MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Amyn Habib, M.D.
Associate Professor, Neurology & Neurotherapeutics
UT Southwestern Medical Center
MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?
Response: The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is expressed in most lung cancers and could play an important role in driving the growth of lung cancer. Drugs are available that can block the activity of the EGFR. However, EGFR inhibitors are successful in only a small subset of lung cancers that have a mutant form of the EGFR, and do not work in the majority of lung cancers that have the normal form of the EGFR.
MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings?
Response: The main findings of our study are that when the EGFR is inhibited in lung cancer, it triggers a survival pathway that protects cancer cells from a loss of EGFR signaling. This survival pathway is triggered by tumor necrosis factor (TNF). A combination of EGFR+TNF inhibition renders previously resistant cancer cells sensitive to EGFR inhibitors in a preclinical model. Thus this combination treatment could be effective in the majority of lung cancers. In addition, since both EGFR and TNF inhibitors are already in clinical use, they could be tested rapidly in a clinical trial.
MedicalResearch.com: What should readers take away from your report?
Response: We are hopeful that we will be able to test whether a combination of EGFR plus TNF inhibition is effective in a clinical trial in the near future.
MedicalResearch.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?
Response: An improved understanding of mechanisms underlying resistance to targeted treatment is critical for successful treatment since the cancer cell has a dynamic genome that adapts to changes (such as a new drug treatment) rapidly.
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