Activity of the dual kinase inhibitor lapatinib (GW572016) against HER-2-overexpressing and trastuzumab-treated breast cancer cells

  • Konecny G
  • Pegram M
  • Venkatesan N
 et al. 
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Abstract

Lapatinib (GW572016) is a selective inhibitor of both epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER-2 tyrosine kinases. Here, we explore the therapeutic potential of lapatinib by testing its effect on tumor cell growth in a panel of 31 characterized human breast cancer cell lines, including trastuzumab-conditioned HER-2-positive cell lines. We further characterize its activity in combination with trastuzumab and analyze whether EGFR and HER-2 expression or changes induced in the activation of EGFR, HER-2, Raf, AKT, or extracellular signal-regulated kinase (ERK) are markers of drug activity. We report that concentration-dependent antiproliferative effects of lapatinib were seen in all breast cancer cell lines tested but varied significantly between individual cell lines with up to 1,000-fold difference in the IC(50)s (range, 0.010-18.6 micromol/L). Response to lapatinib was significantly correlated with HER-2 expression and its ability to inhibit HER-2, Raf, AKT, and ERK phosphorylation. Long-term in vivo lapatinib studies were conducted with human breast cancer xenografts in athymic mice. Treatment over 77 days resulted in a sustained and significant reduction in xenograft volume compared with untreated controls. For the combination of lapatinib plus trastuzumab, synergistic drug interactions were observed in four different HER-2-overexpressing cell lines. Moreover, lapatinib retained significant in vitro activity against cell lines selected for long-term outgrowth (>9 months) in trastuzumab-containing (100 microg/mL) culture medium. These observations provide a clear biological rationale to test lapatinib as a single agent or in combination with trastuzumab in HER-2-overexpressing breast cancer and in patients with clinical resistance to trastuzumab.

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Authors

  • Gottfried E. Konecny

  • Mark D. Pegram

  • Natarajan Venkatesan

  • Richard Finn

  • Guorong Yang

  • Martina Rahmeh

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