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The Therapeutic Challenge of Targeting HER2 in Endometrial Cancer.


ABSTRACT: Endometrial cancer is the most common gynecologic cancer in the United States, diagnosed in more than 50,000 women annually. While the majority of women present with low-grade tumors that are cured with surgery and adjuvant radiotherapy, a significant subset of women experience recurrence and do not survive their disease. A disproportionate number of the more than 8,000 annual deaths attributed to endometrial cancer are due to high-grade uterine cancers, highlighting the need for new therapies that target molecular alterations specific to this subset of tumors. Numerous correlative scientific investigations have demonstrated that the HER2 (ERBB2) gene is amplified in 17%-33% of carcinosarcoma, uterine serous carcinoma, and a subset of high-grade endometrioid endometrial tumors. In breast cancer, this potent signature has directed women to anti-HER2-targeted therapies such as trastuzumab and lapatinib. In contrast to breast cancer, therapy with trastuzumab alone revealed no responses in women with recurrent HER2 overexpressing endometrial cancer, suggesting that these tumors may possess acquired or innate trastuzumab resistance mechanisms. This review explores the literature surrounding HER2 expression in endometrial cancer, focusing on trastuzumab and other anti-HER2 therapy and resistance mechanisms characterized in breast cancer but germane to endometrial tumors. Understanding resistance pathways will suggest combination therapies that target both HER2 and key oncogenic escape pathways in endometrial cancer.This review summarizes the role of HER2 in endometrial cancer, with a focus on uterine serous carcinoma. The limitations to date of anti-HER2 therapy in this disease site are examined, and mechanisms of drug resistance are outlined based on the experience in breast cancer. Potential opportunities to overcome inherent resistance to anti-HER2 therapy in endometrial cancer are detailed, offering opportunities for further clinical study with the goal to improve outcomes in this challenging disease.

SUBMITTER: Diver EJ 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4571805 | BioStudies | 2015-01-01

SECONDARY ACCESSION(S): NCT01367002

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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