"Professor Cho Byoung-chul’s Research Team Identifies Resistance Mechanism for Refractory Lung Cancer "
Prof. Cho Byoung-chul’s research team (Medical Oncology) found a major mechanism of the second generation EGFR (Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor) targeted therapy for refractory lung cancer. While approximately 30% of lung cancer patients in Korea have an EGFR mutation (lung cancer oncogene mutation) and show very good response to first-generation EGRF targeted therapy agents such as Iressa or Tarceva, after 8-10 months they develop resistance to these agents. Prof. Cho’s research team found that second-generation EGFR targeted therapy candidate agents resulted in a greater increase of anti-cancer effects when the IL-6/JAK/STAT3 signal transduction pathway was hindered. Using drug-resistant lung cancer cell lines and mice models, the team demonstrated that the mechanism of resistance to candidate materials for second-generation EGFR agents activates this signal transduction pathway.
The study shows that this activation plays an important role for the lung cancer cell to quickly acquire resistance to the second-generation EGFR targeted therapies. When IL-6 or JAK (a type of protein that is involved in blood and immune functions) proteins are inhibited, primary resistance of EGFR targeted therapy candidate materials become inhibited and generate an increase of anti-tumor effects in the refractory lung cancer model. Prof. Cho said, “The team plans to conduct new research on the effect of EGFR targeted therapy agents. This research will aim to drastically improve the effect by impeding the resistance mechanism of EGFR agents with a combination of Afatinib (a new promising oral anticancer drug, Boehringer Ingelheim) and Ruxolitinib (the world’s first therapeutic agent of a rare disease ‘myelofibrosis’, Novartis).”