Experimental studies in brain tumours - with special regard to multidrug resistance and the ErbB - family
We determined whether down-regulation of the epidermal growth factor-receptor (EGF-R) signaling pathway by oral administration of a novel EGF-R tyrosine kinase inhibitor (PKI166) alone or in combination with gemcitabine (administered i.p.) can inhibit growth and metastasis of human pancreatic carcinoma cells implanted into the pancreas of nude mice. Therapy beginning 7 days after orthotopic injection of L3.6pl human pancreatic cancer cells reduced the volume of pancreatic tumors by 59% in mice treated with gemcitabine only, by 45% in those treated with PKI166 only, and by 85% in those given both drugs. The combination therapy also significantly inhibited lymph node and liver metastasis, which led to a significant increase in overall survival. EGF-R activation was significantly blocked by therapy with PKI166 and was associated with significant reduction in tumor cell production of VEGF and IL-8, which in turn correlated with a significant decrease in microvessel density and an increase in apoptotic endothelial cells. Collectively, our results demonstrate that oral administration of an EGF-R tyrosine kinase inhibitor decreased growth and metastasis of human pancreatic cancer growing orthotopically in nude mice and increased survival. The therapeutic effects were mediated in part by inhibition of tumor-induced angiogenesis attributable to a decrease in production of proangiogenic molecules by tumor cells and increased apoptosis of tumor-associated endothelial cells.