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Study: EGFR inhibtion may help treat triple negative breast cancer

August 16, 2015

"Triple negative breast cancers comprise 10-20% of all breast cancer cases. Women with TNBC tend to present with higher grade, larger tumours, are younger at diagnosis, have a higher incidence of metastases and have a shorter time to recurrence compared to other breast cancer types. One reason for the poor prognosis for this group is the lack of targeted therapies for these women. Having found that an ADAM inhibitor can reduce the proliferation of TNBC cell lines, we hope that ADAMs may be a useful therapeutic target."

The scientists hope that inhibiting ADAMs might also be a possible treatment for other cancers in which members of the EGFR 'family' are active. In addition to EGFR, the 'family' consists of HER2, HER3 and HER4, and these are implicated in a number of cancers such as lung, colorectal, head and neck, and pancreatic cancers.

"Theoretically, inhibiting ADAMs should block downstream signalling from all four EGFR family members and thus potentially reduce cancer progression. We are excited that we have seen an effect in this particularly aggressive subgroup of breast cancers but propose that we will see an effect in other cancer settings also," said Dr McGowan.

"We hope to expand our investigation of these compounds using a larger panel of cell lines, moving into animal models, and eventually into clinical trials."

Source: University College Dublin