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1.  Phase II Trial of Erlotinib and Docetaxel in Advanced and Refractory Hepatocellular and Biliary Cancers: Hoosier Oncology Group GI06-101 
The Oncologist  2012;17(1):13.
Patients with advanced hepatocellular (HCC) and biliary tract carcinomas (BTC) have poor prognosis. While the EGFR pathway is overactive in HCC and BTC, single agent anti-EGFR therapies confer modest activity. Preclinical data showed synergistic antiproliferative and proapoptotic effects between anti-EGFR therapies and taxanes. We conducted a phase I study of erlotinib and docetaxel in solid tumors, and noted good tolerability and sustained complete (5 years +) and partial responses in patients with HCC and BTC. This trial evaluated the efficacy of erlotinib with docetaxel in refractory hepatobiliary cancers.
Eligible patients were allowed to have two prior systemic therapies. Docetaxel 30 mg/m2 i.v. was administered on days 1, 8, 15, and erlotinib 150 mg was dosed orally on days 2–7, 9–14, 16–28 of each 28-day cycle. The primary endpoint was 16 weeks progression-free survival (PFS), and secondary endpoints included response, stable disease, and overall survival. Tumor samples were analyzed for KRAS gene mutations and E-cadherin expression by immunohistochemistry (IHC). Patients with BTC and HCC were accrued and assessed in separate strata for the efficacy endpoints, but for the two-stage initial design of the study, combined PFS was considered. A Simon optimal two-stage design tested the hypothesis that the 16-week PFS is ≤ 15% (clinically inactive) versus the alternative of ≥ 30% (warranting further study).
Twenty-five patients, 14 with HCC and 11 with BTC, were enrolled. Common toxicities were rash (76%), diarrhea (56%), and fatigue (52%), mostly grade 1 or 2. No objective responses were seen. Seven BTC (64%) and 6 HCC patients (46%) had stable disease as best response, with a median duration of 16.1 weeks (95% CI 3.7–56.3) for BTC, and 17.6 weeks (95% CI 8.1–49.8) for HCC. The 16-week PFS was 64% for BTC (95% CI 29.7–84.5), and 38% for HCC (95% CI 14.1–62.8). Median overall survival was 5.7 and 6.7 months for BTC and HCC patients, respectively. BTC patients with grade ≥ 2 rash had higher median PFS (6.2 vs 2.2 months) and OS (14.2 vs 4.2 months). HCC patients with negative/low E-cadherin expression had higher median PFS (6.7 vs 2.1 months) and OS (14.5 vs 4 months).
Erlotinib with docetaxel met the 16-week PFS ≥ 30% endpoint, but overall survival was comparable to that seen with single-agent erlotinib. With the limitation of small numbers of patients, grade ≥ 2 rash (in BTC), and negative/low E-cadherin expression (HCC) were associated with higher PFS and OS.
Refractory biliary tract and hepatocellular cancers are difficult to treat, and no chemotherapy or biologically targeted therapies have impacted survival. Based on preclinical synergism and prior phase I data, we conducted a multi-institutional study sequentially combining the EGFR-targeted agent erlotinib with docetaxel.
Results from this study show that the primary endpoint, 16-week PFS of ≥ 30%, was met for the combined group of BTC and HCC patients (as originally planned in the study design), as well as in each disease category: 63.6% for BTC and 38.5% for HCC patients. Nevertheless, no patients attained an objective response and the median survival of 5.7 months for BTC, and 6.7 months for HCC patients (while heavily pretreated), is comparable to that seen with single-agent EGFR-targeted therapies. Safety analysis shows that this regimen was generally well tolerated, and most adverse events were grade 1 or 2. Few patients had reversible grade 3 transaminase elevation (8%), and severe anorexia, fatigue, and rash were uncommon. As expected, patients with grade ≥ 2 rash experienced higher PFS and OS, but this was noted only among the BTC group, likely because too few HCC patients had grade ≥ 2 rash.
KRAS is an important predictive marker for anti-EGFR therapies for lung and colorectal cancers, but for HCC or the heterogeneous group of BTC (with 10–50% KRAS mutations) no significant correlations have been established. We were not able to identify a correlation between KRAS and benefit from erlotinib-based therapy, as all but one HCC patient had KRAS wild type gene status. Preclinical data in multiple tumor types showed that E-cadherin, a signature marker for an “epithelial” tumor phenotype when overexpressed, predicts EGFR pathway activation and determines sensitivity to EGFR-targeted agents. E-cadherin is often seen as a poor prognostic marker when downregulated, as noted during cancer progression. Not all studies demonstrate beneficial effects from E-cadherin overexpression, possibly due to histological expression variability or tumor type specificity for this biomarker. Six BTC and 8 HCC patients had evaluable tumor samples for E-cadherin analysis. While the numbers were small and conclusions should be viewed with caution, negative/low E-cadherin expression was associated with improved PFS and OS for hepatobiliary cancers (most significant in HCC) in this refractory patient population where we expected lower expression levels.
In conclusion, the combination of erlotinib with docetaxel provided a 16-week PFS of ≥ 30% but showed no appreciable differences in overall survival from historical data with single-agent erlotinib. While EGFR represents an important target in this group of malignancies, it is clear that hepatobiliary cancers are heterogeneous, thus a meaningful improvement in survival most likely will require careful treatment selection based on patient tumor's molecular and genetic profiling.
PMCID: PMC3267812  PMID: 22210086
2.  A phase II evaluation of lapatinib in the treatment of persistent or recurrent epithelial ovarian or primary peritoneal carcinoma: A gynecologic oncology group study☆ 
Gynecologic oncology  2011;124(3):569-574.
Activation and dimerization of the ERBB family play a role in the pathogenesis and progression of ovarian cancer. We conducted a phase II trial to evaluate the activity and tolerability of lapatinib in patients with recurrent or persistent epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC) and to explore the clinical value of expression levels of epidermal growth factor receptors (EGFR), phosphorylated EGFR, HER-2/neu, and Ki-67, and the presence of EGFR mutations.
Eligible patients had recurrent or persistent EOC or primary peritoneal carcinoma, measurable disease, and up to 2 prior chemotherapy regimens for recurrent disease. Patients were treated with lapatinib 1500 mg/day. The primary endpoint of efficacy was 6-month progression free survival (PFS).
