A promising approach in the prevention and treatment of pancreatic cancer

Many gastrointestinal tumors, including pancreatic cancer, have been shown to overexpress the EGFR. The overexpression of EGFR correlates with rapidly progressive disease and poor prognosis. Targeting EGFR pathway as a potential therapeutic strategy for pancreatic cancer has been developed. Erlotinib is a small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor that efficiently blocks EGFR. Preliminary results of phase III trial in pancreatic cancer revealed an improvement in survival with the addition of erlotinib. Treatment with anti-EGFR agents is used as a potential therapeutic strategy for pancreatic cancer, but the mechanisms are not yet precisely understood.

This article was published on September 21, 2008 in the World Journal of Gastroenterology. The research team from Department of Gastroenterology, Affiliated First People’s Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China studied the effects of erlotinib on six different pancreatic cancer cell lines. How erlotinib exhibits its antineoplastic activity in vivo needs to be further elucidated.

In this study authors revealed the efficacy of erlotinib, as a single agent, on pancreatic cancer cells growth in vitro, and in vivo study using a nude mice xenograft model and the mechanisms involved were also explored.

Erlotinib repressed BxPC-3 cell growth in a dose-dependent manner, triggered G1 arrest and induced cell apoptosis,and suppressed capillary formation of endothelium in vitro. In vivo, erlotinib treated mice demonstrated a reduced tumor volume and weight as compared with control. The relationship between EGFR and angiogenesis has also been investigated using tube formation assay in vitro and immunohistochemical analysis of tumor-associated blood vessels in vivo. These findings provide evidence for the inhibitive activity of erlotinib in pancreatic cancer cells. Inhibition of EGFR may be a promising adjuvant in chemotherapeutic strategy in the treatment of the dismal disease. The results also demonstrate that EGFR signaling pathway is an important target in pancreatic cancer.


Correspondence to
Dr. Da-Dao Jing, Department of Gastroenterology, Shanghai First People’s Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University, 100 Haining RD, Hongkou District, Shanghai 200080, China. .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Telephone: +86-21-63240090-3141 Fax: +86-21-66302029

Reference: Lu YY, Jing DD, Xu M, Wu K, Wang XP. Anti-tumor activity of erlotinib in the BxPC-3 pancreatic cancer cell line. World J Gastroenterol 2008; 14(35): 5403-5411

About World Journal of Gastroenterology

World Journal of Gastroenterology (WJG), a leading international journal in gastroenterology and hepatology, has established a reputation for publishing first class research on esophageal cancer, gastric cancer, liver cancer, viral hepatitis, colorectal cancer, and H pylori infection and provides a forum for both clinicians and scientists. WJG has been indexed and abstracted in Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, Science Citation Index Expanded (also known as SciSearch) and Journal Citation Reports/Science Edition, Index Medicus, MEDLINE and PubMed, Chemical Abstracts, EMBASE/Excerpta Medica, Abstracts Journals, Nature Clinical Practice Gastroenterology and Hepatology, CAB Abstracts and Global Health. ISI JCR 2003-2000 IF: 3.318, 2.532, 1.445 and 0.993. WJG is a weekly journal published by WJG Press. The publication dates are the 7th, 14th, 21st, and 28th day of every month. WJG is supported by The National Natural Science Foundation of China, No. 30224801 and No. 30424812, and was founded with the name of China National Journal of New Gastroenterology on October 1, 1995, and renamed WJG on January 25, 1998.

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World Journal of Gastroenterology

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