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J Clin Oncol. 2008 Feb 20;26(6):897-906. doi: 10.1200/JCO.2007.13.5939. Epub 2008 Jan 7.

Short preoperative treatment with erlotinib inhibits tumor cell proliferation in hormone receptor-positive breast cancers.

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1
Department of Medicine, Vanderbilt-Ingram Comprehensive Cancer Center, Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, Nashville, TN 37232-6307, USA.

Abstract

PURPOSE:

To administer the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase inhibitor erlotinib to patients with operable untreated breast cancer during the immediate preoperative period and to measure an antiproliferative and/or a proapoptotic effect in the post-therapy specimen and determine a biomarker profile associated with evidence of erlotinib-mediated cellular activity.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

Newly diagnosed patients with stages I to IIIA invasive breast cancer were treated with erlotinib 150 mg/d orally for 6 to 14 days until the day before surgery. Erlotinib plasma levels were measured by tandem mass spectrometry the day of surgery. Drug-induced changes in tumor cell proliferation and apoptosis were assessed by Ki67 immunohistochemistry and terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate-biotin nick-end labeling analysis, respectively, in biopsies from the pretherapy and surgical specimens. Biopsies were also evaluated for P-EGFR, P-HER-2, P-MAPK, P-Akt, P-S6, and S118 P-ER alpha.

RESULTS:

In drug-sensitive PC9 xenografts, 5 days of treatment with erlotinib were enough to induce a maximal inhibition of cell proliferation and induction of apoptosis. Forty-one patients completed preoperative treatment with erlotinib. Grade <or= 2 rash and diarrhea were the main toxicities. Erlotinib inhibited tumor cell proliferation (Ki67), P-EGFR, and P-HER-2. The inhibition of proliferation occurred in estrogen receptor (ER) -positive but not in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2) -positive or triple-negative cancers. Treatment was associated with a significant reduction of P-MAPK, P-Akt, P-S6, and S118 P-ER alpha in hormone receptor-positive cancers.

CONCLUSION:

A presurgical approach to evaluate cellular responses to new drugs is feasible in breast cancer. EGFR inhibitors are worthy of testing against ER-positive breast cancers but are unlikely to have clinical activity against HER-2-positive or triple-negative breast cancers.

PMID:
18180460
DOI:
10.1200/JCO.2007.13.5939
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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