Twenty-five of 28 patients were eligible and evaluable for analysis of efficacy and toxicity. Two (8.0%) were alive and progression-free at 6 months. No objective responses were observed. There were 1 grade 4 toxicity (fatigue) and few grade 3 toxicities. Associations between Ki-67 with prior platinum-free interval, PFS, and a polymorphism in EGFR were suggested.
Lapatinib has minimal activity in recurrent ovarian cancer. Ki-67 expression may be associated with prior PFS and a polymorphism in EGFR exon 20 (2361G>A, Q787Q).
PMCID: PMC3971755  PMID: 22037316
Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR); Ki-67; Lapatinib; Ovarian cancer
3.  Lapatinib plus Letrozole as First-Line Therapy for HER-2+ Hormone Receptor–Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer 
The Oncologist  2010;15(2):122-129.
Reported are results from a subgroup analysis of postmenopausal women with hormone receptor–positive human epidermal growth factor receptor 2–positive metastatic breast cancer from a phase III trial of letrozole plus placebo versus letrozole plus lapatinib. The combination was well tolerated and more efficacious than letrozole alone.
To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of letrozole plus lapatinib versus letrozole plus placebo in women with hormone receptor (HR)+ human epidermal growth factor receptor (HER)-2+ tumors receiving first-line therapy for metastatic breast cancer (MBC).
Patients and Methods.
Postmenopausal women (n = 1,286) with HR+ MBC were randomized to daily oral treatment with letrozole (2.5 mg) plus lapatinib (1,500 mg) versus letrozole (2.5 mg) plus placebo. Of the 1,286 patients enrolled in the phase III study, 219 had HER-2+ tumors. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS) in HER-2+ patients.
Results in the HR+ HER-2+ population (n = 219) are presented. The addition of lapatinib to letrozole resulted in a significantly lower risk for disease progression than with letrozole alone (hazard ratio, 0.71; 95% confidence interval, 0.53–0.96). The PFS time was 8.2 months, versus 3.0 months. The objective response rate (ORR) (28% versus 15%) and clinical benefit rate (CBR) (48% versus 29%) were also significantly greater in lapatinib-treated women. The most common adverse events in the lapatinib group were diarrhea (68%) and rash (46%), primarily grade 1 and 2.
The addition of lapatinib to letrozole is well tolerated and leads to a significantly greater PFS time, ORR, and CBR than with letrozole alone in women with MBC who coexpress HR and HER-2.
PMCID: PMC3227947  PMID: 20156908
Breast neoplasms; Lapatinib; Letrozole; Aromatase inhibitors; Targeted therapy; erbB-2; HER-2
4.  A phase II, randomized, multicenter study evaluating the combination of lapatinib and vinorelbine in women with ErbB2 overexpressing metastatic breast cancer 
Lapatinib is approved in combination with capecitabine for treatment of patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC) who have progressed on prior trastuzumab in the metastatic setting. Vinorelbine is an important chemotherapy option for MBC. We evaluated efficacy and safety of lapatinib plus vinorelbine, compared with lapatinib plus capecitabine, in women with HER2-positive MBC. In this open-label, multicenter, phase II study, eligible patients (N = 112) were randomized 2:1 to lapatinib plus vinorelbine [(N = 75) 1,250 mg orally once daily (QD) continuously plus 20 mg/m2/day intravenously] or lapatinib plus capecitabine [(N = 37) 1,250 mg orally QD continuously plus 2,000 mg/m2/day orally, 2 doses]. The primary endpoint was progression-free survival (PFS). Other endpoints included overall survival (OS) and safety. Patients progressing within the study were given the option of crossover to the other treatment arm; time to second progression was an exploratory endpoint. Patient demographics, stratification, and prognostic factors were well balanced between treatments. Median PFS in both arms was 6.2 months [95 % confidence interval (CI) 4.2, 8.8 (lapatinib plus vinorelbine); 4.4, 8.3 (lapatinib plus capecitabine)]. Median OS on lapatinib plus vinorelbine was 24.3 months (95 % CI 16.4, NE) and 19.4 months (95 % CI 16.4, 27.2) on lapatinib plus capecitabine. In total, 42 patients opted to cross over; median PFS was 3.2 months (95 % CI 1.7, 5.1) on lapatinib plus vinorelbine and 4.0 months (95 % CI 2.1, 5.8) on lapatinib plus capecitabine. Lapatinib plus vinorelbine offers an effective treatment option for patients with HER2-overexpressing MBC, having displayed comparable efficacy and tolerability rates to lapatinib plus capecitabine.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10549-013-2828-z) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3907671  PMID: 24402830
Breast cancer; HER2; Lapatinib; Vinorelbine; Capecitabine
5.  Phase III, Double-Blind, Randomized Study Comparing Lapatinib Plus Paclitaxel With Placebo Plus Paclitaxel As First-Line Treatment for Metastatic Breast Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2008;26(34):5544-5552.
Lapatinib, a dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR/ErbB1) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2/ErbB2), is effective against HER-2–positive locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer (MBC). This phase III trial evaluated the efficacy of lapatinib in HER-2–negative and HER-2–uncharacterized MBC.
Patients and Methods
Women with MBC were randomly assigned to first-line therapy with paclitaxel 175 mg/m2 every 3 weeks plus lapatinib 1,500 mg/d or placebo. A preplanned retrospective evaluation of HER-2 status was performed using fluorescence in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. The primary end point was time to progression (TTP); secondary end points were objective response rate (ORR), clinical benefit rate (CBR), event-free survival (EFS), and overall survival (OS).
In the intent-to-treat population (n = 579), there were no significant differences in TTP, EFS, or OS between treatment arms, although differences in ORR and CBR were noted. In 86 HER-2–positive patients (15%), treatment with paclitaxel-lapatinib resulted in statistically significant improvements in TTP, EFS, ORR, and CBR compared with paclitaxel-placebo. No differences between treatment groups were observed for any end point in HER-2–negative patients. The most common adverse events were alopecia, rash, and diarrhea. The incidence of diarrhea and rash was significantly higher in the paclitaxel-lapatinib arm. The rate of cardiac events was low, and no difference was observed between treatment arms.
Patients with HER-2–negative or HER-2–untested MBC did not benefit from the addition of lapatinib to paclitaxel. However, first-line therapy with paclitaxel-lapatinib significantly improved clinical outcomes in HER-2–positive patients. Prospective evaluation of the efficacy and safety of this combination is ongoing in early and metastatic HER-2–positive breast cancer patients.
