Anti-erbB2 treatment induces cardiotoxicity by interfering with cell survival pathways

Thea Pugatsch*, Suzan Abedat, Chaim Lotan, Ronen Beeri

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Scopus citations


Introduction: Cardiac dysfunction is among the serious side effects of therapy with recombinant humanized anti-erbB2 monoclonal antibody. The antibody blocks ErbB-2, a receptor tyrosine kinase and co-receptor for other members of the ErbB and epidermal growth factor families, which is over-expressed on the surface of many malignant cells. ErbB-2 and its ligands neuregulin and ErbB-3/ErbB-4 are involved in survival and growth of cardiomyocytes in both postnatal and adult hearts, and therefore the drug may interrupt the correct functioning of the ErbB-2 pathway. Methods: The effect of the rat-anti-erbB2 monoclonal antibody B-10 was studied in spontaneously beating primary myocyte cultures from rat neonatal hearts. Gene expression was determined by RT-PCR (reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction) and by rat stress-specific microarray analysis, protein levels by Western blot, cell contractility by video motion analysis, calcium transients by the FURA fluorescent method, and apoptosis using the TUNEL (terminal uridine nick-end labelling) assay. Results: B-10 treatment induces significant changes in expression of 24 out of 207 stress genes analyzed using the microarray technique. Protein levels of ErbB-2, ErbB-3, ErbB-4 and neuregulin decreased after 1 day. However, both transcription and protein levels of ErbB-4 and gp 130 increased several fold. Calreticulin and calsequestrin were overexpressed after three days, inducing a decrease in calcium transients, thereby influencing cell contractility. Apoptosis was induced in 20% cells after 24 hours. Conclusion: Blocking ErbB-2 in cultured rat cardiomyocytes leads to changes that may influence the cell cycle and affects genes involved in heart functions. B-10 inhibits pro-survival pathways and reduces cellular contractility. Thus, it is conceivable that this process may impair the stress response of the heart.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numberR35
JournalBreast Cancer Research
Issue number4
StatePublished - 13 Jul 2006
Externally publishedYes


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