HIV drug shows efficacy in treating mouse models of HER2+ breast cancer

October 6, 2012

The HIV protease inhibitor, Nelfinavir, can be used to treat HER2-positive breast cancer in the same capacity and dosage regimen that it is used to treat HIV, according to a study published October 5 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Breast cancer is one of the most common causes of cancer deaths in the U.S. with approximately 39,520 women succumbing to the disease in 2011. HER2-postive breast cancer is known to be more aggressive and less responsive to treatments compared to other types of breast cancer. Nelfinavir has been shown to inhibit the growth of some types of cancers and has been used in clinical trials as either a chemotherapeutic agent or a radiosensitizer for cancer therapy. However, its effect on HER2-positive breast cancer is unknown.

In order to determine the effects of Nelfinavir on HER2-positive breast cancer, Joong Sup Shim, Ph.D., of the Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine and colleagues screened the Johns Hopkins Drug Library and identified a number of inhibitors of , a subset of which was then used to pharmacologically profile seven genotypically individual breast cancer cell lines. After identifying Nelfinavir as a selective inhibitor of HER2-positive cells, the researchers determined the antitumor activity of the inhibitor in mouse models of human .

The researchers found that Nelfinavir inhibited the growth of HER2-positive tumors in mice. They also found that the concentrations of Nelfinavir needed to inhibit HER2-positive cancer cells in vitro are consistent with dosage regimens used for . "With a relatively low toxicity profile and much available information on its drug-drug interactions and on pharmacokinetics, Nelfinavir is ready for clinical testing in HER2 ," the authors write, adding that this discovery has, "important implications in the development of Nelfinavir and its analogs as new anticancer agents."

Explore further: New therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer developed

More information: DOI:10.1093/jnci/djs396

Related Stories

New therapy for HER2-positive breast cancer developed

July 26, 2011
Patients with HER2-positive breast cancer may soon have an alternative therapy when they develop resistance to trastuzumab, also known as Herceptin, according to a laboratory finding published in Clinical Cancer Research.

Enhancing the effectiveness of a breast cancer treatment

February 13, 2012
Breast cancers expressing the protein HER2 have a particularly poor prognosis. Treatment with trastuzumab (Herceptin) benefits some patients with HER2-positive breast cancer, but it is not as effective as had been hoped. ...

Breast cancer recurrence defined by hormone receptor status

October 1, 2012
Human epidermal growth factor (HER2) positive breast cancers are often treated with the same therapy regardless of hormone receptor status. New research published in BioMed Central's open access journal Breast Cancer Research ...

Drug boosts survival when breast cancer spreads to brain

November 30, 2011
Treatment with lapatinib could extend survival in women with Her2-positive breast cancer that has spread to the brain, according to research published today in the British Journal of Cancer.

Recommended for you

Alternative splicing, an important mechanism for cancer

September 22, 2017
Cancer, which is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, arises from the disruption of essential mechanisms of the normal cell life cycle, such as replication control, DNA repair and cell death. Thanks to the advances ...

'Labyrinth' chip could help monitor aggressive cancer stem cells

September 21, 2017
Inspired by the Labyrinth of Greek mythology, a new chip etched with fluid channels sends blood samples through a hydrodynamic maze to separate out rare circulating cancer cells into a relatively clean stream for analysis. ...

Drug combination may improve impact of immunotherapy in head and neck cancer

September 21, 2017
Checkpoint inhibitor-based immunotherapy has been shown to be very effective in recurrent and metastatic head and neck cancer but only in a minority of patients. University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers ...

Whole food diet may help prevent colon cancer, other chronic conditions

September 21, 2017
A diet that includes plenty of colorful vegetables and fruits may contain compounds that can stop colon cancer and inflammatory bowel diseases in pigs, according to an international team of researchers. Understanding how ...

New kinase detection method helps identify targets for developing cancer drugs

September 21, 2017
Purdue University researchers have developed a high-throughput method for matching kinases to the proteins they phosphorylate, speeding the ability to identify multiple potential cancer drug targets.

Poliovirus therapy induces immune responses against cancer

September 20, 2017
An investigational therapy using modified poliovirus to attack cancer tumors appears to unleash the body's own capacity to fight malignancies by activating an inflammation process that counter's the ability of cancer cells ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.