BRAF mutant colorectal cancer: ErbB2 expression levels as predictive factor for the response to combined BRAF/ErbB inhibitors

Evelina Miele, Luana Abballe, Gian Paolo Spinelli, Zein Mersini Besharat, Giuseppina Catanzaro, Martina Chiacchiarini, Alessandra Vacca, Agnese Po, Carlo Capalbo, Elisabetta Ferretti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Colorectal cancer (CRC) is a heterogeneous disease with a complex biology and a wide number of altered genes such as BRAF, KRAS and PIK3CA. Advances with new-targeted therapies have been achieved and available treating options have prolonged patient's survival. However, BRAF-mutated CRC patients remain unresponsive to available therapies with RAF inhibitors (RAFi) alone or combined with ErbB inhibitors (ErbBi). These unmet needs require further exploitation of oncogenic signaling in order to set up individualized treatments. Methods: To this end, we tested the efficacy of single agent or combined treatments using the BRAFi, vemurafenib and two different ErbBi: panitumumab and afatinib in CRC cells characterized by different molecular phenotypes. Results: Combination strategies with BRAFi and ErbBi achieved a better response in BRAFV600E mutated cells expressing high levels of ErbB2. Conclusions: Our findings support the importance of ErbB2 evaluation in BRAF-mutated CRC patients and its role as a positive predictor factor of response to BRAFi/ErbBi combination.

Original languageEnglish
Article number129
JournalBMC Cancer
Volume20
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 17 2020

Keywords

  • Afatinib
  • BRAFV mutation
  • Colon cancer
  • ErbB2
  • Molecular therapy
  • Vemurafenib

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research

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