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Chin J Cancer. 2011 Jan;30(1):5-12.

Therapeutic targeting of epidermal growth factor receptor in human cancer: successes and limitations.

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  • 1Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, California 92093-0660, USA.


Epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) is one of the most commonly altered genes in human cancer by way of over-expression, amplification, and mutation. Targeted inhibition of EGFR activity suppresses signal transduction pathways which control tumor cell growth, proliferation, and resistance to apoptosis. Small molecule tyrosine kinase inhibitors and monoclonal antibodies are among the most common EGFR-targeting agents and have been used clinically for treating various malignancies. This review discusses the successes and challenges of targeting EGFR in human cancer. The genetic alterations of EGFR tend to occur more often in some solid tumors than others, as do the mechanisms of resistance to targeted inhibition. The clinical and basic science experiences with these agents thus far have important implications for the future of therapeutic targeting of EGFR.

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