HER2-positive breast cancer accounts for 15-20 percent of invasive breast cancers. The best known drug to treat patients with HER2 positive breast cancer and some other cancers such as HER2 positive gastric cancer is Herceptin. And new range of targeted anti-cancer durg include lapatinib, neratinib, afatinib, pertuzumab, T-DM1as well.
Many patients with HER2 positive tumours gain huge benefit from these drugs. Unfortunately, however, some who seem suitable candidates based on a HER2 test, don’t gain the maximum intended benefit from these treatments. They may have a natural level of resistance to the treatment which is not detectable with currently available tests, while some other patients respond at first but may then become unresponsive or develop resistance to the treatments.
Clinicians urgently need ways of predicting which patients with ‘HER2 tumours’ are likely to gain real benefit, both to ensure patients are given the optimal treatments and to ensure these very costly drugs are used where they will have the most benefit.
The researchers, led by Prof Lorraine O’Driscoll from TCD’s School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences discovered a molecule called Neuromedin U (NmU) which is strongly associated with resistance to the new anti-cancer drugs for HER2 positive cancers. The research revealed the levels of NmU outside the cells reflects that within the cells indicating it may be used as an ‘extracellular’ blood-based marker. This suggests NmU could be used as a biological marker to indicate the likelihood of responsiveness in a particular patient and may also be very important in the management of resistance to these drugs.
The article was extracted from the followed link http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/06/140610205311.htm