MAY 09, 2020 4:05 PM PDT

Examining a Combination Therapy Against Gastric Cancer

WRITTEN BY: Jasper Cantrell

Often when it comes to treatments for cancer, designing or discovering new leads can take years. One of the common practices to circumvent this is to combine already developed therapies to improve their effectiveness. This combination may also overcome certain issues, such as resistance to treatment. While this does not always work, combination therapies are usually the best way to increase the effectiveness of treatment without having to undergo a decade or more of research and development.

Ramucirumab is a monotherapy approved for the treatment of gastric cancer, as well as several others, as a second-line treatment. Recently, it was found that dual treatment using ramucirumab alongside current first-line treatment paclitaxel had improved anti-cancer abilities over either drug alone. While this is clear, the mechanism by which they synergized to produce this enhanced effect is still not. A group from Italy decided to investigate.

Their study was designed to be an in vitro examination of how the dual treatment may improve either drug’s anti-cancer activities. Ramucirumab is known to bind to the tyrosine kinase vascular endothelial growth factor receptor (VEGFR) and prevent its activation. The VEGFR signaling pathway has been linked to the progression of tumor angiogenesis in many cancers. Paclitaxel is known to impair cellular proliferation by arresting the cell cycle and inducing apoptosis. The group started by gathering a set of gastric cancer cell lines and began their studies.

Beginning with paclitaxel’s ability to impair cellular proliferation, they found that both paclitaxel and ramucirumab alone could impair cell growth. Applied together, they could impair cancer cell growth to a higher degree. It was notable that both drugs seemed to induce DNA damage, which could explain this. The findings were similar for ramucirumab’s anti-angiogenesis activities through the impairment of cellular migration. Both elicited an inhibitory effect on cancer cell migration and was increased when both were applied together. Ramucirumab could decrease the expression of VEGFR, but alongside paclitaxel, which alone showed no effect, showed a further impairment of VEGFR expression. This inferred a supportive role for paclitaxel in this activity.

Combination therapy is a possible way to overcome certain shortcomings of some treatments alone. Ramucirumab and paclitaxel are already approved as a combination therapy for advanced gastric cancer patients. The mechanism by which they synergize is still up for debate, with this work observing that both drugs impair cellular proliferation, and paclitaxel supporting ramucirumab’s anti-angiogenesis activities rather than contributing itself. The team concludes, “The combination of Ram and PTX represents the standard second-line therapy for patients with metastatic GC.”

Sources: Nature, Targeted Oncology
 

About the Author
  • Hey everyone! My name is Jasper and, considering I am pretty new here to Labroots, I figured I would introduce myself. I received my bachelor’s from the University of California at Riverside back in 2016. I started off my career a few years ago with a job at a University over in New York, before moving over into the industry. I'm happy to be writing content for Labroots, and I hope you enjoy it!
You May Also Like
NOV 23, 2020
Cancer
Platelets May Protect Cancer Against PD-1 Therapies
NOV 23, 2020
Platelets May Protect Cancer Against PD-1 Therapies
One of cancer’s greatest tools is its ability to manipulate the immune system. Many cancer therapies have arisen t ...
NOV 23, 2020
Cancer
Women show higher survival rates than men post lung cancer surgery
NOV 23, 2020
Women show higher survival rates than men post lung cancer surgery
New research published in the journal Chest shows that women fare better than men following lung cancer surgery. Th ...
DEC 03, 2020
Cancer
Lung cancers in Latin Americans with Native American ancestry
DEC 03, 2020
Lung cancers in Latin Americans with Native American ancestry
New research published in Cancer Discovery highlights the increased presence of genetic mutations in Latin American lung ...
DEC 02, 2020
Cancer
Telomere shortening doesn't only indicate ageing...
DEC 02, 2020
Telomere shortening doesn't only indicate ageing...
While telomere shortening has been thought to be an adverse sign of aging, new research suggests that the shortening of ...
DEC 07, 2020
Cancer
Can Cannabidiol inhibit head and neck cancer growth?
DEC 07, 2020
Can Cannabidiol inhibit head and neck cancer growth?
The usefulness of marijuana against cancer has been in question for some years now. Some are saying it has the potential ...
JAN 15, 2021
Genetics & Genomics
Rare Quadruple Helix DNA Found in Live Human Cells
JAN 15, 2021
Rare Quadruple Helix DNA Found in Live Human Cells
Many people picture the classic double-stranded helix when picturing a molecule of DNA, but DNA is also capable of formi ...
Loading Comments...