Indexed on: 02 Sep '08Published on: 02 Sep '08Published in: Cancer research
The ErbB family of receptors is overexpressed in numerous human tumors. Overexpression correlates with poor prognosis and resistance to therapy. Use of ErbB-specific antibodies to the receptors (Herceptin or Erbitux) or ErbB-specific small-molecule inhibitors of the receptor tyrosine kinase activity (Iressa or Tarceva) has shown clinical efficacy in several solid tumors. An alternative method of affecting ErbB-initiated tumor growth and survival is to block sheddase activity. Sheddase activity is responsible for cleavage of multiple ErbB ligands and receptors, a necessary step in availability of the soluble, active form of the ligand and a constitutively activated ligand-independent receptor. This sheddase activity is attributed to the ADAM (a disintegrin and metalloprotease) family of proteins. ADAM 10 is the main sheddase of epidermal growth factor (EGF) and HER-2/neu cleavage, whereas ADAM17 is required for cleavage of additional EGF receptor (EGFR) ligands (transforming growth factor-alpha, amphiregulin, heregulin, heparin binding EGF-like ligand). This study has shown that addition of INCB3619, a potent inhibitor of ADAM10 and ADAM17, reduces in vitro HER-2/neu and amphiregulin shedding, confirming that it interferes with both HER-2/neu and EGFR ligand cleavage. Combining INCB3619 with a lapatinib-like dual inhibitor of EGFR and HER-2/neu kinases resulted in synergistic growth inhibition in MCF-7 and HER-2/neu-transfected MCF-7 human breast cancer cells. Combining the INCB7839 second-generation sheddase inhibitor with lapatinib prevented the growth of HER-2/neu-positive BT474-SC1 human breast cancer xenografts in vivo. These results suggest that there may be an additional clinical benefit of combining agents that target the ErbB pathways at multiple points.