This research studied the action mechanisms of two drugs—lapatinib and trastuzumab—in combination for the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. Lapatinib is a molecule which, when combined with trastuzumab, neutralizes the activity of the HER2 receptor and improves the effect of the antibody. Although the results of preliminary studies have yet to be verified, we appear to have obtained the formulation of a new molecular therapy for the treatment of HER2-positive breast cancer. Another of the advantages of this combination is that it avoids the adverse effects of chemotherapy and it is therefore even more important to determine whether it may, indeed, replace conventional treatment in the future.
The new combination has been tested in mice, with highly positive and promising results: the interaction leads to the disappearance of the tumor with no recurrence in the short term.
The research is being carried out by the Experimental Therapies team at VHIO and the BCC research team, respectively. Both teams are currently conducting a phase III clinical trial in women with this primary HER2/ErbB2-positive breast cancer. The initial results may confirm the efficacy of the combination in curing HER2-positive breast cancer. The investigator Maurizio Scaltriti is cautiously optimistic as he believes we are dealing with “one of those cases where everything begins and ends well”.
Reference: Lapatinib, a HER2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor, induces stabilization and accumulation of HER2 and potentiates trastuzumab-dependent cell cytotoxicity. Scaltriti M, Verma C, Guzman M, Jimenez J, Parra JL, Pedersen K, Smith DJ, Landolfi S, Ramon Y Cajal S, Arribas J, Baselga J. Oncogene. 2008 Dec 8.