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Lung cancer: Molecular scissors determine therapy effectiveness
Date:3/17/2009

lung cancer is resistant to cetuximab treatment, in particular, when the cancer cells produce large amounts of u-PAR. When the researchers switched off u-PAR production using a genetic trick, the cells responded to cetuximab again.

"Our results show, for the first time, that u-PAR might be an indicator of the effectiveness of cetuximab treatment in non-small cell lung cancer," Heike Allgayer says. "The more u-PAR the cells produce, the less they are responsive to the drug." This conclusion is in line with first observations made in lung cancer patients. Tumor cells of patients who did not respond to cetuximab usually produced higher amounts of the molecular scissors u-PAR.

It came as a surprise for Allgayer that EGF-R itself, the target molecule of the drug cetuximab, did not correlate with responsiveness. Further investigations are needed to verify these results. "We want to find possibilities to prescribe the drug only for those patients who can actually benefit from it," says Allgayer, a doctor and scientist. "Finding suitable biomarkers is one of the most urgent tasks when introducing novel, target-specific therapeutics. "


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Contact: Dr. Sibylle Kohlstaedt
s.kohlstaedt@dkfz.de
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Source:Eurekalert

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