Pairing targeted drugs for breast and lung cancer could overcome treatment resistance

ScienceDaily | 7/11/2019 | Staff
Kezzerxx (Posted by) Level 3
Scientists discovered that when the breast cancer drug palbociclib was combined with the lung cancer drug crizotinib, the two-drug combination was significantly more effective against cancer cells in the laboratory than either drug used on its own.

Palbociclib has been described as one of the biggest advances in women with advanced breast cancer for two decades -- so the prospect of being able to make the treatment even more effective is exciting.

Findings - Combination - Approach - Use - Palbociclib

The new findings also suggest that the combination approach could broaden the clinical use of palbociclib -- and other drugs that work in the same way -- beyond breast cancer to include many other tumour types as well.

Scientists at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, and UCL Cancer Institute discovered that resistance to palbociclib is often driven by a protein which is targeted by crizotinib -- providing the rationale for using these two drugs together.

Study - Today - Friday - Journal - Oncogene

Their new study is published today (Friday) in the journal Oncogene and was funded by Wellcome.

Palbociclib is one of a group of drugs which are currently used to treat patients with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer by blocking the function of two proteins -- CDK4 and CDK6 -- which promote tumour cell division and cancer progression.

Cancers - Molecule - CDK2 - Cell - Division

However, cancers can become resistant to palbociclib by activating a related molecule called CDK2, which is able to drive cell division in the absence of CDK4/6.

In the new study, the researchers found that CDK2 can compensate for inhibition of CDK4/6 in cancer cells by signalling via a cellular control pathway involving the key molecules MET and FAK.

Discovery - Researchers - CDK4/6 - Inhibitors - Palbociclib

Based on this discovery, the researchers found that pairing CDK4/6 inhibitors such as palbociclib together with crizotinib -- which blocks MET activity -- created a combination treatment that was much more effective than either drug on its own against cancer cells grown in the lab or...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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