Nav: Home

Breast cancer drugs could help treat resistant lung cancers

December 26, 2018

A class of drugs used to treat certain breast cancers could help to tackle lung cancers that have become resistant to targeted therapies, suggests a new study in mice from the Francis Crick Institute and the Institute of Cancer Research (ICR).

The research, published in Cell Reports, found that lung tumours in mice caused by mutations in a gene called EGFR shrunk significantly when a protein called p110α was blocked.

Drugs to block p110α are currently showing promise in clinical trials against certain breast cancers, so could be approved for clinical use in the near future. The new findings suggest that these drugs could potentially benefit patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancers whose tumours have become resistant to treatment.

"At the moment, patients with EGFR-mutant lung cancers are given targeted treatments that are very effective for the first few years," explains study leader Professor Julian Downward, who has labs at the Crick and the ICR. "These drugs are improving, but unfortunately after a couple of years the cancer usually becomes resistant and starts to grow and spread again. The second line of treatment is currently conventional chemotherapy, which is not targeted and has substantial side-effects.

"Our new study suggests that it would be worth investigating whether p110α inhibitors could be used as a second-line therapy. As our research is at such an early stage, more research in mice and patient cells would be needed before even considering clinical trials, but it opens up a promising avenue of investigation."

For this research, the team targeted a specific interaction between the RAS protein and p110α. The RAS gene is mutated in around one in five cancers, causing uncontrolled growth, and is a key focus of Julian's research. When they blocked this interaction in genetically modified mice with EGFR mutations, their tumours shrank significantly.

Before the intervention, the tumours filled around two thirds of the space inside the lung. When the interaction between RAS and p110α was genetically blocked, this shrank significantly to about a tenth of the space inside the lung. The intervention also had very few side-effects.

"As we wanted to pinpoint the specific interaction responsible, we used a genetic technique that would not be practical in a patient treatment," says Julian. "We're looking to develop ways to do this with drugs, as blocking this specific pathway would significantly reduce side-effects, but this work is many years from the clinic. In the medium-term, investigating existing drugs that inhibit p110α will be the next step. While these have side-effects, including temporary diabetes-like symptoms during treatment, they are still less toxic than chemotherapy."
-end-


The Francis Crick Institute

Related Cancer Articles:

Stress in cervical cancer patients associated with higher risk of cancer-specific mortality
Psychological stress was associated with a higher risk of cancer-specific mortality in women diagnosed with cervical cancer.
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.
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers identify one way T cell function may fail in cancer
Moffitt Cancer Center researchers have discovered a mechanism by which one type of immune cell, CD8+ T cells, can become dysfunctional, impeding its ability to seek and kill cancer cells.
More cancer survivors, fewer cancer specialists point to challenge in meeting care needs
An aging population, a growing number of cancer survivors, and a projected shortage of cancer care providers will result in a challenge in delivering the care for cancer survivors in the United States if systemic changes are not made.
New cancer vaccine platform a potential tool for efficacious targeted cancer therapy
Researchers at the University of Helsinki have discovered a solution in the form of a cancer vaccine platform for improving the efficacy of oncolytic viruses used in cancer treatment.
American Cancer Society outlines blueprint for cancer control in the 21st century
The American Cancer Society is outlining its vision for cancer control in the decades ahead in a series of articles that forms the basis of a national cancer control plan.
Oncotarget: Cancer pioneer employs physics to approach cancer in last research article
In the cover article of Tuesday's issue of Oncotarget, James Frost, MD, PhD, Kenneth Pienta, MD, and the late Donald Coffey, Ph.D., use a theory of physical and biophysical symmetry to derive a new conceptualization of cancer.
Health indicators for newborns of breast cancer survivors may vary by cancer type
In a study published in the International Journal of Cancer, researchers from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center analyzed health indicators for children born to young breast cancer survivors in North Carolina.
Few women with history of breast cancer and ovarian cancer take a recommended genetic test
More than 80 percent of women living with a history of breast or ovarian cancer at high-risk of having a gene mutation have never taken the test that can detect it.
Radiotherapy for invasive breast cancer increases the risk of second primary lung cancer
East Asian female breast cancer patients receiving radiotherapy have a higher risk of developing second primary lung cancer.
More Cancer News and Cancer Current Events

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2019.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

In & Out Of Love
We think of love as a mysterious, unknowable force. Something that happens to us. But what if we could control it? This hour, TED speakers on whether we can decide to fall in — and out of — love. Guests include writer Mandy Len Catron, biological anthropologist Helen Fisher, musician Dessa, One Love CEO Katie Hood, and psychologist Guy Winch.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#542 Climate Doomsday
Have you heard? Climate change. We did it. And it's bad. It's going to be worse. We are already suffering the effects of it in many ways. How should we TALK about the dangers we are facing, though? Should we get people good and scared? Or give them hope? Or both? Host Bethany Brookshire talks with David Wallace-Wells and Sheril Kirschenbaum to find out. This episode is hosted by Bethany Brookshire, science writer from Science News. Related links: Why Climate Disasters Might Not Boost Public Engagement on Climate Change on The New York Times by Andrew Revkin The other kind...
Now Playing: Radiolab

An Announcement from Radiolab