PMCID: PMC2651098  PMID: 18955454
6.  A randomized phase II study of lapatinib + pazopanib versus lapatinib in patients with HER2+ inflammatory breast cancer 
This multi-center Phase II study evaluated lapatinib, pazopanib, and the combination in patients with relapsed HER2+ inflammatory breast cancer. In Cohort 1, 76 patients were randomized 1:1 to receive lapatinib 1,500 mg + placebo or lapatinib 1,500 mg + pazopanib 800 mg (double-blind) once daily until disease progression, unacceptable toxicity, or death. Due to high-grade diarrhea observed with this dose combination in another study (VEG20007), Cohort 1 was closed. The protocol was amended such that an additional 88 patients (Cohort 2) were randomized in a 5:5:2 ratio to receive daily monotherapy lapatinib 1,500 mg, lapatinib 1,000 mg + pazopanib 400 mg, or monotherapy pazopanib 800 mg, respectively. The primary endpoint was overall response rate (ORR). Secondary endpoints included duration of response, progression-free survival (PFS), overall survival, and safety. In Cohort 1, ORR for the lapatinib (n = 38) and combination (n = 38) arms was 29 and 45 %, respectively; median PFS was 16.1 and 14.3 weeks, respectively. Grade ≥3 adverse events (AEs) were more frequent in the combination arm (71 %) than in the lapatinib arm (24 %). Dose reductions and interruptions due to AEs were also more frequent in the combination arm (45 and 53 %, respectively) than in the lapatinib monotherapy arm (0 and 11 %, respectively). In Cohort 2, ORR for patients treated with lapatinib (n = 36), lapatinib + pazopanib (n = 38), and pazopanib (n = 13) was 47, 58, and 31 %, respectively; median PFS was 16.0, 16.0, and 11.4 weeks, respectively. In the lapatinib, combination, and pazopanib therapy arms, grade ≥3 AEs were reported for 17, 50, and 46 % of patients, respectively, and the incidence of discontinuations due to AEs was 0, 24, and 23 %, respectively. The lapatinib–pazopanib combination was associated with a numerically higher ORR but no increase in PFS compared to lapatinib alone. The combination also had increased toxicity resulting in more dose reductions, modifications, and treatment delays. Activity with single-agent lapatinib was confirmed in this population.
PMCID: PMC3539065  PMID: 23239151
Lapatinib; Pazopanib; Inflammatory breast cancer; HER2-positive breast cancer
7.  Lapatinib and Potential Prognostic Value of EGFR Mutations in a Gynecologic Oncology Group Phase II Trial of Persistent or Recurrent Endometrial Cancer 
Gynecologic oncology  2012;127(2):345-350.
A phase II trial was performed to evaluate the efficacy and safety of the tyrosine kinase inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER2, lapatinib, and to explore EGFR, HER2 (EGFR2), phosphorylated ERK MAP Kinase (pERK), and Ki67 expression, as well as EGFR mutations in persistent/recurrent endometrial cancer (EC).
Women with histologically-confirmed, measurable, persistent/recurrent EC following one or two prior regimens were eligible and treated with 1500 mg oral lapatinib daily until progression or severe toxicity. A 2-stage group sequential design was used to evaluate the regimen with 6 month PFS as the primary endpoint. The trial had a 10% type I error rate with 90% power. EGFR, HER2, pERK, and Ki67 were evaluated by immunohistochemistry (IHC) from hysterectomy specimens, pre-treatment biopsies, and post-treatment biopsies (when available). Exons 18-21 of EGFR were sequenced.
Three patients of 30 evaluable had PFS ≥6 months, one had a partial response, seven had stable disease, 21 had progressive disease and one was indeterminate. Three mutations in EGFR were identified. Two of these, L688F and K754E, were not associated with response or PFS. However, a newly identified mutation in exon 18, E690K, occurred in the patient with a partial response and progression-free survival extending past six months.
While lapatinib has limited activity in unselected cases, the identification of a previously unreported mutation in EGFR (E690K) with a response, suggests that lapatinib may be beneficial in some cases of EC.
PMCID: PMC3518448  PMID: 22885469
endometrial cancer; epidermal growth factor receptor; mutation; lapatinib; tyrosine kinase inhibitor
8.  PI3K pathway activation results in low efficacy of both trastuzumab and lapatinib 
BMC Cancer  2011;11:248.
Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) is the most crucial ErbB receptor tyrosine kinase (RTK) family member in HER2-positive (refered to HER2-overexpressing) breast cancer which are dependent on or "addictive" to the Phosphatidylinositol-3-kinase (PI3K) pathway. HER2-related target drugs trastuzumab and lapatinib have been the foundation of treatment of HER2--positive breast cancer. This study was designed to explore the relationship between PI3K pathway activation and the sensitivity to lapatinib in HER2--positive metastatic breast cancer patients pretreated with anthracyclins, taxanes and trastuzumab.
Sixty-seven HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer patients were recruited into a global lapatinib Expanded Access Program and 57 patients have primary tumor specimens available for determination of PI3K pathway status. PTEN status was determined by immunohistochemical staining and PIK3CA mutations were detected via PCR sequencing. All patients were treated with lapatinib 1250 mg/day continuously and capecitabine 1000 mg/m2 twice daily on a 2-week-on and 1-week-off schedule until disease progression, death, withdrawal of informed consent, or intolerable toxicity.
PIK3CA mutations and PTEN loss were detected in 12.3% (7/57) and 31.6% (18/57) of the patients, respectively. Twenty-two patients with PI3K pathway activation (defined as PIK3CA mutation and/or PTEN expression loss) had a lower clinical benefit rate (36.4% versus 68.6%, P = 0.017) and a lower overall response rate (9.1% versus 31.4%, P = 0.05), when compared with the 35 patients with no activation. A retrospective analysis of first trastuzumab-containing regimen treatment data showed that PI3K pathway activation correlated with a shorter median progression-free survival (4.5 versus 9.0 months, P = 0.013).
PIK3CA mutations occur more frequently in elder patients for HER2-positive breast cancer. PIK3CA mutations and PTEN loss are not mutually exclusive. PI3K pathway activation resulting from PTEN loss or PIK3CA mutations may lead to drug resistance to lapatinib and trastuzumab ( number, NCT00338247).
