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

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Results indicated that lapatinib only benefited a subgroup of patients who developed a rash, which is an effect attributable to EGFR/HER1 inhibition. These patients tended to have a more favorable outcome and longer survival compared to the overall study population. The most common side effects were diarrhea in 73 percent of participants, nausea in 45 percent and rash in 42 percent.

"Our findings suggest a potential benefit from EGFR inhibition," said Bekaii-Saab. "Overall though, we were certainly hopeful that lapatinib would be more active and were somewhat disappointed by the results."

Samuel B. Ho, M.D., an editorial board member for Clinical Cancer Research, believes this study provides important information about the relevance of these signaling pathways in advanced hepatocellular carcinoma.

"The results support the fact that hepatocellular carcinomas are clinically and biochemically heterogeneous, and that certain subsets of hepatocellular carcinoma may respond differently than others, suggesting that larger trials with patients more likely to respond may show a definite survival benefit," said Ho. "However, the study failed to find a marker that could differentiate between tumors that may or may not be expected to respond."

Ho is the chief of gastroenterology section at the VA San Diego Healthcare System, and professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego.

Furthermore, the results of this study represent an important step in the strategy for designing clinical studies for this form of cancer, according to Ho, and additional studies are needed. Specifically with lapatinib, it will be important to determine a way to identify those patients who are more likely to respond and include them in a larger trial.

"Given the complexity of the biology in hepatocellular carcinoma and essentially all other malignancies, we should not hope a single marker would be predicative; it
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Contact: Tara Yates
tara.yates@aacr.org
267-646-0558
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert  

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