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Mechanism of action and preclinical development of afatinib

, : Mechanism of action and preclinical development of afatinib. Medicina Clinica 146 Suppl 1: 7-11

Afatinib, together with gefitinib and erlotinib, is approved for first-line treatment of advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) with activating mutations of the epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR). This is an irreversible inhibitor of the ErbB family, acting on EGFR (HER1, ErbB1), ErbB2 (HER2) and ErbB4 (HER4). Covalent attachment to cysteine residues in the catalytic domain of EGFR, HER2 and ErbB4 inhibits the tyrosine kinase activity (TKIs) of these receptors, decreasing auto- and transphosphorylation between ErbB dimers, and thus blocking the activity of downstream signalling pathways related to growth and apoptosis suppression. In preclinical models, this has resulted in a reduction in tumour size. Furthermore, due to its mechanism of action, afatinib may be more potent than the first-generation EGFR TKIs (gefitinib and erlotinib) and may even be able to overcome acquired resistance to such treatments. Finally, because of the demonstrated synergism with other chemotherapeutic and target agents, it could be interesting to enhance its clinical development in combination with other drugs.


PMID: 27426242

DOI: 10.1016/S0025-7753(16)30257-3

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