Editors' ChoiceCancer

Stemming the progression of cancer

Sci. Signal.  24 Nov 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 404, pp. ec352
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aad9036

LGR5 is a well-known marker of intestinal cancer stem cells, which makes it an attractive target for anticancer treatments. Unfortunately, LGR5 is also found in healthy intestinal stem cells, giving rise to concerns about the potential toxicity of such treatments. Junttila et al. used preclinical models of intestinal cancer to demonstrate that targeting LGR5 with an antibody-drug conjugate effectively reduced tumors without damaging the surrounding normal tissues. These observations of preclinical effectiveness, as well as safety, suggest that targeting LGR5-positive cells may be a viable therapeutic strategy and a candidate for evaluation in human studies.

M. R. Junttila, W. Mao, X. Wang, B.-E. Wang, T. Pham, J. Flygare, S.-F. Yu, S. Yee, D. Goldenberg, C. Fields, J. Eastham-Anderson, M. Singh, R. Vij, J.-A. Hongo, R. Firestein, M. Schutten, K. Flagella, P. Polakis, A. G. Polson, Targeting LGR5+ cells with an antibody-drug conjugate for the treatment of colon cancer. Sci. Transl. Med. 7, 314ra186 (2015). [Abstract]