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Scientists catch EGFR passing a crucial message to cancer-promoting protein
Date:6/18/2013

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Pathway shortens patient survival

"We established that this signaling pathway correlates with EGFR status and poor survival in breast cancer patients," said study senior author Mien-Chie Hung, Ph.D., chair and professor of the department and holder of the Ruth Legett Jones Distinguished Chair.

An analysis of Lyn status in tumors of 125 breast cancer patients and MCM7 status in 120 patients showed substantially higher survival rates for those with low expression of either protein. In both cases, about 60 percent of those with high expression of Lyn or MCM7 survived to 75 months, compared to about 80 percent of those with low levels of the proteins.

Drugs that target EGFR often become less effective over time, Hung noted, so Lyn provides a target downstream from EGFR that might be effective. And the signaling network might be a resistance pathway that overcomes EGFR-inhibiting drugs.

Lyn-inhibiting drugs are under development

Lyn inhibitors have been tested preclinically and in an early stage clinical trial, Huang said. They are not generally available as they're still under development. Combining Lyn and EGFR inhibitors could have a heightened effect on EGFR-driven cancers.

"Lyn overexpression might be indispensable for cancer cells that rely on EGFR signaling to proliferate," Hung noted. Other researchers have shown that knocking out Lyn has less effect on cancer cell lines that are less dependent on EGFR to survive and grow.


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Contact: Scott Merville
SMerville@mdanderson.org
713-792-0661
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

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