Pharmacodynamic evaluation of the epidermal growth factor receptor inhibitor OSI-774 in human epidermis of cancer patients

Shazli N. Malik, Lillian L. Siu, Eric K. Rowinsky, Linda DeGraffenried, Lisa A. Hammond, Jinee Rizzo, Sarah Bacus, Michael G. Brattain, Jeffrey I. Kreisberg, Manuel Hidalgo

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116 Scopus citations


Background: OSI-774 is an inhibitor of the epidermal growth factor receptor tyrosine kinase (EGFR-TK) currently in clinical development. In preclinical models, the antitumor activity of OSI-774 was directly related to its ability to inhibit the EGFR-TK. On the basis of these data, we hypothesized that inhibition of the EGFR-TK will be required for this agent to be effective in the clinic. This study evaluated the pharmacodynamic effects of OSI-774 in normal skin tissues collected from patients treated with the agent in a Phase I study. Methods: Patients with advanced cancer who were treated in a Phase I study of OSI-774 underwent a biopsy of normal skin epidermis at baseline and after the last dose of drug in the first course of treatment. The expression and activation of the EGFR, downstream signaling extracyto-plasmatic-regulated kinase (Erk), and cell cycle regulator p27 were determined in paraffin-embedded skin tissues using an immunohistochemical method (IHC). The IHC data were analyzed using both a semiquantitative scoring system and an automatic absorbance quantitative IHC method. The number of cells with nuclear staining of p27 per 500 cells was determined. Plasma samples were collected to quantitate OSI-774 plasma concentrations. Results: A total of 56 skin specimens was collected from 28 patients treated with OSI-774 at doses ranging from 25 to 200 mg/day. There was a significant decrease in phospho-EGFR (Tyr 1173) expression as determined semiquantitatively with OSI-774 treatment [2.75 ± 0.51 (mean ± SD) pretreatment versus 2.36 ± 0.76 after treatment, pair comparison P = 0.01]. The quantitative ratio [(phopho-EGFR/ EGFR) × 100] of phospho-EGFR (Tyr1173) decreased from 64.16 ± 36.58 pretreatment to 48.87 ± 35.37 post-treatment (pair comparison, P = 0.02). No significant differences were observed in phospho-Erk (Thr202/Tyr204) expression. The mean number of cells with nuclear staining for p27 increased from 185 ± 101 (mean ± SD) pretreatment to 253 ± 111 post-treatment (pair comparison P = 0.02). A total of 12 (42.8%), 7 (25%), and 14 (50%) patients had > 25% variation in the ratio of phospho-EGFR (Tyr1173), phospho-Erk (Thr202/Tyr2O4), and p27 expression, respectively. Only changes in p27 expression were related to the administered dose of OSI-774. Conclusions: OSI-774 exerted pharmacodynamic effects in skin tissues of 30-50% of patients treated with the agent. Up-regulation of p27, which is a downstream effect of EGFR inhibition, was dose related. Although there was a significant decrement in phospho-EGFR (Tyr1173), it was not related to the administered dose of OSI-774. On the basis of these findings and the relatively simple and reliable method to measure p27 expression, this biomarker appears to be the most promising and is being evaluated in Phase II studies as a predictor of clinical outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2478-2486
Number of pages9
JournalClinical Cancer Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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