HER2 receptor may be important target for bronchioalveolar carcinoma therapy

June 06, 2003

(CHICAGO) -- A new study suggests the combination of two new "smart drugs" may be effective in treating bronchioalveolar carcinoma (BAC), a type of non-small cell lung cancer generally considered resistant to chemotherapy. Researchers from UC Davis Cancer Center reported the finding Monday at the American Society for Clinical Oncology annual meeting.

"This is an important breakthrough," said Paul Gumerlock, associate professor of hematology & oncology at UC Davis Cancer Center and an author of the study. "It suggests a combination of drugs that block EGFR expression with drugs that block HER2 expression may have potent activity against a previously untreatable form of lung cancer."

Iressa and Tarceva are examples of EGFR blockers; Herceptin was the first HER2 blocker to reach the market. All three drugs are examples of a new generation of so-called "smart" chemotherapy agents that specifically target cancer cells.

About 3 percent of all lung cancer patients have pure BAC tumors, and about 20 percent of all non-small cell lung cancers possess some BAC features. Unlike most lung cancers, BAC occurs more frequently in women than in men, and more frequently in non smokers than in smokers. It appears to be increasing in incidence. Patients with BAC generally live longer than those with more common non-small cell lung cancers, but BAC tumors are usually too diffuse for surgery and unresponsive to existing chemotherapeutic agents.

Preliminary research from other centers and anecdotal reports from around the country have suggested a role for the EGFR blockers Iressa and Tarceva in BAC. The UC Davis study provides new evidence that combining an EGFR blocker with an HER2 blocker may be more effective than an EGFR blocker alone.

In the study, UC Davis investigators examined tissue specimens collected from BAC patients enrolled in a previous clinical trial of the drug paclitaxel. The specimen bank represents one of the largest collections of BAC tissue in the country. Wilbur Franklin, professor of pathology at the University of Colorado in Denver, participated in the study. The investigators found that although EGFR and HER2 expression varied among the tumors, BAC proliferation correlated with HER2 but not EGFR expression.

"This suggests that perhaps it's the combination of EGFR and HER2 that may explain the unusual biology of BAC," Gumerlock said. Scientists at UC Davis Cancer Center, who participated in the design of the first clinical trial of Iressa in BAC patients, now hope to launch a clinical trial of HER2- and EGFR-blocker combination therapy in the treatment of BAC.

University of California - Davis Health System

Related Lung Cancer Articles from Brightsurf:

State-level lung cancer screening rates not aligned with lung cancer burden in the US
A new study reports that state-level lung cancer screening rates were not aligned with lung cancer burden.

The lung microbiome may affect lung cancer pathogenesis and prognosis
Enrichment of the lungs with oral commensal microbes was associated with advanced stage disease, worse prognosis, and tumor progression in patients with lung cancer, according to results from a study published in Cancer Discovery, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

New analysis finds lung cancer screening reduces rates of lung cancer-specific death
Low-dose CT screening methods may prevent one death per 250 at-risk adults screened, according to a meta-analysis of eight randomized controlled clinical trials of lung cancer screening.

'Social smokers' face disproportionate risk of death from lung disease and lung cancer
'Social smokers' are more than twice as likely to die of lung disease and more than eight times as likely to die of lung cancer than non-smokers, according to research presented at the European Respiratory Society International Congress.

Lung cancer therapy may improve outcomes of metastatic brain cancer
A medication commonly used to treat non-small cell lung cancer that has spread, or metastasized, may have benefits for patients with metastatic brain cancers, suggests a new review and analysis led by researchers at St.

Cancer mortality continues steady decline, driven by progress against lung cancer
The cancer death rate declined by 29% from 1991 to 2017, including a 2.2% drop from 2016 to 2017, the largest single-year drop in cancer mortality ever reported.

Cancer-sniffing dogs 97% accurate in identifying lung cancer, according to study in JAOA
The next step will be to further fractionate the samples based on chemical and physical properties, presenting them back to the dogs until the specific biomarkers for each cancer are identified.

Lung transplant patients face elevated lung cancer risk
In an American Journal of Transplantation study, lung cancer risk was increased after lung transplantation, especially in the native (non-transplanted) lung of single lung transplant recipients.

Proposed cancer treatment may boost lung cancer stem cells, study warns
Epigenetic therapies -- targeting enzymes that alter what genes are turned on or off in a cell -- are of growing interest in the cancer field as a way of making a cancer less aggressive or less malignant.

Are you at risk for lung cancer?
This question isn't only for people who've smoked a lot.

Read More: Lung Cancer News and Lung Cancer Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.