PMCID: PMC3141770  PMID: 21676217
9.  Lapatinib monotherapy in patients with relapsed, advanced, or metastatic breast cancer: efficacy, safety, and biomarker results from Japanese patients phase II studies 
British Journal of Cancer  2009;101(10):1676-1682.
HER2-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC) relapsing after trastuzumab-based therapy may require continued HER2 receptor inhibition to control the disease and preserve the patients' quality-of-life. Efficacy and safety of lapatinib monotherapy was evaluated in Japanese breast cancer patients after trastuzumab-based therapies.
In studies, EGF100642 and EGF104911 evaluated the efficacy and safety of oral lapatinib given 1500 mg once daily in patients with advanced or MBC. All patients progressed on anthracyclines and taxanes; HER2-positive patients had also progressed on trastuzumab.
For HER2-positive tumours (n=100), objective response rate was 19.0% (95% confidence interval (CI): 11.8–28.1) and clinical benefit rate (CBR) was 25.0% (95% CI: 16.9–34.7). One out of 22 HER2-negative tumour was documented as complete response (n=22). The median time-to-progression (TTP) in the HER2-positive and HER2-negative groups was 13.0 and 8.0 weeks (P=0.007); median overall survival was 58.3 and 40.0 weeks, respectively. The most frequent adverse event was diarrhoea. TTP and CBR were significantly associated with HER2 expression. Patients with tumours harbouring an H1047R PIK3CA mutation or low expression of PTEN derived clinical benefit from lapatinib.
Lapatinib monotherapy had shown anti-tumour activity in Japanese patients with HER2-positive MBC that relapsed after trastuzumab-based therapy, including those with brain metastases. Patients benefiting from lapatinib may have biomarker profiles differing from that reported for trastuzumab.
PMCID: PMC2778543  PMID: 19844234
lapatinib; monotherapy; HER2; metastatic breast cancer; biomarker; trastuzumab
10.  Fluorescence in situ hybridization gene amplification analysis of EGFR and HER2 in patients with malignant salivary gland tumors treated with lapatinib 
Head & neck  2009;31(8):1006-1012.
Gene amplification status of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and the human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) were analyzed and correlated with clinical outcome in patients with progressive malignant salivary glands tumors (MSGT) treated with the dual EGFR/Her2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib
Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis for both EGFR and HER2 gene amplification was performed successfully in the archival tumor specimens of 20 patients with adenoid cystic carcinomas (ACC) and 17 patients with non-ACC, all treated with lapatinib.
For ACC, no EGFR or HER2 amplifications were detected. For non-ACC, no EGFR gene amplifications were detected but 3 patients (18%) were HER2 amplified and all had stained 3+ for both EGFR and HER2 by immunohistochemistry (IHC) in their archival specimens. Two of these patients had time-to-progression (TTP) durations of 8.3 months and 18.4 months respectively. Interestingly, patients with low and high HER2/chromosome-specific centromeric enumeration probe (CEP) 17 ratio had a prolonged TTP than those with moderate ratios for both ACC and non-ACC subtypes.
HER2 to CEP17 FISH ratio may predict which patients with MSGT have an increased likelihood to benefit from lapatinib. The finding of HER2:CEP17 ratio as a predictive marker of efficacy to lapatinib warrants further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2711990  PMID: 19309723
MSGT; lapatinib; EGFR and HER2 gene amplification; FISH
11.  Cytotoxic effect of lapatinib is restricted to human papillomavirus-positive head and neck squamous cell carcinoma cell lines 
OncoTargets and therapy  2015;8:335-345.
Lapatinib is a dual epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and HER2 inhibitor. Overexpression of these receptors is frequently observed in head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC). As growing proportion of HNSCC is characterized by human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, we aimed at evaluating the efficacy of lapatinib as function of HPV status in HNSCC cell lines.
Two HPV-positive and two HPV-negative HNSCC cell lines were used. Proliferation, cell cycle, and Annexin V assays were performed to test their sensitivity to lapatinib. Combination of lapatinib and ionizing radiation was evaluated with clonogenic survival assays. Akt, EGFR and HER2, and E6/E7 expression and activation were analyzed by immunoblotting and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction.
Lapatinib reduced E6 and E7 expression and Akt phosphorylation, inhibited cell proliferation and induced cell death in HPV-positive cell lines. An additive effect of lapatinib with radiation was observed in these cells. Lapatinib had no effect on HPV-negative cells.
Lapatinib efficacy restricted to the HPV-positive cells suggests that HPV status could be a potential marker for enhanced response to lapatinib in HNSCC.
PMCID: PMC4322874
HPV; lapatinib; ionizing radiation; EGFR; HER2; tyrosine kinase inhibitor
12.  Phase I clinical trial of HER2-specific immunotherapy with concomitant HER2 kinase inhibtion 
Patients with HER2-overexpressing metastatic breast cancer, despite initially benefiting from the monoclonal antibody trastuzumab and the EGFR/HER2 tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib, will eventually have progressive disease. HER2-based vaccines induce polyclonal antibody responses against HER2 that demonstrate enhanced anti-tumor activity when combined with lapatinib in murine models. We wished to test the clinical safety, immunogenicity, and activity of a HER2-based cancer vaccine, when combined with lapatinib.
We immunized women (n = 12) with metastatic, trastuzumab-refractory, HER2-overexpressing breast cancer with dHER2, a recombinant protein consisting of extracellular domain (ECD) and a portion of the intracellular domain (ICD) of HER2 combined with the adjuvant AS15, containing MPL, QS21, CpG and liposome. Lapatinib (1250 mg/day) was administered concurrently. Peripheral blood antibody and T cell responses were measured.
This regimen was well tolerated, with no cardiotoxicity. Anti-HER2-specific antibody was induced in all patients whereas HER2-specific T cells were detected in one patient. Preliminary analyses of patient serum demonstrated downstream signaling inhibition in HER2 expressing tumor cells. The median time to progression was 55 days, with the majority of patients progressing prior to induction of peak anti-HER2 immune responses; however, 300-day overall survival was 92% (95% CI: 77-100%).
dHER2 combined with lapatinib was safe and immunogenic with promising long term survival in those with HER2-overexpressing breast cancers refractory to trastuzumab. Further studies to define the anticancer activity of the antibodies induced by HER2 vaccines along with lapatinib are underway.
Trial registry NCT00952692
PMCID: PMC3306270  PMID: 22325452
HER2; Antitumor immunity; Immunization; Breast cancer
13.  Phase I Study and Biomarker Analysis of Lapatinib and Concurrent Radiation for Locally Advanced Breast Cancer 
The Oncologist  2012;17(12):1496-1503.
