From Orlando, Fla., at a meeting of the American Society of Hematology
A drug that targets solid tumors such as those of lung cancer might also fight blood cancers, a lab study shows.
Erlotinib (Tarceva) attacks cells by blocking a receptor protein that's abundant on the surface of some cancer cells (SN: 8/27/05, p. 139: Available to subscribers at Targeted Attack). Bone marrow cells—the blood-forming cells that go awry in patients with leukemia and other blood cancers—typically don't display this receptor.
Nevertheless, physician Simone Boehrer of the Gustave-Roussy Institute in Villejuif, France, and her colleagues tested erlotinib in a lab dish on bone marrow cells taken from 10 patients with either acute myeloid leukemia or a precancerous blood disorder called myelodysplastic syndrome.
While cells from some patients were resistant to erlotinib, the drug killed up to 60 percent of cancerous cells extracted fr