To test this, the researchers evaluated the effects of a drug that inhibits ALK using tumor cells isolated from patients with metastatic inflammatory breast cancer and in two animal models that recapitulate the disease. Results indicated that the use of this drug resulted in tumor cell death.
"Patients with inflammatory breast cancer are now being evaluated for ALK genetic abnormalities, and if found and eligible, may be enrolled in a phase 1, dose-escalation clinical trial of a small-molecule ALK/cMet inhibitor," Robertson said. She added that Massimo Cristofanilli, M.D., chair of medical oncology at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia has implemented this trial at the center's Inflammatory Breast Cancer Clinic.
Moving forward, Robertson emphasized the importance of collaborating with a research team with expertise in using both proteomic and genomic approaches to define molecular biology of tumors, to identify therapeutic targets and, once validated, to rapidly translate these findings to the clinic.
"Our results demonstrate that, had we only been using genomic platforms, the likelihood of identifying ALK as a therapeutic target would have been significantly diminished," she said.
|Contact: Jeremy Moore|
American Association for Cancer Research