This article describes a phase I dose-escalation study that assessed the toxicity and safety of combining daily lapatinib with radiation therapy for patients with unresectable and locally recurrent or chemotherapy-refractory and locally advanced breast cancer.
This phase I study assessed the toxicity and safety of combining daily lapatinib with radiation therapy. Sequential tumor biopsies were obtained to evaluate changes in biomarkers, such as epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and human EGFR-2 (HER2) signaling pathways.
Eligibility for this dose-escalation study included unresectable and locally recurrent or chemotherapy-refractory and locally advanced breast cancer, and adequate organ function. Patients underwent three serial biopsies: at baseline, after 1 week of lapatinib alone, and after 1 week of lapatinib and radiation. Endpoints included determination of toxicity, maximum tolerated dose, and analysis of the effect of lapatinib with or without radiation on EGFR and HER2 signaling pathways by immunohistochemistry.
Doses of lapatinib up to 1,500 mg/day were well tolerated. Toxicity of grade 3 or more was limited to radiation dermatitis and pain. Out of 19 patients treated, in field responses per Response Evaluation Criteria in Solid Tumors criteria were complete in four patients and partial in six patients. Serial biopsies were obtained in 16 patients with no complications. Total Her2 was relatively unchanged while phospho-Her2, phospho-Akt, and phospho-ERK showed variable responses to both lapatinib alone and dual therapy with lapatinib and radiation.
The combination of lapatinib and radiation was well tolerated in this patient cohort. Overall local response rates were comparable to those reported in other studies in this patient population. Biopsies were safely performed at all time points. Inhibition of HER2 and downstream signaling pathways was identified, although no strong correlation with response was seen.
PMCID: PMC3528381  PMID: 23006498
Breast neoplasms; Radiotherapy; Combined modality therapy; Biological markers
14.  Lapatinib plus chemotherapy or endocrine therapy (CET) versus CET alone in the treatment of HER-2-overexpressing locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer: systematic review and meta-analysis 
Core Evidence  2013;8:69-78.
This paper reports a systematic review and meta-analysis of all randomized controlled trials comparing the efficacy of lapatinib plus chemotherapy or endocrine therapy (CET) versus CET alone in human epidermal growth factor receptor 2-overexpressing (HER-2+) locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer.
Several databases were searched, including MEDLINE, EMBASE, LILACS, and CENTRAL. The primary endpoints were progression-free survival and overall survival. The side effects of each treatment were analyzed. The data extracted from the studies were combined by using the hazard ratio or risk ratio with their corresponding 95% confidence interval (CI).
A total of 113 references were identified and screened. The final analysis included four trials comprising 1,073 patients with HER-2+. The overall response rate was higher in patients who received the combination of CET plus lapatinib (risk ratio 0.78; 95% CI 0.71–0.85; P < 0.00001) but with significant heterogeneity (χ2 = 15.61, df = 3; P = 0.001; I2 = 81%). This result remained favorable to the use of lapatinib when a random-effects model analysis was performed (risk ratio 0.76; 95% CI 0.62–0.94; P = 0.01). Progression-free survival was also higher in patients who received CET plus lapatinib (hazard ratio 0.57; 95% CI 0.49–0.66; P < 0.00001) with no heterogeneity detected on this analysis (χ2 = 3.05; df = 3; P = 0.38; I2 = 1%). Overall survival was significantly longer in patients who received CET plus lapatinib (hazard ratio 0.80; 95% CI 0.69–0.92; P = 0.002) without heterogeneity on this analysis (χ2 = 1.26; df = 3; P = 0.74; I2 = 0%). Regarding adverse events and severe toxicities (grade ≥3), the group receiving CET plus lapatinib had higher rates of neutropenia (risk ratio 2.08; 95% CI 1.64–2.62; P < 0.00001), diarrhea (risk ratio 4.82; 95% CI 3.14–7.41; P < 0.00001), and rash (risk ratio 8.03; 95% CI 2.46–26.23; P = 0.0006).
The combination of CET plus lapatinib increased the overall response rate, progression-free survival, and overall survival in patients with HER-2+ locally advanced or metastatic breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC3793631  PMID: 24115917
chemotherapy; lapatinib; breast cancer; meta-analysis
15.  Enhanced PI3K p110α signaling confers acquired lapatinib resistance which can be effectively reversed by a p110α-selective PI3K inhibitor 
Molecular cancer therapeutics  2013;13(1):60-70.
While the HER2-targeting agents trastuzumab and lapatinib have improved the survival of patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, resistance to these targeted therapies is a major challenge. To investigate mechanisms of acquired lapatinib resistance, we generated acquired lapatinib resistance cell models by extended exposure of two HER2-positive breast cancer cell lines to lapatinib. Genomic and proteomic analyses revealed that lapatinib-resistant breast cancer cells gained additional PI3K activation through activating mutation in PI3K p110α and/or increasing protein expression of existing mutant p110α. p110α protein up-regulation in lapatinib-resistant cells occurred through gene amplification or post-transcriptional upregulation. Knockdown of p110α, but not p110β, the other PI3K catalytic subunit present in epithelial cells, inhibited proliferation of lapatinib-resistant cells, especially when combined with lapatinib. Lapatinib-resistant xenograft growth was inhibited persistently by combination treatment with the p110α-selective PI3K inhibitor BYL719 and lapatinib; the drug combination was also well-tolerated in mice. Mechanistically, the combination of lapatinib plus BYL719 more effectively inhibited Akt phosphorylation and, surprisingly, Erk phosphorylation, than either drug alone in the resistance model. These findings indicate that lapatinib resistance can occur through p110α protein upregulation-mediated, and/or mutation-induced, PI3K activation. Moreover, a combinatorial targeted therapy, lapatinib plus BYL719, effectively overcame lapatinib resistance in vivo and could be further tested in clinical trials. Finally, our findings indicate that p110β may be dispensable for lapatinib resistance in some cases. This allows the usage of p110α-specific PI3K inhibitors and thus may spare patients the toxicities of pan-PI3K inhibition to allow maximal dosage and efficacy.
PMCID: PMC3902650  PMID: 24249715
16.  Effects of lapatinib monotherapy: results of a randomised phase II study in therapy-naive patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck 
British Journal of Cancer  2011;105(5):618-627.
