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Current Pharmaceutical Design


ISSN (Print): 1381-6128
ISSN (Online): 1873-4286

Targeting ErbB Receptors in High-Grade Glioma

Author(s): Sabina Berezowska and Jurgen Schlegel

Volume 17, Issue 23, 2011

Page: [2468 - 2487] Pages: 20

DOI: 10.2174/138161211797249233

Price: $65


High-grade gliomas, including glioblastoma, are among the most malignant and treatment-refractory human neoplasms. The tumors show high levels of resistance to conventional therapies (i.e. surgery, irradiation, and chemotherapy), and despite treatment advances patient outcome remains poor. New therapeutic options are needed. An especially interesting idea is the rational development of new therapies targeting molecules in cancer specific signaling pathways, thereby ideally increasing treatment efficacy and minimizing toxicity. Clearly, rational design requires thorough understanding of the molecular pathogenesis and resistance mechanisms. One highly promising approach is the targeted inhibition of ErbB growth factor receptors, which are recognized as key signaling pathways in many types of human tumors, including high-grade glioma. The ErbB receptor family of tyrosine kinases comprises four members: epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR/ErbB1/HER1), ErbB2 (HER2/neu), ErbB3 (HER3) and ErbB4 (HER4). Physiologically, signaling is induced by ligand initiated receptor homo- or heterodimerization, activating intracellular downstream signaling pathways and leading to increased cell proliferation, anti-apoptosis and migration. A truncated, constitutively activated mutant EGFR (EGFRvIII) is associated with poor survival in GBM. Thus, to date anti-ErbB approaches are mainly focused on EGFR. The two major classes of anti-ErbB therapeutics are monoclonal antibodies (e.g. cetuximab, panitumumab) and small molecule Tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI, e.g. gefitinib, erlotinib, lapatinib). Some compounds entered clinical trials already, but clinical efficacy needs to be enhanced. Here we review current therapeutic advances targeting ErbB receptors in high-grade gliomas, and give a concise overview on current understanding of ErbB biology in gliomas, paving the way to novel rational therapeutic development.

Keywords: EGFR, ErbB2, HER2, glioma, glioblastoma, targeted therapy, ErbB3, ErbB4, angiogenesis, radiation therapy

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