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TGen and Washington University researchers discover new approach to treating endometrial cancer
Date:8/31/2008

, in cases where the tumors contained the altered FGFR2 gene. The altered gene causes the receptors to get stuck in the "on'' position and signal the endometrial cells to grow out of control.

"These findings could accelerate the development of new treatments for endometrial cancer because there are already drugs in clinical trials that inhibit FGFR2 function,'' Pollock said.

Current treatment of endometrial cancer can involve surgical removal of the uterus, radiation and chemotherapy. While many women are successfully treated with these approaches, about 15 percent of those with endometrioid endometrial cancer have persistent or recurring tumors that are resistant to current drug therapies. Mutations in several genes previously have been identified in endometrial tumors, but they have not been suitable drug targets until now.

"This targeted approach holds great promise for patients with uterine cancer (endometrioid endometrial) tumors that contain the FGFR2 mutation," said TGen physician-in-chief, Dr. Daniel Von Hoff, "and offers yet another powerful example of how genomic medicine is changing the way we look at and treat cancer."

Goodfellow agreed, "The discovery that endometrial cancer cells die when treated with an FGFR2 inhibitor - even when they carry other genetic abnormalities common in uterine cancers - suggests anti-FGFR2 therapies have great potential.''

The researchers' already established ties with the National Cancer Institute, which will assist with the clinical trials, should speed the development of new therapies, Goodfellow said. "Our collaborative group's strong ties with the NCI's Gynecologic Oncology Group will allow us to rapidly take our findings from the lab to patients.''

Endometrial cancer, which invades the inner wall of the uterus, is the most common gynecological cancer in the United States. This year more than 40,000 women will be diagnosed and nearly 7,500 women will die of the dis
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Contact: Galen Perry
gperry@tgen.org
602-343-8423
The Translational Genomics Research Institute
Source:Eurekalert

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