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Validation of gefitinib effectiveness in a broad panel of head and neck squamous carcinoma cells

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Recently improved understanding of the pathogenesis of human head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) has led to the development of new, molecular-based therapeutic strategies, one of the more promising is the utilisation of tyrosine kinase (TK) inhibitors, targeting epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). In this study, we tested for gefitinib effectiveness in a broad panel of 12 newly established HNSCC cell lines, investigating its ability to reduce cell growth, to induce apoptosis and to modulate cell cycle and various EGFR pathway-related targets. Gefitinib IC50 values ranged between 0.064 and 33 μM, its capability to induce apoptosis and cell accumulation in G0/G1 phase was cell line-specific, and the main EGFR-related pathway involved in gefitinib activity was PI3K/Akt/mTor. We characterised our in vitro panel extensively, with the aim to identify predictive factors for gefitinib effectiveness; all cell lines were free of human papillomavirus infection, two were positive for Fhit expression, four expressed wild-type p53, and all of them variously expressed the other two p53 family members, p63 and p73. The comparison between the targets analysed and gefitinib effectiveness evidenced the absence of a clear relationship, excluding them as predictive factors for gefitinib efficacy. Our results confirmed the in vitro efficacy of an anti-EGFR approach, but other targets than those analysed here should be characterised in order to identify valid predictive factors for gefitinib utilisation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Clinical Experimental Oncology Laboratory, National Cancer Institute, Bari, Italy

Publication date: January 1, 2008

More about this publication?
  • The International Journal of Molecular Medicine is a monthly, peer-reviewed journal devoted to the publication of high quality studies related to the molecular mechanisms of human disease. The journal welcomes research on all aspects of molecular and clinical research, ranging from biochemistry to immunology, pathology, genetics, human genomics, microbiology, molecular pathogenesis, molecular cardiology, molecular surgery and molecular psychology.

    The International Journal of Molecular Medicine aims to provide an insight for researchers within the community in regard to developing molecular tools and identifying molecular targets for the diagnosis and treatment of a diverse number of human diseases.
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