Adjuvant targeted therapy with trastuzumab may decrease metastatic capacity in specific group of oropharyngeal cancer patients: downregulation of E-cadherin-catenin complex by cooperative effect of erbB-2 and human papillomavirus type 16 E6/E7 protooncogenes

Altundag O., Altundag K., Morandi P., Gunduz M.

MEDICAL HYPOTHESES, vol.63, no.2, pp.277-280, 2004 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 63 Issue: 2
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.mehy.2004.03.013
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.277-280
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: No


Human papillomavirus (HPV) type 16 is causally associated with a subset of oral cancers, predominantly those cancers arising in the oropharynx (OP). Increased HPV16 E6 and E7 oncogene expressions are responsible for the malignant transmission in these cancers. ErbB-2 is the family member most closely implicated in human cancer, where it is overexpressed in about 30% of carcinomas including head and neck squamous cell carcinoma. Coexpressions of E6/E7 and ErbB-2 downregutate E-cadherin and catenin expression, therefore induces metastatic process. Trastuzumab is a humanized monoclonal antibody that recognizes the ErbB-2 protein receptor and breakthrough in the treatment of metastatic breast cancer in combination with chemotherapeutic agents. This antibody is also in clinical testing for adjuvant treatment of breast cancer. We propose that trastuzumab as an adjuvant treatment may decrease process of tumor metastasis in oropharyngeal cancer patients who completed primary treatment (surgery and/or radiotherapy) and show expression of both HPV16 E6/E7 and erbB-2 oncoproteins. In vitro and in vivo studies with trastuzumab in these subgroup of patients may support our hypothesis. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.