Lapatinib is a dual inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and human EGFR-2 (HER-2) tyrosine kinases. This study investigated the pharmacodynamic and clinical effects of lapatinib in patients with locally advanced squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN).
In total, 107 therapy-naive patients with locally advanced SCCHN were randomised (2 : 1) to receive lapatinib or placebo for 2–6 weeks before chemoradiation therapy (CRT). Endpoints included apoptosis and proliferation rates, clinical response, and toxicity.
Versus placebo, lapatinib monotherapy did not significantly increase apoptosis detected by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate-biotin nick-end labelling or caspase-3 assays. A statistically significant decrease in proliferation using Ki67 assay was observed (P=0.030). In a subset of 40 patients that received ⩾4 weeks of lapatinib or placebo, objective response rate (ORR) was 17% (n=4/24) vs 0% (n=0/16). In the lapatinib single-agent responders, all had EGFR overexpression, 50% had EGFR amplification, and 50% had HER2 expression by immunohistochemistry (including one patient with HER2 amplification). However, these patients showed variable modulation of apoptosis, proliferation, and phosphorylated EGFR on drug treatment. Following CRT, there was a statistically non-significant difference in ORR between lapatinib (70%) and placebo (53%). There was no clear correlation between changes in apoptosis or proliferation and response to chemoradiation. Mucosal inflammation, asthenia, odynophagia, and dysphagia were the most commonly reported adverse events with lapatinib.
Short-term lapatinib monotherapy did not demonstrate apoptotic changes, but provided evidence of clinical activity in locally advanced SCCHN, and warrants further investigation in this disease.
PMCID: PMC3188940  PMID: 21829197
epidermal growth factor receptor; lapatinib; squamous cell carcinoma
Journal of neuro-oncology  2013;114(2):173-179.
High expression of ERBB2 has been reported in medulloblastoma and ependymoma; EGFR is amplified and over-expressed in brainstem glioma suggesting these proteins as potential therapeutic targets. We conducted a molecular biology (MB) and phase II study to estimate inhibition of tumor ERBB signaling and sustained responses by lapatinib in children with recurrent CNS malignancies.
Patients and Methods
In the MB study, patients with recurrent medulloblastoma, ependymoma, and high-grade glioma (HGG) undergoing resection were stratified and randomized to pre-resection treatment with lapatinib 900 mg/m2/dose bid for 7–14 days or no treatment. Western blot analysis of ERBB expression and pathway activity in fresh tumor obtained at surgery estimated ERBB receptor signaling inhibition in vivo. Drug concentration was simultaneously assessed in tumor and plasma. In the phase II study, patients, stratified by histology, received lapatinib continuously, to assess sustained response.
Eight patients, on the MB trial (4 medulloblastomas, 4 ependymomas), received a median of 2 courses (range: 1–6+). No intratumoral target inhibition by lapatinib was noted in any patient. Tumor-to-plasma ratios of lapatinib were 10–20%. In the 34 patients (14 MB, 10 HGG, 10 ependymoma) in the phase II study, lapatinib was well-tolerated at 900 mg/m2/dose bid. The median number of courses in the phase II trial was 2 (range 1–12). Seven patients (3 medulloblastoma, 4 ependymoma) remained on therapy for at least 4 courses range (4–26).
Lapatinib was well-tolerated in children with recurrent or CNS malignancies, but did not inhibit target in tumor and had little single agent activity.
PMCID: PMC4246636  PMID: 23836190
Lapatinib; medulloblastoma; high-grade glioma; phase II trial
18.  An Open-Label Safety Study of Lapatinib Plus Trastuzumab Plus Paclitaxel in First-Line HER2-Positive Metastatic Breast Cancer 
The Oncologist  2013;18(6):661-666.
Combining lapatinib and trastuzumab with taxane chemotherapy may offer clinical benefit to patients with cancer. Dose-limiting toxicities, safety, and tolerability of this combination was assessed. Of the triplet combinations tested, the cohort receiving 750 mg/day dose of lapatinib had the lowest incidence of diarrhea; therefore, this dose should be used in further studies on the treatment of metastatic breast cancer.
Recent data support the hypothesis that combining lapatinib and trastuzumab with taxane chemotherapy may offer added clinical benefit to patients with human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)-positive metastatic breast cancer (MBC). This study examined the safety of the triplet combination in first-line HER2-positive MBC.
Patients and Methods.
Patients were enrolled into three sequential cohorts; the last two cohorts were added by protocol amendment following review of safety data from cohort 1. Patients in cohort 1 received lapatinib (1000 mg/day) plus paclitaxel (80 mg/m2 per week, 3 of every 4 weeks); cohort 2 received lapatinib (1000 mg/day) plus paclitaxel (70 mg/m2 per week, 3 of every 4 weeks); and cohort 3 received lapatinib (750 mg/day) plus paclitaxel (80 mg/m2 per week, 3 of every 4 weeks). All received standard trastuzumab dosing. The primary objective was assessment of dose-limiting toxicities, safety, and tolerability of this combination.
The most frequent adverse events (AEs) for all cohorts were diarrhea (89%), rash (79%), fatigue (73%), alopecia (63%), nausea (63%), and vomiting (40%). In cohorts 1 and 2, the incidence of grade 3 diarrhea was 62% and 50%, respectively; in cohort 3, the incidence was 25% (with prophylactic loperamide). Dehydration was the most frequent serious AE (10%). Across cohorts, overall response rate was 75%.
The dose-limiting toxicity of paclitaxel, trastuzumab, and lapatinib in first-line HER2-positive MBC was diarrhea. Of the triplet combinations tested, the cohort receiving 750 mg/day dose of lapatinib had the lowest incidence of diarrhea; therefore, this dose should be used in further studies on the treatment of MBC.
PMCID: PMC4063391  PMID: 23697602
Breast cancer; HER2; Lapatinib; Paclitaxel; Trastuzumab
19.  A phase II study of capecitabine and lapatinib in advanced refractory colorectal adenocarcinoma: A Wisconsin Oncology Network study 
Prognosis remains poor after progression on first-line chemotherapy for colorectal adenocarcinoma, and inactivation of the EGFR pathway with monoclonal antibodies is an effective treatment strategy in selected patients with metastatic disease. Lapatinib is an oral EGFR and HER-2 dual tyrosine kinase inhibitor that has not shown significant activity in metastatic colorectal cancer. However, lapatinib may act synergistically with capecitabine in anticancer effects.
