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New Target Eyed for Colorectal Cancer Treatment

-- Eric Metcalf

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 26 (HealthDay News) -- Drugs targeting the pseudo-kinase ERBB3 -- which is closely related to the epidermal growth factor receptor that has been investigated as a target for treatment of colorectal cancer -- might be more effective in treating colorectal cancer, according to research published online Aug. 17 in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Daekee Lee, of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, and colleagues analyzed data from mice with intestine-specific genetic ablation of Erbb3.

The researchers found that when these mice were crossed with the ApcMin mouse model of colon cancer, they had an almost complete lack of intestinal tumors. Their results indicate that ERBB3 signaling plays a role in tumor growth due to activation of the PI3K/AKT/FRAP1/RPS6 pathway, leading to prevention of apoptosis. In addition, the authors note that siRNA knockdown of ERBB3 or ERBB4 in a KRAS mutant human colon cancer cell line leads to an increased level of apoptosis.

"Targeting heterodimeric complexes formed with ERBB3 is predicted to be more efficacious than targeting other ERBB receptors. Our findings also suggest that inhibition of the PI3K/AKT pathway, the major downstream effector of ERBB3-dependent signaling, may be effective in treating intestinal cancers when used in combination with epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitors," the authors conclude.

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Specialties Cardiology
Diabetes & Endocrinology
Internal Medicine
Family Practice

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