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Cancer Lett. 2008 Feb 18;260(1-2):198-208. Epub 2007 Dec 21.

Trastuzumab decreases the number of circulating and disseminated tumor cells despite trastuzumab resistance of the primary tumor.

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  • 1Department of Biophysics and Cell Biology, University of Debrecen, 4012 Debrecen, Egyetem ter 1., Hungary.


We have recently shown that despite of the fact that the ErbB2-positive JIMT-1 human breast cancer cells intrinsically resistant to trastuzumab in vitro, trastuzumab inhibited the outgrowth of early phase JIMT-1 xenografts in SCID mice via antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC). Here we show that trastuzumab significantly reduces the number of circulating and disseminated tumor cells (CTCs and DTCs) in this xenograft model system at a time when the primary tumor is already unresponsive to trastuzumab. This observation suggests that ErbB2 positive CTCs and DTCs might be sensitive to trastuzumab-mediated ADCC even if when the primary tumor is already non-responsive. Thus, trastuzumab treatment might also be beneficial in the case of patients with breast cancer that is already trastuzumab resistant.

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