Previous studies have shown that therapeutics targeting RTKs would likely be beneficial to individuals with glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), one of the most aggressive types of brain tumour.
However, a small proportion of patients respond to such treatment and most subsequently relapse after only a short time.
During the study, human GBM cells were exposed in vitro to an inhibitor of the RTK PDGFR, which in turn activated a cellular pathway that usually induces cells to undergo a form of cell death known as apoptosis, but the final steps of the pathway were not completed, meaning that the cells did not die.
The team found that final steps of this pathway were blocked by a group of proteins known as IAPs.
The study suggested that if the PDGFR inhibitor was combined with an IAP inhibitor the GBM cells underwent apoptosis.
Further, this drug combination showed enhanced efficacy at stalling tumour growth in an orthotopic mouse model of GBM.
The authors revealed that combining drugs targeting IAPs with RTK inhibitors might prove beneficial to individuals with GBM.