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Lapatinib shows minimal effect against liver cancer
Date:9/8/2009

PHILADELPHIA Use of the molecularly targeted agent lapatinib to delay tumor growth and improve the survival of patients with inoperable hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer, only benefited certain subgroups of patients. While results of this study were largely negative, patients that exhibited toxicity from the drug in the form of a skin rash appeared to have a greater tumor response and longer survival.

Findings of this phase II, multi-institutional study are published in Clinical Cancer Research, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research.

"These results may not be practice changing, but they do emphasize the need to continue developing strategies targeting epidermal growth factor receptor [EGFR] in hepatocellular carcinoma," said lead researcher Tanios Bekaii-Saab, M.D., assistant professor of medicine and pharmacology and medical director of gastrointestinal oncology at the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The prevalence of hepatocellular carcinoma is increasing worldwide, and since this form of cancer typically responds poorly to chemotherapy, new treatments are necessary to help curb its rise. The current standard treatment for advanced hepatocellular carcinoma is sorafenib.

This study is one of the first trials to test the tolerability and efficacy of lapatinib in patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma. Lapatinib targets both EGFR and Human EGFR type 2 (HER2/neu) signaling pathways. The FDA approved this drug in March of 2007 for patients with breast cancer who were already using the chemotherapeutic agent capecitabine. Lapatinib works by inhibiting the tyrosine kinase activity associated with the two oncogenes EGFR and HER2/neu.

Twenty-six patients with advanced hepatocellular carcinoma received 1,500 mg/d of lapatinib by mouth for 28 days. Bekaii-Saab and colleagues evaluated tumor and blood specimens for expression of these signaling pathways. '/>"/>

Contact: Tara Yates
tara.yates@aacr.org
267-646-0558
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert  

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