This was an open-label, non-randomized phase II study of lapatinib 1,250 mg orally daily and capecitabine 2,000 mg/m2 by mouth split into twice-daily dosing for 14 days of a 21 days cycle. Inclusion criteria included metastatic or locally advanced adenocarcinoma of the colon or rectum with progression by RECIST on or within six months of receiving a fluoridopyrimidine-, oxaliplatin- or irinotecan-containing regimen. Prior EGFR monoclonal antibody was permitted. K-ras testing was not routinely performed and was not a part of the study protocol.
Twenty nine patients (16 M; 13 F) were enrolled in this study. There were no complete or partial responses. 41.4% of patients achieved stable disease as a best response. Median overall survival was 6.8 months, with a 1-year survival rate of 22%, and median progression-free survival was 2.1 months. The combination produced few grade 3 and no grade 4 toxicities. No grade 3 toxicity occurred in more than 10% of patients.
Although capecitabine and lapatinib is well tolerated, it is not an effective regimen in patients with refractory colorectal adenocarcinoma.
PMCID: PMC3397648  PMID: 22811876
Colorectal cancer; capecitabine; lapatinib; EGFR; Her-2
20.  Gene expression changes as markers of early lapatinib response in a panel of breast cancer cell lines 
Molecular Cancer  2012;11:41.
Lapatinib, a tyrosine kinase inhibitor of HER2 and EGFR and is approved, in combination with capecitabine, for the treatment of trastuzumab-refractory metastatic breast cancer. In order to establish a possible gene expression response to lapatinib, a panel of breast cancer cell lines with varying sensitivity to lapatinib were analysed using a combination of microarray and qPCR profiling.
Co-inertia analysis (CIA), a data integration technique, was used to identify transcription factors associated with the lapatinib response on a previously published dataset of 96 microarrays. RNA was extracted from BT474, SKBR3, EFM192A, HCC1954, MDAMB453 and MDAMB231 breast cancer cell lines displaying a range of lapatinib sensitivities and HER2 expression treated with 1 μM of lapatinib for 12 hours and quantified using Taqman RT-PCR. A fold change ≥ ± 2 was considered significant.
A list of 421 differentially-expressed genes and 8 transcription factors (TFs) whose potential regulatory impact was inferred in silico, were identified as associated with lapatinib response. From this group, a panel of 27 genes (including the 8 TFs) were selected for qPCR validation. 5 genes were determined to be significantly differentially expressed following the 12 hr treatment of 1 μM lapatinib across all six cell lines. Furthermore, the expression of 4 of these genes (RB1CC1, FOXO3A, NR3C1 and ERBB3) was directly correlated with the degree of sensitivity of the cell line to lapatinib and their expression was observed to “switch” from up-regulated to down-regulated when the cell lines were arranged in a lapatinib-sensitive to insensitive order. These included the novel lapatinib response-associated genes RB1CC1 and NR3C1. Additionally, Cyclin D1 (CCND1), a common regulator of the other four proteins, was also demonstrated to observe a proportional response to lapatinib exposure.
A panel of 5 genes were determined to be differentially expressed in response to lapatinib at the 12 hour time point examined. The expression of these 5 genes correlated directly with lapatinib sensitivity. We propose that the gene expression profile may represent both an early measure of the likelihood of sensitivity and the level of response to lapatinib and may therefore have application in early response detection.
PMCID: PMC3439312  PMID: 22709873
Co-inertia analysis; Microarray; Lapatinib response; Breast cancer
21.  Evaluation of Lapatinib and Topotecan Combination Therapy: Tissue Culture, Murine Xenograft, and Phase I Clinical Trial Data 
Topotecan resistance can result from drug efflux by P-glycoprotein (Pgp) and breast cancer resistance protein (BCRP) as well as survival signals initiated by epidermal growth factor receptor family members. The present studies were done to determine the effect of combining topotecan and the dual epidermal growth factor receptor/HER2 inhibitor lapatinib in tissue culture, a murine xenograft model, and a phase I clinical trial.
Experimental Design
The effects of lapatinib on topotecan accumulation and cytotoxicity in vitro were examined in paired cell lines lacking or expressing Pgp or BCRP. Antiproliferative effects of the combination were assessed in mice bearing HER2+ BT474 breast cancer xenografts. Based on tolerability in this preclinical model, 37 patients with advanced-stage cancers received escalating doses of lapatinib and topotecan in a phase I trial.
Lapatinib increased topotecan accumulation in BCRP- or Pgp-expressing cells in vitro, and the combination showed enhanced efficacy in HER2+ BT474 xenografts. In the phase I study, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fatigue were dose limiting. The maximum tolerated doses were 1,250 mg/d lapatinib by mouth for 21or 28 days with 3.2 mg/m2 topotecan i.v. on days1, 8, and 15 of 28-day cycles. Pharmacokinetic analyses showed that combined drug administration resulted in decreased topotecan clearance consistent with transporter-mediated interactions. Seventeen (46%) patients had disease stabilization.
The lapatinib/topotecan combination is well tolerated and warrants further study.
PMCID: PMC2725396  PMID: 19047120
22.  Estrogen Receptor, Progesterone Receptor, Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2), and Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor Expression and Benefit From Lapatinib in a Randomized Trial of Paclitaxel With Lapatinib or Placebo As First-Line Treatment in HER2-Negative or Unknown Metastatic Breast Cancer 
Journal of Clinical Oncology  2009;27(24):3908-3915.
Lapatinib is a dual inhibitor of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) with activity in HER2-amplified metastatic breast cancer (MBC). Its role in non–HER2-amplified MBC remains unclear. EGF30001, a phase III trial of lapatinib and paclitaxel versus paclitaxel and placebo, demonstrated lapatinib does not significantly benefit HER2-negative or HER2-unselected patients with MBC. Published data support interactions between steroid hormone and peptide growth factor signaling. We hypothesized that molecular subgroups may exist within EGF30001 that would benefit from lapatinib.
A blinded, retrospective biomarker evaluation was performed using immunohistochemistry to semiquantitate estrogen (ER), progesterone (PR), and EGFR expression. HER2 amplification was determined by fluorescent in situ hybridization. Effects of these biomarkers on event-free survival (EFS) were examined in patients with available tissue (n = 493).
