The GLP-2 analogue elsiglutide reduces diarrhoea caused by the tyrosine kinase inhibitor lapatinib in rats

Bronwen J. Mayo, Kate R. Secombe, Anthony D. Wignall, Emma Bateman, Daniel Thorpe, Claudio Pietra, Dorothy M. Keefe, Joanne M. Bowen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: Lapatinib is a small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitor used to treat breast cancer, often in combination with chemotherapy. Diarrhoea commonly occurs in up to 78% of patients undertaking lapatinib treatment. The mechanism of this diarrhoea is currently unknown. Elsiglutide is a GLP-2 analogue known to increase cell proliferation and reduce apoptosis in the intestine. Methods: We used a previously developed rat model of lapatinib-induced diarrhoea to determine if co-treatment with elsiglutide was able to reduce diarrhoea caused by lapatinib. Additionally, we analysed the caecal microbiome of these rats to assess changes in the microbiome due to lapatinib. Results: Rats treated with lapatinib and elsiglutide had less severe diarrhoea than rats treated with lapatinib alone. Serum lapatinib levels, blood biochemistry, myeloperoxidase levels and serum limulus amebocyte lysate levels were not significantly different between groups. Rats treated with lapatinib alone had significantly higher histopathological damage in the ileum than vehicle controls. This increase was not seen in rats also receiving elsiglutide. Rats receiving lapatinib alone had lower microbial diversity than rats who also received elsiglutide. Conclusions: Elsiglutide was able to reduce diarrhoea from lapatinib treatment. This does not appear to be via reduction in inflammation or barrier permeability, and may be due to thickening of mucosa, leading to increased surface area for fluid absorption in the distal small intestine. Microbial changes seen in this study require further research to fully elucidate their role in the development of diarrhoea.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)793-803
Number of pages11
JournalCancer Chemotherapy and Pharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Diarrhoea
  • Elsiglutide
  • Lapatinib
  • Tyrosine kinase inhibitor


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