Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Secrets of lung cancer drug resistance revealed

Date:
July 1, 2012
Source:
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF)
Summary:
People with lung cancer who are treated with the drug Tarceva face a daunting uncertainty: although their tumors may initially shrink, it's not a question of whether their cancer will return -— it's a question of when. And for far too many, it happens far too soon.

Lung cancer infographic.
Credit: Kevin Eisenmann/UCSF

People with lung cancer who are treated with the drug Tarceva face a daunting uncertainty: although their tumors may initially shrink, it's not a question of whether their cancer will return -- it's a question of when. And for far too many, it happens far too soon.

Related Articles


Now, a team of researchers at the University of California, San Francisco's Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center has discovered that a human protein called AXL drives resistance to Tarceva, which suggests that blocking the protein may prevent resistance to the cancer drug.

The discovery, described this week in Nature Genetics, may lead to better treatments involving precision medicines that would combine Tarceva with new drugs designed to block AXL.

"If we block AXL activation in the laboratory, we can overcome resistance to Tarceva," said Trever Bivona, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of hematology and oncology. "This paves the way for novel and more effective therapies."

In the experiments, Bivona and his colleagues used an inhibitor of AXL that is not an ideal clinical drug. But now Bivona and his team are working together with Kevan Shokat, PhD, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator and chair of the UCSF Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology, to develop more potent AXL inhibitors for clinical testing.

Lung Cancer is Number One Cancer Killer Lung cancer is the most common cause of cancer death worldwide. More people die from the disease each year than from breast, colon and prostate cancers combined. It claims more than 150,000 American lives annually and accounts for some 1.4 million deaths around the world. About 85 percent of Americans with all types of lung cancer die within five years of diagnosis.

Most cases result from exposure to cigarette smoke, but other causes include exposure to asbestos, chemicals, environmental factors and genetic susceptibility.

One thing that makes lung cancer so difficult is that it often goes undetected in its early stages because it usually does not cause symptoms. Only about 30 percent of patients in the United States are detected in the earliest stage of the disease, contributing to its low overall survival rate.

Even people who have their cancer detected at the earliest stages, however, face serious odds. Unlike other types of cancer, where early diagnosis has significant survival advantages, some 35 to 45 percent of people with stage I lung cancer die within five years of recurrent disease.

Though treatment varies depending on the type of lung cancer, its stage, and whether it not it has metastasized to regional lymph nodes, standard treatments usually involve surgery or some combination of surgery, radiation therapy and chemotherapy.

Tarceva is one such chemotherapy drug. Also known as erlotinib, the drug is a targeted therapy that works by blocking an enzyme known as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). Bivona and his colleagues discovered that AXL drives resistance to Tarceva by "rescuing" lung cancers from EGFR inhibitor treatment.

AXL, said Bivona, is the sort of molecule known as a kinase, which makes it a valuable target for drug design. Many of the existing targeted cancer drugs on the market, including Tarceva, work by blocking kinases in one form or another.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Zhenfeng Zhang, Jae Cheol Lee, Luping Lin, Victor Olivas, Valerie Au, Thomas LaFramboise, Mohamed Abdel-Rahman, Xiaoqi Wang, Alan D Levine, Jin Kyung Rho, Yun Jung Choi, Chang-Min Choi, Sang-We Kim, Se Jin Jang, Young Soo Park, Woo Sung Kim, Dae Ho Lee, Jung-Shin Lee, Vincent A Miller, Maria Arcila, Marc Ladanyi, Philicia Moonsamy, Charles Sawyers, Titus J Boggon, Patrick C Ma, Carlota Costa, Miquel Taron, Rafael Rosell, Balazs Halmos, Trever G Bivona. Activation of the AXL kinase causes resistance to EGFR-targeted therapy in lung cancer. Nature Genetics, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/ng.2330

Cite This Page:

University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). "Secrets of lung cancer drug resistance revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 July 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120701202153.htm>.
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). (2012, July 1). Secrets of lung cancer drug resistance revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120701202153.htm
University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). "Secrets of lung cancer drug resistance revealed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/07/120701202153.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins