore, novel therapeutic approaches that inhibit Src signaling may selectively induce apoptosis in tumor cells and sensitize to chemotherapy those tumors that contain the relevant molecular signature.