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Targeted Therapy for Liver or Biliary Tract Cancer

Name of the Trial

Phase II Study of Lapatinib in Patients With Unresectable Hepatocellular Carcinoma or Biliary Tract Carcinoma (OSU-0447). See the protocol abstract.

Principal Investigator

Dr. Tanios Bekaii-Saab, Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute at Ohio State University.

Why This Trial Is Important

Dr. Tanios Bekaii-Saab
Dr. Tanios Bekaii-Saab
Principal Investigator

Hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer) and biliary tract carcinoma (cancer of the bile ducts) are rare in the United States; however, patients with these cancers face a bleak prognosis if their tumors cannot be surgically removed.

In this clinical trial, researchers are testing the ability of a new drug called lapatinib to delay tumor growth and possibly improve the survival of patients with inoperable hepatocellular or biliary tract cancer. Lapatinib works by disrupting chemical signals that stimulate the growth and spread of cancer cells. Specifically, this drug blocks the activity of two tyrosine kinases (proteins involved in cell communication) called EGFR and HER2, which are found in increased amounts on some types of cancer cells, including hepatocellular and biliary tract cancers.

"Lapatinib represents a new generation of targeted therapies in that it targets multiple proteins that affect the growth and metastatic potential of cancer cells," said Dr. Bekaii-Saab. "The EGFR and HER2 proteins may work in tandem in these tumors, so it makes sense to employ an agent that can effectively block the activity of both proteins.

"Patients with inoperable liver or biliary tract cancer have very few options available to them," Dr. Bekaii-Saab said. "We hope that lapatinib will offer these patients a new and more effective treatment choice than traditional chemotherapy."

Contact Information

This clinical trial is no longer accepting new patients. To locate other clinical trials for liver or biliary tract cancer, search the NCI's database of clinical trials or call the NCI's Cancer Information Service at 1-800-4-CANCER (1-800-422-6237). The toll-free call is completely confidential.

  • Posted: February 21, 2006
  • Updated: June 4, 2007