Synergistic inhibition of breast cancer cell lines with a dual inhibitor of EGFR-HER-2/neu and a Bcl-2 inhibitor

Lois M. Witters, Amy Witkoski, Maricarmen D. Planas-Silva, Mark Berger, Jean Viallet, Allan Lipton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) (ErbB1) and HER-2/neu (ErbB2) are members of the ErbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases. These receptors are overexpressed in a variety of human tumors and overexpression generally correlates with poor prognosis and decreased survival. Lapatinib, a reversible inhibitor of both EGFR and HER-2/neu, has shown some success in achieving clinical responses in heavily pretreated advanced cancer patients. GW2974 is a reversible dual inhibitor similar to lapatinib, but GW2974 was not progressed to clinical trials due to pharmacokinetic issues. Bcl-2, an anti-apoptotic protein, is also overexpressed in a number of human tumors. Bcl-2 inhibitors induce apoptosis and sensitize cancer cells to other therapies. The purpose of this study was to assess the effects of combining ErbB and Bcl-2 inhibitors on the growth of human breast cancer cell lines. EGFR/HER-2/neu tyrosine kinase inhibitors (lapatinib and GW2974) were combined with Bcl-2 inhibitors (HA14-1 or GX15-070) and the anti-proliferative effects were determined by the MTT tetrazolium dye assay. Combinations were tested in MCF-7 human breast cancer cells, a HER-2/neu transfected MCF-7 cell line (MCF/18), and a tamoxifen-resistant MCF-7 cell line (MTR-3). A synergistic inhibitory effect was observed with the combination of inhibitors of EGFR-HER-2/neu (lapatinib or GW2974) and Bcl-2 (GX15-070 or HA14-1) on the growth of the MCF-7, MCF/18, and MTR-3 human breast cancer cell lines. This study suggests that simultaneously blocking the ErbB family of receptor tyrosine kinases and Bcl-2 family of proteins may be a benefit to breast cancer patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-469
Number of pages5
JournalOncology Reports
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Bcl-2
  • Breast cancer
  • ErbB
  • Growth inhibition
  • Synergism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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