ARTICLE | Targets & Mechanisms

EGFR inhibition boosts stem cell mobilization

October 14, 2010 7:00 AM UTC

Researchers at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center have shown that the epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor Tarceva erlotinib can increase the mobilization of stem cells from the bone marrow to the blood, which is an important step in stem cell transplants for blood cancers.1 The findings could open up new oncology indications for the small molecule, which is marketed by Astellas Pharma Inc. and Roche to treat non-small cell lung cancer and pancreatic cancer based on the antiproliferative effects of blocking the receptor.

Autologous stem cell transplants for cancer involve stimulating the release of hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) from the bone marrow to the blood, where the cells are harvested and expanded ex vivo. In the meantime, the patient is given chemotherapy to eradicate the blood or bone marrow cancer, after which the HSPCs are reintroduced to repopulate the blood and bone marrow with healthy cells...