Breast cancer gene may play role in prostate PCa recurrence

May 5, 2005

Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), associated with breast cancer, is a key culprit in prostate cancer recurrence, say researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER-2), associated with breast cancer, is a key culprit in prostate cancer recurrence, say researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Researchers inhibited HER-2 activity in two laboratory experiments involving human cancer cells. For the first experiment, researchers put an artificial antibody to HER-2 directly into cells via a modified virus. The second experiment used lapatinib, an experimental drug in advanced clinical trials for breast cancer. This drug specifically inhibits HER-2 tyrosine kinase activity. Investigators witnessed the derailing of tyrosine kinase activity and androgen receptor function in both experiments.

Their findings appear in Cancer Research (2005; 65:3404-9).

"We found the inhibition of HER-2 strongly inhibits proliferation of prostate cancer cells and the function of androgen receptor," said lead author Young Whang, MD, PhD. "And we have shown that inhibition of HER-2 impairs the androgen receptor function at this step of binding to the DNA sequence of critical genes such as prostate specific antigen."

He added that this study justifies the initiation of a novel drug inhibiting HER-2.