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Br J Cancer. 2004 Sep 13;91(6):1195-9.

Recombinant humanised anti-HER2/neu antibody (Herceptin) induces cellular death of glioblastomas.

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Department of Neurosurgery, University Medical School Hospital of Brest, BP 824, F29609 Brest Cedex, France.


Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM) remains the most devastating primary tumour in neuro-oncology. Targeting of the human epithelial receptor type 2 (HER2)-neu receptor by specific antibodies is a recent well-established therapy for breast tumours. Human epithelial receptor type 2/neu is a transmembrane tyrosine/kinase receptor that appears to be important for the regulation of cancer growth. Human epithelial receptor type 2/neu is not expressed in the adult central nervous system, but its expression increases with the degree of astrocytoma anaplasia. The specificity of HER2/neu for tumoral astrocytomas leads us to study in vitro treatment of GBM with anti-HER2/neu antibody. We used human GBM cell lines expressing HER2/neu (A172 express HER2/neu more than U251MG) or not (U87MG) and monoclonal humanised antibody against HER2/neu (Herceptin). Human epithelial receptor type 2/neu expression was measured by immunohistochemistry and flow cytometry. Direct antibody effect, complement-dependent cytotoxicity and antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity were evaluated by different cytometric assays. We have shown, for the first time, the ability of anti-HER2/neu antibodies to induce apoptosis and cellular-dependent cytotoxicity of HER2/neu-expressing GBM cell lines. The results decreased from A172 to U251 and were negative for U87MG, in accordance with the decreasing density of HER2/neu receptors.

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