Research ArticleCancer

EGFR as a potential therapeutic target for a subset of muscle-invasive bladder cancers presenting a basal-like phenotype

Science Translational Medicine  09 Jul 2014:
Vol. 6, Issue 244, pp. 244ra91
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008970

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Bladder Cancer’s Basal Instincts

Like most cancers, bladder tumors are much easier to treat when they do not invade deep into the tissue, accounting for the poor outcomes of patients with muscle-invasive bladder cancer. By performing genetic analysis on a large number of these tumors, Rebouissou et al. identified a specific subgroup of muscle-invasive bladder cancers expressing basal markers. Although these are aggressive tumors, the authors showed that they have a weak spot and are unusually dependent on the activity of a signaling pathway called epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). As a result, these tumors are sensitive to treatment with drugs that inhibit the EGFR pathway, which the authors confirmed in preclinical models.