MerTK is a novel therapeutic target in gastric cancer

Jun Ho Yi, Jiryeon Jang, Jeonghee Cho, In Gu Do, Mineui Hong, Seung Tae Kim, Kyoung Mee Kim, Sujin Lee, Se Hoon Park, Joon Oh Park, Young Suk Park, Won Ki Kang, Ho Yeong Lim, Jeeyun Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Introduction: The role of MerTK has not been assessed in gastric cancer (GC). The aim of this study was to identify a subgroup of GC patients with MerTK tumor overexpression, and to evaluate MerTK as a potential therapeutic target in this disease. Methods: Protein and mRNA expression of MerTK were evaluated, and other various in vitro analyses including shRNA transfection, cell cycle anslysis, MTS assay and colony forming assay were carried out with GC cell lines and GC patient-derived cells (PDCs). Results: shRNA-mediated knockdown of MerTK resulted in inhibition of cell growth, as well as increased cellular apoptosis in MerTK positive GC cells. Out of 192 GC patients, 16 (8.3%) patients showed strong protein expression and they had a significantly shorter overall survival compared to those with no MerTK expression. In 54 cases of GC PDCs, 4 cases (7.4%) showed mRNA overexpression, which was comparable to the protein expression rate. When we administered UNC1062, a novel MerTK-selective small molecular tyrosine kinase inhibitor, proliferation of MerTK overexpressing GC cells and PDCs were considerably inhibited. Conclusion: MerTK may be involved in GC carcinogenesis, and it could be a potential novel therapeutic target in GC patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96656-96667
Number of pages12
Issue number57
StatePublished - 2017

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by a grant from the Korean Health Technology R&D Project, Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea (HI14C2188). Support was also provided by a grant from the 20 by 20 project of Samsung Medical Center (GF01140111).


  • Gastric cancer
  • MerTK
  • Patient-derived cells


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