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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of the epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor OSI-774, Tarceva, on downstream signaling pathways and apoptosis in human pancreatic adenocarcinoma.

Pancreatic cancer is the fifth leading cause of cancer death in North America. Gemcitabine improves the quality of life of patients but fails to significantly reduce mortality. Our laboratory has demonstrated previously that the phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase inhibitor wortmannin promotes gemcitabine antitumor activity (S. S. W. Ng et al., Clin. Cancer Res., 7: 3269-3275, 2001). The present study examined the effects of the epidermal growth factor receptor ( EGFR) inhibitor OSI-774 ("Tarceva") alone and in combination with wortmannin and/or gemcitabine on downstream signaling molecules, as well as apoptosis in primary pancreatic cancer xenografts implanted orthotopically in severely combined immunodeficient mice. Tumors established from two pancreatic cancer patients [Ontario Cancer Institute Pancreas number (OCIP#) 2 and OCIP#7] were treated with various combinations of the above three drugs and harvested for analyses of the following: the levels of phosphorylated and nonphosphorylated forms of EGFR, protein kinase B ( PKB/Akt) and extracellular-regulated kinase ( ERK1/2), and the extent of apoptosis using immunofluorescence image analysis and TUNEL assay, respectively. OSI-774 alone significantly inhibited phosphorylation of EGFR in both of the primary xenografts. Phosphorylation of pERK decreased in OCIP#2, but not in OCIP#7. No significant effects on pPKB because of OSI-774 were observed in either tumor type. The extent of apoptosis was significantly increased by 2-fold in OCIP#2 tumors treated with gemcitabine and wortmannin in combination; an additional 2-fold increase in apoptosis was evident in the presence of OSI-774. Although wortmannin failed to enhance gemcitabine-induced apoptosis in OCIP#7 tumors, the extent of apoptosis was significantly increased with the inclusion of OSI-774 in the combination. Taken together, these findings support the use of OSI-774 plus a phosphatidylinositol 3'-kinase inhibitor in combination with gemcitabine in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.[1]


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