Objective: Lapatinib (Tykerb, GW572016), a potent inhibitor of the catalytic activities of epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2) (ErbB2), inhibits population growth of selected EGFR and HER2 overexpressing cell lines. Previous studies with a small number of cell lines suggest a correlation between overexpression of EGFR and/or HER2 and sensitivity to growth inhibition by lapatinib; however, the precise determinants of lapatinib selectivity for tumour and/or other cells remain unclear.
Materials and methods: To clarify the determinants of its selectivity in cultured cells, lapatinib-induced cell population growth inhibition and relative EGFR and HER2 protein expression were quantified in 61 different human tumour cell lines from 12 tumour types, two oncogene transformed human cell lines and two normal human cell cultures. Using statistical tools to analyse the data, a model describing the relationship between lapatinib IC(50) (the response variable) and EGFR and HER2 expression and tissue type (explanatory variables) was derived.
Conclusion: The results suggest that simultaneous consideration of EGFR and HER2 expression, as well as tissue type yields the best determinant of lapatinib selectivity in cultured cells.