Researchers from the VHIR and IRBLleida validate the new antitumor ABTL0812 as a therapeutic strategy to fight against endometrial cancer

The research has analyzed the efficacy of the ABTL0812 compound in endometrial cancer models

A research, led by Antonio Gil and Eva Colás from Vall d'Hebron Research Institute (VHIR) and by Xavier Matias-Guiu and Núria Eritja from the Institute of Biomedical Research of Lleida (IRBLleida), has studied the efficacy of ABTL0812, a drug developed by the Catalan pharmacist AbilityPharma, and is being tested in phase 2 of clinical trials in patients with advanced or metastatic endometrial cancer. The study shows that ABTL0812 is an effective and selective therapeutic option for cancer cells, since it only eliminates these cells and does not cure them. The study has been published in the journal Gynecologic Oncology.

Endometrial cancer is the most frequent tumors in the female reproductive system. According to the latest statistics, in 2018 the number of new cases diagnosed of this disease around the world was 382,069 and caused more than 89,900 deaths. Unfortunately, mortality rates have increased in recent years. In order to reliably diagnose endometrial cancer and ensure the best treatment, doctors must determine with precision the subtype of cancer, the degree of differentiation and tumor dissemination. Those tumors that have a non-endometrial histology, high degree or have spread outside the uterine cavity at the time of diagnosis, do not have a good prognosis on the start since the rate of response to the treatment is low and the therapeutic options are quite limited. This situation strongly reflects the need for new and efficient therapeutic strategies.

The researchers from the Biomedical Research Group in VHIR and IRBLleida Oncology's Gynecology together with others from the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), the University of Lleida (UdL), AbilityPharma, Vall d'Hebron The Oncology Institute (VHIO) and the Biomedical Research Institute of Bellvitge (IDIBELL) have studied this new therapeutic strategy in which it has been shown that ABTL0812 is effective as a therapy in the most aggressive types of endometrial cancer And in addition, it prevents pre-lethal pre-tumor lesions from progressing to cancer.

The study was carried out in a first phase with in vitro studies (generated in laboratory tests), it has been validated in several models in vivo with mice and is currently undergoing a clinical trial of Phase 2 (in which the drug is administered) in 40 patients with endometrial cancer in leading oncological centers in Spain and France. The results of this clinical study are expected during the fall of this same year 2019.

"We offer strong preclinical evidence of the therapeutic benefit of ABTL0812 as first line treatment of endometrial cancer, such as monotherapy or in combination with standard chemotherapy", explained the study researchers. "The therapeutic benefit of ABTL0812 also allows to stop the progression of precursor lesions to cancer. Our findings present a new and clinically applicable therapeutic strategy for endometrial cancer, especially for those with the worst prognosis”, they concluded.

The research was funded by three grants from the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness (MINECO), (EMPLOYEE/EMP-TU-2015-4576), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (RTC-2015-3821, RTC-2017- 6261-1), a grant from the Center for the Development of Industrial Technology of the Ministry of Science, Innovation and Universities (CDTI) (INNOGLOBAL/20171061), as well as two postdoctoral grants from the Generalitat de Catalunya (SLT002/16/00315 and SLT002/16/00274).

Reference article: I. Felip, C.P.Moiola, C.Megino-Luque, et al., Therapeutic potential of the newTRIB3-mediated cell autophagy anticancer drug ABTL0812 in endometrial cancer, Gynecologic Oncology,

Oncologic Pathology Group of the IRBLleida