Breast Cancer Coverage from Every Angle

Two-Drug Combination Targets Resistance in Cancer

By: Kayci Reyer
Posted: Friday, August 30, 2019

According to research published in Oncogene, a combination treatment of the CDK4/6 inhibitor palbociclib and the MET inhibitor crizotinib may prove to be more effective against the replication of cancer cells than either medication as monotherapy. “Our evidence shows that existing medicines could be used to overcome resistance to treatment in a frequent form of breast cancer in women,” noted Sibylle Mittnacht, PhD, of the University College London Cancer Institute, in a press release from The Institute of Cancer Research.

The study involved cancer cells in a laboratory or rodent host setting and included cells from lung, breast, and bowel tissue. Palbociclib often becomes less effective when cancer cells activate the backup molecule CDK2, which also promotes cell division and disease progression. The activation of CDK2 relies on signaling that occurs through a cellular control pathway, a process that relies on two other molecules, MET and FAK.

When crizotinib was combined with palbociclib, the activation of CDK2 was prevented, blocking the division of cancer cells. In addition, the combination also induced senescence, where cell death did not occur but there was a prolonged inactivity in cell growth and division. The two-pronged treatment was found to be more effective in preventing the replication or disease progression of cancer cells in a laboratory or rodent host setting than either medication alone.

“Our results suggest an opportunity for use of FAK inhibitors in conjunction with CDK4/6is as a potentially powerful approach to improve the outcome for patients treated with CDK4/6-targeted therapies or to expand the current, approved indications through mechanism-based targeted combinations,” the investigators explained.

Disclosure: The study authors’ disclosure information may be found at

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