Effects of gefitinib (Iressa) on mammary cancers: preventive studies with varied dosages, combinations with vorozole or targretin, and biomarker changes

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Molecular Cancer Therapeutics (Impact Factor: 5.68). 05/2008; 7(4):972-9. DOI: 10.1158/1535-7163.MCT-07-2141
Source: PubMed


The ability of the epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor gefitinib (Iressa) to prevent/treat methylnitrosourea (MNU)-induced mammary cancers and to modulate biomarkers in female Sprague-Dawley rats was examined. Rats were given a single dose of MNU (75 mg/kg body weight) at 50 days of age. In the prevention studies, continual treatment with Iressa at 10, 3, or 1 mg/kg body weight per day beginning 5 days after MNU reduced tumor multiplicity by 93%, 43%, and 20%, respectively. Treatment of rats bearing small palpable cancers with Iressa (10 mg/kg body weight per day) resulted in the complete regression of 70% of the tumors. Short-term treatment of tumor-bearing rats with Iressa caused decreases in cell proliferation and phosphorylated epidermal growth factor receptor and increases in apoptosis. To examine treatment regimens that might decrease the skin toxicity associated with Iressa, both intermittent treatments and combinations of lower doses of Iressa with other effective agents were evaluated. Treatment with Iressa (10 mg/kg body weight per day) continually or intermittently (either "3 weeks on/3 weeks off" or "4 days on/3 days off") reduced cancer multiplicity by 91%, 24%, and 68%, respectively. However, all regimens reduced tumor weights >85%. Finally, combining suboptimal doses of Iressa with suboptimal doses of vorozole (an aromatase inhibitor) or targretin (a retinoid X receptor agonist) yielded greater chemopreventive efficacy than any of these agents given alone.

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    • "In this regard, inhibition of EGFR phosphorylation by Iressa blocked Areg+P-induced proliferation in primary mammary organoids and markedly inhibited Areg+P-induced Erk phosphorylation that was associated with proliferation in T47D-YB cells. Iressa has been shown to reduce mammary tumor incidence and cause tumor regression in carcinogen-treated rats [54]. Furthermore, the combination of Iressa and an aromatase inhibitor was more effective than Iressa alone [54]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Both estrogen (E) and progesterone (P) are implicated in the etiology of human breast cancer. Defining their mechanisms of action, particularly in vivo, is relevant to the prevention and therapy of breast cancer. We investigated the molecular and cellular mechanisms of E and/or P-induced in vivo proliferation, in the normal rat mammary gland and in hormone-dependent rat mammary cancers which share many characteristics with the normal human breast and hormone-dependent breast cancers. We show that E+P treatment induced significantly greater proliferation in both the normal gland and mammary cancers compared to E alone. In both the normal gland and tumors, E+P-induced proliferation was mediated through the increased production of amphiregulin (Areg), an epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) ligand, and the activation of intracellular signaling pathways (Erk, Akt, JNK) downstream of EGFR that regulate proliferation. In vitro experiments using rat primary mammary organoids or T47D breast cancer cells confirmed that Areg and the synthetic progestin, R5020, synergize to promote cell proliferation through EGFR signaling. Iressa, an EGFR inhibitor, effectively blocked this proliferation. These results indicate that mediators of cross talk between E, P, and EGFR pathways may be considered as relevant molecular targets for the therapy of hormone-dependent breast cancers, especially in premenopausal women. Electronic supplementary material The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12672-010-0048-0) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
    Hormones and Cancer 10/2010; 1(5):229-44. DOI:10.1007/s12672-010-0048-0 · 0.02 Impact Factor
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