Purpose: Lapatinib, a small molecule EGFR/HER2 inhibitor, partially inhibits the outgrowth of HER2+ brain metastases in preclinical models and in a subset of CNS lesions in clinical trials of HER2+ breast cancer. We investigated the ability of lapatinib to reach therapeutic concentrations in the CNS following (14)C-lapatinib administration (100 mg/kg p.o. or 10 mg/kg, i.v.) to mice with MDA-MD-231-BR-HER2 brain metastases of breast cancer.
Methods: Drug concentrations were determined at differing times after administration by quantitative autoradiography and chromatography.
Results: (14)C-Lapatinib concentration varied among brain metastases and correlated with altered blood-tumor barrier permeability. On average, brain metastasis concentration was 7-9-fold greater than surrounding brain tissue at 2 and 12 h after oral administration. However, average lapatinib concentration in brain metastases was still only 10-20% of those in peripheral metastases. Only in a subset of brain lesions (17%) did lapatinib concentration approach that of systemic metastases. No evidence was found of lapatinib resistance in tumor cells cultured ex vivo from treated brains.
Conclusions: Results show that lapatinib distribution to brain metastases of breast cancer is partially restricted and blood-tumor barrier permeability is a key component of lapatinib therapeutic efficacy which varies between tumors.