Rational combination of targeted therapies as a strategy to overcome the mechanisms of resistance to inhibitors of EGFR signaling.
ABSTRACT The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) has been widely used as a target for novel anticancer agents, such as blocking antibodies and small molecular weight tyrosine kinase compounds. In spite of recent advances in cancer cell biology, leading to the introduction of clinically active new drugs, such as cetuximab, panitumumab and erlotinib, unfortunately disease control remains unsuccessful due to the presence of constitutive resistance to EGFR inhibitors in most patients and the development of acquired resistance in the responders. A large number of molecular abnormalities in tumor cells seem to partly contribute to their resistance to anti-EGFR therapy: increased angiogenesis, constitutive activation of downstream mediators, overexpression of other tyrosine kinase receptors. Moreover, some mutations in the EGFR receptor kinase domain seem to play a crucial role in determining the sensitivity of cancer cells to specific inhibitors by altering the conformation of the receptor and its activity. The development of rational combinations of anticancer agents and EGFR inhibitors, able to exert synergistic cytotoxic interactions, has been widely accepted and used in both preclinical and clinical studies. Although the failure of large clinical trial based on empirical combination of anti-EGFR and classic chemotherapeutic agents, several preclinical data seems to support the hypothesis that combining EGFR inhibitors and other novel agents could efficiently inhibit tumor growth and overcome intrinsic resistance to a single-agent based therapy. This review focuses on the role of complementary signalling pathways in the development of resistance to EGFR targeting agents and the rationale to combine novel inhibitors as anticancer therapy.
Article: Targeting the epidermal growth factor receptor in epithelial ovarian cancer: current knowledge and future challenges.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The epidermal growth factor receptor is overexpressed in up to 60% of ovarian epithelial malignancies. EGFR regulates complex cellular events due to the large number of ligands, dimerization partners, and diverse signaling pathways engaged. In ovarian cancer, EGFR activation is associated with increased malignant tumor phenotype and poorer patient outcome. However, unlike some other EGFR-positive solid tumors, treatment of ovarian tumors with anti-EGFR agents has induced minimal response. While the amount of information regarding EGFR-mediated signaling is considerable, current data provides little insight for the lack of efficacy of anti-EGFR agents in ovarian cancer. More comprehensive, systematic, and well-defined approaches are needed to dissect the roles that EGFR plays in the complex signaling processes in ovarian cancer as well as to identify biomarkers that can accurately predict sensitivity toward EGFR-targeted therapeutic agents. This new knowledge could facilitate the development of rational combinatorial therapies to sensitize tumor cells toward EGFR-targeted therapies.Journal of Oncology 01/2010; 2010:568938.
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ABSTRACT: This study explores whether meningioma expresses epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and determines if there is a correlation between the WHO grade of this tumor and the degree of EGFR expression. Following institutional review board approval, 113 meningioma specimens from 89 patients were chosen. Of these, 85 were used for final analysis. After a blinded review, immunohistochemical stains for EGFR were performed. Staining intensity (SI) was scored on a scale 0-3 (from no staining to strong staining). Staining percentage of immunoreactive cells (SP) was scored 1-5 (from the least to the maximum percent of the specimen staining). Immunohistochemical score (IHS) was calculated as the product of SI and SP. Eighty-five samples of meningioma were classified in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) criteria: benign 57/85 (67%), atypical 23/85 (27%), and malignant 5/85 (6%). The majority of samples demonstrated a moderate SI for EGFR. IHS for EGFR demonstrated a significant association between SI and histopathologic subtype. Also, there was a correlation between the SP and histopathologic subtype (p = 0.029). A significant association was determined when the benign and the atypical samples were compared to the malignant with respect to the SP (p = 0.009). While there was a range of the IHS for the benign and the atypical histologic subtypes, malignant tumors exhibited the lowest score and were statistically different from the benign and the atypical specimens (p < 0.001). To our knowledge, this represents the largest series of meningioma samples analyzed for EGFR expression reported in the literature. EGFR expression is greatest in benign meningiomas and may serve a potential target for therapeutic intervention with selective EGFR inhibitors.Radiation Oncology 01/2010; 5:46. · 2.32 Impact Factor