Lapatinib improved median EFS in HER2-amplified, ER- or PR-positive MBC (n = 36; 5.7 v 4.5 months; P = .351); benefit was greater and statistically significant in HER2-amplified, ER-negative, PR-negative MBC (n = 42; 8.3 v 5.0 months; P = .007). In HER2-negative, ER-positive MBC, median EFS improvement varied by degree of PR expression (H-score): no benefit if PR-strong (n = 133; 9.3 v 7.3 months; P = .373), benefit if PR-weak (n = 50; 7.3 v 2.4 months; P = .026), and potential antagonism if PR-negative (n = 40; 3.7 v 7.2 months; P = .004). No benefit was seen in triple-negative MBC (n = 131; median EFS, 4.6 v 4.8 months; P = .255). EGFR expression was not correlated with benefit from lapatinib.
Although subgroups are small, these analyses support the hypothesis that semiquantitative determination of hormone receptor status may be a surrogate for EGFR and/or HER2 dependency.
PMCID: PMC2799151  PMID: 19620495
23.  Dual HER2 inhibition in combination with anti-VEGF treatment is active in heavily pretreated HER2-positive breast cancer† 
Annals of Oncology  2013;24(12):3004-3011.
Preclinical data indicate that dual HER2 inhibition overcomes trastuzumab resistance and that use of an HER2 inhibitor with an anti-angiogenic agent may augment responses.
Patients and methods
We conducted a dose-escalation, phase I study of a combination of trastuzumab, lapatinib and bevacizumab. The subset of patients with metastatic breast cancer was analyzed for safety and response.
Twenty-six patients with metastatic breast cancer (median = 7 prior systemic therapies) (all with prior trastuzumab; 23 with prior lapatinib; one with prior bevacizumab) received treatment on a range of dose levels. The most common treatment-related grade 2 or higher toxicities were diarrhea (n = 11, 42%) and skin rash (n = 2, 8%). The recommended phase 2 dose was determined to be the full Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved doses for all the three agents (trastuzumab 8 mg/kg loading dose, 6 mg/kg maintenance dose, intravenously every 3 weeks; lapatinib 1250 mg daily, bevacizumab 15 mg/kg intravenously every 3 weeks). The overall rate of stable disease (SD) ≥6 months and partial or complete remission (PR/CR) was 50% (five patients with SD ≥6 months; seven PRs (including one unconfirmed); one CR). The rate of SD ≥6 months/PR/CR was not compromised in patients who had previously received study drugs, those with brain metastases, and patients treated at lower dose levels.
The combination of trastuzumab, lapatinib and bevacizumab was well-tolerated at maximally approved doses of each drug, and its activity in heavily pretreated patients with metastatic breast cancer suggests that it warrants further investigation. ID
PMCID: PMC3841018  PMID: 24158411
breast cancer; her2; bevacizumab; trastuzumab; lapatinib
24.  Lapatinib plus capecitabine in treating HER2-positive advanced breast cancer: efficacy, safety, and biomarker results from Chinese patients 
Chinese Journal of Cancer  2011;30(5):327-335.
Overexpression of human epidermal growth factor receptor-2 (HER2) in metastatic breast cancer (MBC) is associated with poor prognosis. This single-arm open-label trial (EGF109491; NCT00508274) was designed to confirm the efficacy and safety of lapatinib in combination with capecitabine in 52 heavily pretreated Chinese patients with HER2-positive MBC. The primary endpoint was clinical benefit rate (CBR). Secondary endpoints included progression-free survival (PFS), time to response (TTR), duration of response (DoR), central nervous system (CNS) as first site of relapse, and safety. The results showed that there were 23 patients with partial responses and 7 patients with stable disease, resulting in a CBR of 57.7%. The median PFS was 6.34 months (95% confidence interval, 4.93–9.82 months). The median TTR and DoR were 4.07 months (range, 0.03–14.78 months) and 6.93 months (range, 1.45–9.72 months), respectively. Thirteen (25.0%) patients had new lesions as disease progression. Among them, 2 (3.8%) patients had CNS disease reported as the first relapse. The most common toxicities were palmar-plantar erythrodysesthesia (59.6%), diarrhea (48.1%), rash (48.1%), hyperbilirubinemia (34.6%), and fatigue (30.8%). Exploratory analyses of oncogenic mutations of PIK3CA suggested that of 38 patients providing a tumor sample, baseline PIK3CA mutation status was not associated with CBR (P = 0.639) or PFS (P = 0.989). These data confirm that the lapatinib plus capecitabine combination is an effective and well-tolerated treatment option for Chinese women with heavily pretreated MBC, irrespective of PIK3CA status.
PMCID: PMC4013397  PMID: 21527065
Lapatinib; capecitabine; HER2; metastatic breast cancer
25.  Epidermal growth factor-receptor activation modulates Src-dependent resistance to lapatinib in breast cancer models 
Src tyrosine kinase overactivation has been correlated with a poor response to human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) inhibitors in breast cancer. To identify the mechanism by which Src overexpression sustains this resistance, we tested a panel of breast cancer cell lines either sensitive or resistant to lapatinib.
To determine the role of Src in lapatinib resistance, we evaluated the effects of Src inhibition/silencing in vitro on survival, migration, and invasion of lapatinib-resistant cells. In vivo experiments were performed in JIMT-1 lapatinib-resistant cells orthotopically implanted in nude mice. We used artificial metastasis assays to evaluate the effect of Src inhibition on the invasiveness of lapatinib-resistant cells. Src-dependent signal transduction was investigated with Western blot and ELISA analyses.
Src activation was higher in lapatinib-resistant than in lapatinib-sensitive cells. The selective small-molecule Src inhibitor saracatinib combined with lapatinib synergistically inhibited the proliferation, migration, and invasion of lapatinib-resistant cells. Saracatinib combined with lapatinib significantly prolonged survival of JIMT-1-xenografted mice compared with saracatinib alone, and impaired the formation of lung metastases. Unexpectedly, in lapatinib-resistant cells, Src preferentially interacted with epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) rather than with HER2. Moreover, EGFR targeting and lapatinib synergistically inhibited survival, migration, and invasion of resistant cells, thereby counteracting Src-mediated resistance. These findings demonstrate that Src activation in lapatinib-resistant cells depends on EGFR-dependent rather than on HER2-dependent signaling.
Complete pharmacologic EGFR/HER2 inhibition is required to reverse Src-dependent resistance to lapatinib in breast cancer.
PMCID: PMC4076622  PMID: 24887236

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