Katherine Amato, Ph.D., Jin Chen, MD, Ph.D, and other colleagues published a paper in Cancer Research on a study of ways to circumvent the mutation leading to multiplication of cancer cells in the lungs. These lung cancers include those caused by asbestos exposure, such as mesothelioma.
It is known that many cancer cells have a protein on the surface, epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR), that binds to the cell and often mutates, creating division and multiplication of the cancer cells. This paper reported that there are EGFR therapies, tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKIs) which can fight cancer cells, but all patients soon develop resistance and the TKIs are no longer effective. It was discovered that EPHA2, a signaling protein in EGFR, is overactive, producing uncontrolled cell division.
This study indicates that targeting EPHA2 with a small-molecule inhibitor may produce a therapeutic answer to TKI-resistant tumors, possibly leading to successful treatments.