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Anticancer Drugs. 2006 Aug;17(7):783-95.

Novel targeted approaches to treating biliary tract cancer: the dual epidermal growth factor receptor and ErbB-2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor NVP-AEE788 is more efficient than the epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors gefitinib and erlotinib.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine II, University of Leipzig, Leipzig, Germany. wiedm@medizin.uni-leipzig.de

Abstract

Aberrant activation of the epidermal growth factor receptor is frequently observed in neoplasia, notably in tumors of epithelial origin. Attempts to treat such tumors with epidermal growth factor receptor antagonists resulted in remarkable success in recent studies. Little is known, however, about the efficacy of this therapy in biliary tract cancer. Protein expression of epidermal growth factor receptor, ErbB-2, and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 was assessed in seven human biliary tract cancer cell lines by immunoblotting. In addition, histological sections from 19 patients with extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma were analyzed for epidermal growth factor receptor, ErbB-2 and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 expression by immunohistochemistry. Moreover, we sequenced the cDNA products representing the entire epidermal growth factor receptor coding region of the seven cell lines, and searched for genomic epidermal growth factor receptor amplifications and polysomy by fluorescence in-situ hybridization. Cell growth inhibition by gefitinib erlotinib and NVP-AEE788 was studied in vitro by automated cell counting. In addition, the anti-tumoral effect of erlotinib and NVP-AEE788 was studied in a chimeric mouse model. The anti-tumoral drug mechanism in this model was assessed by MIB-1 antibody staining, terminal deoxynucleotidyl transfer-mediated dUTP nick end-labelling assay, von Willebrand factor staining, and immunoblotting for p-p42/44 (p-Erk1/2, p-MAPK) and p-AKT. Immunoblotting revealed expression of epidermal growth factor receptor, ErbB-2, and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 in all biliary tract cancer cell lines. EGFR was detectable in six of 19 (32%) extrahepatic human cholangiocarcinoma tissue samples, ErbB-2 in 16 of 19 (84%), and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 in nine of 19 (47%). Neither epidermal growth factor receptor mutations nor amplifications or polysomy were found in the seven biliary tract cancer cell lines. Gefitinib, erlotinib and NVP-AEE788 caused a significant growth inhibition in vitro; however, there was a significant difference in efficacy (NVP-AEE788>erlotinib>gefitinib). After 14 days of in-vivo treatment, using the chimeric mouse model, tumors had a significantly reduced volume and mass after NVP-AEE788, but not after erlotinib treatment, as compared with placebo. Reduction of proliferation (signalling via the mitogen-activated protein kinase pathway), induction of apoptosis and inhibition of angiogenesis were the main mechanisms of drug action. No significant reduction of anti-apoptotic AKT phosphorylation, however, occurred, which may be a possible counter mechanism of the tumor. Epidermal growth factor receptor, ErbB-2, and vascular endothelial growth factor receptor-2 expression was detectable in biliary tract cancer, and receptor inhibition exerts marked effects on tumor growth in vitro and in vivo, which was strongest for the dual EGFR/ErbB-2 inhibitor NVP-AEE788. Therefore, further clinical evaluation of this new drug for the treatment of biliary tract cancer is recommended.

PMID:
16926628
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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