Ezrin Inhibitors for the Treatment of Cancer

Categories: “Cancer Therapeutics

Reference #: 2010-037

OTC Contact: Ruchika Nijhara, PhD, MBA, CLP (Directory Information | Send a Message)


Most localized tumors can be treated by surgery or chemotherapy, but metastasis is a major clinical problem in current cancer therapy. Metastasis of osteosarcoma (OS) to lungs is an early process and present in patients even with localized appearing tumors. Ezrin is a critical protein in metastasis of OS and various other tumor types. Expression of ezrin correlates with high metastatic potential and poor survival in human, dog and mouse OS tumors. Thus, ezrin is a validated molecular target for the prevention and treatment of cancer metastasis in multiple tumor types. The present invention describes compounds that specifically bind to ezrin and prevent tumor metastasis growth. The invention also has potential applications for other pediatric cancers including rhabdomyosarcoma.


Potential therapeutic agent for the treatment of metastatic OS and multiple cancers including pancreatic cancer, ovarian cancer and rhabdomyosarcoma.


Stage of Development

Researchers have identified lead compounds that specifically inhibit lung metastasis of ezrin sensitive but not ezrin-resistant cells in vivo.

These compounds have been tested for toxicity and PK and PD studies are ongoing. Researchers have also identified the molecular mechanism of these ezrin inhibitors.

Relevant Publications

“Small molecule inhibitors of ezrin inhibit the invasive phenotype of osteosarcoma cells”. Bulut G. et al., Oncogene, 2012 Jan 19;31(3):269-81.

“The ezrin metastatic phenotype is associated with the initiation of protein translation”. Briggs et al., Neoplasia, 2012 Apr;14(4):297-310.

Patent Status

PCT Application # PCT/US2011/048635 published on May 18, 2012.