Drug Combination Shows Promise in Laboratory Study

Publication date: October 11, 2012

Although not yet studied in humans, a combination of two drugs-lapatinib and veliparib-caused cell death in samples of triple-negative breast cancer cells and also delayed tumor growth in mice. These results were published in PLOS ONE.

Lapatinib (Tykerb®) is used for the treatment advanced HER2-positive breast cancer. In addition to targeting HER2, this drug may also reduce the ability of cells to repair damage to their DNA. When combined with the investigational drug veliparib-a type of drug known as a PARP inhibitor that also interferes with DNA repair-the amount of DNA damage that accumulates within cells may lead to cell death.

Given the potential for these drugs to interact in an effective way, the combination was evaluated in samples of triple negative breast cancer cells and in mice.

In the samples of cancer cells, the combination of lapatinib and veliparib resulted in higher levels of cancer cell death than lapatinib alone. The combination of the two drugs also significantly delayed tumor growth in mice which had been implanted with triple negative breast cancer cells.

These findings suggest that the combination of lapatinib and veliparib warrants further study in the treatment of triple-negative breast cancer. Researchers are beginning to plan for clinical trials that will evaluate this drug combination in humans.

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Nowsheen S, Cooper T, Stanley JA, Yang ES. Synthetic lethal interactions between EGFR and PARP inhibition in human triple negative breast cancer cells. PLOS ONE.
Published: October 11, 2012.[ Full text available here ]

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