The researchers at Penn State College of Medicine said that the absence of a protein that works to prevent tumor formation may cause resistance to common cancer therapies given to the patients. According to them, testing lung cancer for the presence of this protein may help doctors to identify those patients who may be resistant to or relapse when they get treated with this therapy. This protein is called as Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR).
EGFR protein plays a key role in cell division and survival signaling. In addition to lung cancer, it is active in skin, bladder, esophageal, liver, colon, head, pancreatic and neck cancers. Those patients who have high amounts of EGFR protein tend to have poor prognosis. While some patients are resistant to the therapy and many who were initially responsive to treatment but relapse within a year. The team at Penn State College of Medicine investigated why these patients may be resistant to EGFR therapies.
Douglas Stairs, researcher said, “There are still some reasons for resistance that are alluding scientists. Our previous work showed that too much EGFR and reduced amounts of a protein called p120 catenin (p120ctn) can cause cancer to develop. We hypothesized that reduced amounts of p120ctn might also cause resistance to EGFR therapies.” He also said that the results of the study are promising and his lab will continue to explore the role of p120ctn loss in EGFR therapy by testing the effect in cancer cells sampled from lung cancer patients and other cancers. Also, they will explore whether the cells with increased EGFR and decreased p120ctn are resistant to other EGFR therapies as approved by US Food and Drug Administration.
A lot more research is required to be made in this arena to come at some conclusive results. The information shared in this blog is for educational purposes only.