Researchers Explain Why Cancer 'Smart Drugs' May Not be So Smart, Yale University School Of Medicine Study
Published: May 12, 2011
Some of the most effective and expensive cancer drugs, dubbed "smart drugs" for their ability to stop tumors by targeting key drivers of cancer cell growth, are not effective in some patients. In two related studies, Yale School of Medicine researchers examined one such driver, the EGF receptor (EGFR), and found that a decoy receptor might be limiting the amount of drug that gets to the intended target. "We know that smart drugs like Cetuximab are not always effective in the cancer cells they're supposed to target because there are no positive predictive markers for selecting the patients who will benefit from treatment with EGFR-targeted therapies, including EGFR itself," said lead author Nita Maihle, professor in the Departments of Obstetrics, Gynecology & Reproductive Sciences and of Pathology at Yale School of Medicine. "Why would a patient be given an expensive drug if it doesn't work? Our studies provide new insight into this paradoxical EGFR testing conundrum."